How to Remain Feminine When You’re a High Achieving Woman
Some of us are content with supporting the hive, and then there are those of us who are only content with being the queen bee. This woman doesn’t shirk at the thought of being in charge and puts her all into everything she does. There are those of us who fear competition, and those of us who embrace it, this woman on the other hand is invigorated by it. Her eyes see farther than that of us mere common folk. While we’re busy being bogged down by our daily schedule she’s seemingly done the impossible and found a balance. A look at her birth chart reveals that Beyoncé is her sun sign and Rhianna is her moon. This is the high achieving woman.
The high achieving woman is a sight to behold but unfortunately this kind of woman will often cut herself off from her femininity. Her positions at work, school, and or in life might make it difficult to be as in touch with her femininity as she'd like. She might also think that her more feminine tendencies and desires are vestigial longings that no longer serve a purpose. She can fall prey to this idea of thinking she must become like a man in order to achieve her goals.
If you’re a woman who has your sights set on the finer things of life, you could achieve your goals and then some by using your femininity rather than distancing yourself from it. Admittedly, it’s a difficult trick to pull off, but when executed properly the benefits make it all worth it. If you’re a high achieving woman who feels like she’s struggling to keep in touch with her femininity, here are some tips on how to strengthen the connection.
Don’t Do It All
There are few things more draining to a woman’s beauty, sense of fulfillment, femininity, and sanity than trying to be wonder woman. Black women are disproportionately targeted with messages that demand we do it all. We are expected to internalize these unhealthy ideas of self-worth and productivity by being the providers and the dominant caregivers to the children we've birthed, our communities and extended families as well.
When you’re a high achieving woman you’re highly susceptible to these messages of taking on more than you should. Don’t feel like you have to prove anything by trying to do it all. You’ll only wear yourself down. I used to look up to women who tried holding the world on their backs. Then I gained more wisdom and saw just how absolutely miserable they were.
The “strong black woman” archetype is myth meant to make us feel better about putting ourselves last. What’s interesting is that the myth makes the believer feel as though they’re acting out of their own self-interest. As if being the single thread holding one’s family, and community up is somehow more honorable than one’s community supporting them. It’s a tale as old as time and just because you’re a capable woman, it doesn’t mean you have to do everything on your own.
Learn to delegate tasks to other people. Black people have this issue with preferring to work harder over working smarter. Rather than hiring someone to run our store we choose to sit their 12 hours a day. By learning to ask for help and delegating tasks to others the high achieving woman can protect her sanity and consequently her femininity. Time is precious, so don’t waste it just to say you upheld a myth.
Something all employers look for in potential employees is someone with the ability to not bring their problems with them into the office. You are expected to get your work done and not allow personal problems to hinder your performance. If the world is ending for you at home, you leave all that baggage at the door and pick it up when you leave. You can even request some time off, but the key message here is don’t bring that baggage to work! T
he ability to defer negative or distracting emotions in order to function in your day to day life is made possible by compartmentalization. Compartmentalization is the “ability to be hurt, sad, disappointed, afraid or angry about something and put those feelings away until a time when you can deal with them better. Healthy people do it all the time.” If you received some great news while attending the funeral of someone’s uncle, you wouldn’t start leaping for joy.
There’s a time and place for everything and women with the ability to compartmentalize know this all too well. Women with this skill also struggle less with disengaging from their more aggressive, bossy, managerial side when they no longer need it. Those without it often remain engaged with the behaviors necessary for doing their job or managing thousands of people and carry it into their personal lives. That’s where the problems can begin.
Sure, being a powerhouse isn’t easy, but have you tried being in a relationship with someone who’s less like a partner and more like a boss? It’s not only annoying but condescending too. You can be capable without making others feel impotent. Learn to be who is needed where it’s needed.
If your partner is someone you have to manage or else they won’t clean up or take their job more seriously, then leave them. Even if you just feel like they’re not on your level, leave them until they are. Dating people who force you into your masculine energy more than you want to or is necessary can be so draining. It’s hard to have respect for a man you have to mother. And a woman in a relationship with a man she doesn’t respect is going to constantly find herself in disputes with him or aggravated by his presence. Get out of there and get with someone who will allow your femininity to flourish.
High achievers make it look easy however maintaining that position is anything but. In order to cope with the stress, you might feel inclined to be hyper competitive and standoffish. These behaviors are unnecessary and might even hinder you in the long run. No one makes it to the top alone so making friends along the journey up will only help you. Assisting others as you raise to new heights can mellow you out more.
Learn to view those around you as colleagues rather than competitors. Some of the most fulfilled people in life are those who have learned to compete with themselves. They only strive to be better than who they were yesterday. It’s hard to not notice a high achiever so while you’re under the spotlight make a good impression and practice humility. There are probably people looking up to you in some capacity and nurturing the growth of your peers makes you appear not only empathetic but like a leader.
A competitive spirit isn’t bad, but if you find yourself challenging your peers in the break room or refusing to speak to others because you view them as beneath you or uninteresting, you could be making it difficult to advance yourself. Not all environments are the same and I have been places where just keeping your head down and working hard are what can boost you forward, but those environments have a tendency to be toxic. Avoid unhealthy work/study atmospheres and become invested in the growth of some of the people around you. This will make it easier to break away from unhealthier forms of competitiveness.
It's no secret that black women are incredible. We're more educated, entrepreneurial, and more high achieving than a lot of our peers. It might not be easy being the closest thing on earth to perfect but our heightened status shouldn't come at a cost to our womanhood.
Lilith is a blogger with an emphasis in writing and reflecting upon social agendas that effect black women. When not at her computer writing she is more than likely still at her computer, programming. On the rare occasion that Lilith isn't at her laptop you can attempt to find her exploring the Chicago food scene or attending workshops in creative writing