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One day when I was about 13 years old, I found something interesting on my parents’ book shelf. Just a few rows down from The Joy of Sex (which was also very interesting), I found a box of cassette tapes called The Greatest Speeches of the 20th Century.
I think my heart did a flip flop in that moment.
I grabbed the box, stole my little sister’s Fisher Price tape deck player (I was heavy into CDs by that point), and went into the dark upstairs closet. I sat – in the dark – and listened to https://www.viagrasansordonnancefr.com/ every single speech. All six tapes.
My heart was blown open by the words and energy of John F Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. and Winston Churchill – extraordinary men with powerful voices and epic visions. They inspired a feeling inside of me of being a part of something truly great, even though those times and these men were long gone.
There were only three women featured (out of 56) in that entire 6 cassette tape series. But it didn’t phase me at the time. I was enthralled by all the men I was listening to.
I wanted to be like them. To speak like them. To lead like them.
It was a moment of great inspiration for me and for my life.
But something troubling also happened in that moment.
I didn’t realize what that troubling something was until last fall when I stood in a crowded conference room in Washington DC listening as nearly every Democratic woman US Senator got up to speak. It was their official endorsement party for Hillary Clinton for president.
(Btw, I’m not getting into current politics in this email and I know I have a lot of supporters for the top runners of this current campaign on my list. I hope you can go beneath the heat and tension of this campaign and all its personalities and issues to hear the underlying message of what I’m going to share here, regardless of who you support. It’s relevant to all of us.)
In the middle of the event, they played a video of little girls reading parts of their letters to Hillary and the little girls in the videos kept saying things like, “I want you to be president so that every girl knows that she can be whatever she wants to be in her life.”
I was suddenly crying so hard. I felt grief. I couldn’t understand why I felt so emotional. And then that memory of me in the closet with those tapes flooded back into my mind.
I finally understood why I listened to those tapes….in the dark, in secret.
As I sat on that closet floor and listened to those men speak and felt that desire within to lead and inspire like them, a subconscious belief nestled its way deep into my mind:
I knew that I couldn’t be like them because I’m NOT like them. Because they are men, and they speak and lead like…men.
And I was a girl. And one day would be a woman.
And because the leaders’ speeches I heard and admired were from men (and because 53 of the 56 people on that Greatest Speeches series were men, and not one of the women who did speak was an elected leader), some kind of connection formed that a woman can’t be a leader because she is not a man.
That was the moment a deep, subconscious belief set in that I am inferior because I am a female.
I sat in that dark closet, rather than out in the open light, because I felt ashamed of my desire to speak up and lead like them, when I was so obviously not like them and never would be.
I sensed that I would never be able to be fully myself as a female, and especially a very feminine female, if I wanted to one day stand up, speak up and lead with my words and presence.
It was only last fall, at the age of 38, when I finally realized this. I’ve been on the quest for many years now to liberate my voice and support other women in doing the same, and have made significant strides, but I was stunned to find such a dark nugget still yet unexplored. It was like finding the root cause of some kind of sickness or disease.
I realized that the sea I have been swimming in my whole life has been one of feeling somehow less than, less valuable, less worthy, less…just less.
And that’s ironic and so sad because I have had private school education, an Ivy League education, and access to everything that is “supposed” to spur me forward into whatever dreams of leadership I might have. Because I have had all these opportunities, I’ve never considered myself second class or unequal in any way.
But the tendrils of socialization run deep, and this realization showed that to me clearly.
I felt so much grief standing there in the middle of that conference center, floored by the profundity of this realization.
How many dreams had I abandoned because I felt inferior due to my gender? How many things had I ruled out as not possible for me?
How far beneath my full potential have I been living?
How much of myself had I abandoned in order to become more masculine in an attempt to be and feel “professional” and “trusted” in leadership capacities?
In one way, it’s exciting because now I can see it, and I’m still pretty young. I can feel the well of self-value within growing deeper, and that is a potent and palpable feeling that is touching all areas of my life. I’m taking bold actions – bolder than I’ve ever taken – on many fronts in my life, and I’m acknowledging and claiming latent dreams and aspirations because I am finally in touch with a deeper truth of who I am, free from this feeling of inferiority due to my womanhood.
But in another way, it’s daunting. It’s daunting because I look around and see how much work there is to do to support women in feeling truly free – not just logistically free due to having economic, political and social rights – but internally free.
We can have all the rights in the world but if we are still trapped by our minds’ subconscious limitations of self doubt and inferiority due to our gender, then we are not truly free.
I realized the importance of inner liberation several years ago when, after leaving my investment banking job and traveling the world for four years, I went to visit the family of a Palestinian man I had fallen in love with on my journey.
I spent almost two weeks in the West Bank with this family and became friends with the youngest daughter in the family, who is my age. One night, lying in the bed next to hers in the dark, we stayed up late talking. She told me of her dreams to go to a wonderful university where she could get a PhD in Psychology so she could come back and help her people deal with the anger about the “situation” (as is commonly referred to) with Israel, rather than throw bombs.
She told me of her dreams to travel.
And then she told me that she feels like she is being punished by God in this lifetime because she cannot do any of these things.
She cannot get a visa to get out beyond the Wall that separates Palestine’s West Bank from Israel. She told me the only option available to her is to stay, take care of her aging mother (as is expected of her since she is the youngest daughter in the family), get married and have babies.
As a wandering gypsy at that point in my life, filled with all manner of self doubt about my ability and right to make any of my visions real, it was like a bucket of freezing cold water was poured over my head when she said that.
I realized that as an American woman I have every logistical freedom available to me: socially, economically, and politically. I am – logistically speaking – free: anything I dream of doing or creating, I can.
But in my mind, I was a prisoner.
Self doubt. Fear. Deep feelings of inferiority and not being enough: those were the things that trapped me, that held down my voice and hindered the ways I wanted to contribute and create.
That conversation with my Palestinian friend was the most pivotal, defining conversation of my life.
In that moment, I knew what my work was: to free my mind so that my voice could be free.
I had to do it for me.
I had to do it because my entire being was longing to be free.
And something in me knew that I had a responsibility to do it for her and all women everywhere. I could not and would not reject all my liberties cialis generique as an American woman by staying trapped in the limitations of my own mind and not fulfill my dreams.
Over the course of the last 11 years since that trip to Palestine, I have had many realizations that have led me to increasingly value and share my own voice, and to support other women in doing the same.
But the real kicker of a realization was the one last fall in the middle of that conference center. I think that was the moment I knew how deep this river of women holding back their voices runs.
It has emboldened me to do more to support the rise of women leaders who look and sound and feel like themselves – fully as women, not trying to emulate a masculine model – so that more girls can look at them and think:
“Hey! She’s a leader. She’s awesome. She’s a woman. And she’s so herself. I can be myself and speak up and lead too!”
I tell you all this because if you have felt held back in sharing your voice because of fear or painful self doubt, then perhaps there is something to see and acknowledge about how you deeply hold yourself as a woman.
It may or may not be true that you have been carrying around a subconscious belief that you are somehow inferior due to being a woman and therefore hold your ideas and voice as less valuable or worthy of being shared.
But if you have, then I want to remind you of something:
Your voice matters.
In fact, the ideas, wisdom and insight you have inside – that you are longing and burning to share – are exactly what our world needs right now to transition into its next phase of evolution.
So if you hold back and hold that brilliance down, there is impact.
When you hold back your voice, we lose that deeply needed wisdom.
We lose ideas that can make a huge difference in addressing rampant problems in our world.
The truth is that our world deeply needs the feminine perspective of valuing life, well being, community, cooperation, and the way we do things not just the end result. So many of the big problems we face in our civilization and on our planet need this feminine perspective in order to transition to a more sustainable, sane and just way of living.
This feminine perspective lives in men just as it lives in women. However, I do believe women are more naturally attuned to this way of seeing because of our ability to grow new life within and give birth: we must pay attention to these things if our offspring and communities are to thrive.
The biggest hurdle we must cross to harnessing all this feminine intelligence is to nip women’s subconscious sense of inferiority and feeling held back in the bud, and support them in feeling internally free to share their voices and ideas.
It doesn’t matter if other people out there are sharing ideas similar to yours. If they are, then you know that those ideas are ideas whose time has come. We need you to be an open channel to receiving and then sharing those ideas.
Because there will be people who can only hear and fully receive those ideas from you, just as there will be people who can only hear and fully receive those ideas from someone else.
It’s like a lock and a key.
Some people will vibe off the unique energetic synthesis of the content of the idea and your particular essence or vibration. And others will vibe off the combination of that idea with someone else’s essence.
That’s why it’s so important you share the wisdom and creativity that you so long to share, and that you be so fully you and authentic in the sharing of it.
Because there are people who can only fully receive that idea from you.
So if you don’t share the wisdom within, then it’s entirely possible that a whole group of people will never open to that idea. And that’s a loss for all of humanity!
When you harbor wisdom inside yourself that you believe could make a difference, and you feel some call or nudge to share it, then it really is incumbent upon you to do so.
For any part of you that questions the value of your ideas and your right to stand up and share them, I say to you:
You are not less.
And you are needed.
In fact, you are being called, and you know it.
The time to rise up and share the brilliance within is upon us.
No more keeping the deep dreams of girls and women in the dark closet of their minds.
The time to bring your voice to light is now.
For all of you out there who are longing to liberate your voice to stand up and speak with authenticity, joy and power, apply to attend the WomanSpeak Foundation Course.
Deadline to apply is Thursday April 12th. Response has been high. We will be taking applications on a rolling basis, and will sell out. So don’t wait. Pop on over and fill out your application now.
KC Baker is a women’s thought leadership and public speaking trainer and speechwriter. She is the founder of WomanSpeak and The Women’s Thought Leadership Society.