Responsibility for Your Impact

What Happens When Women Wake Up?

What Happens When Women Wake Up?

Years ago in my intensive studies with cultural anthropologist Angeles Arrien, she spoke of “responsibility for our impact.” That teaching has stayed with me as I’ve observed how easy is it for others to perceive us in ways that can be contrary to how we see ourselves. Being responsible for our impact requires that we remain vigilant to the expectations we create. For example, when we are given the speaking platform, the invitation confers a level of authority that gives our words great power. And on a personal level, when engaged in a glorious “what if . . . ?” co-creative surge that comes and goes like a hot flash, others may be making plans while we are moving on.

It is time to recognize the power we hold. It is time to clear those sabotaging voices that tell us we’re not enough. We would be wise to heed the advice quoted by a recent client: “Don’t compare your insides with everybody else’s outsides.”

The Hopi prophecy “We are the ones we have been waiting for” is a clarion call to trusting we are enough. How much evidence does it take to recognize our capacity and influence? We may think our self-esteem is intact, and then an ignominious comment from one person creates days of agonizing while we brush off wondrous praise from most of a group.

Last week I was told by the executive director of an institute where I offer my programs that I had become “a category.”

“What does that mean?” I asked.

“When we plan the program schedule for the year, staff members say ‘We want more Gail Larsens.’ ”

I share it because it is a great reminder that while we question our brilliance, others use us as role models. I recently read Patricia Fero’s book What Happens When Women Wake Up? She reminds us of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale so embedded in our consciousness it is easy to wait for something outside ourselves to happen to wake us up. I believe this is true for men as well as for women, although they may be have a different myth embedded in their operating system (such as Hercules).

Asking my client what “my category” represents woke me up. Here are the elements:

1. A master teacher. Our expertise is a given so once the program is complete, the staff isn’t dealing with complaints of misrepresentation of the class or requests for refunds.
2. Professional. We communicate our needs and expectations and minimize surprises.
3. Marketing-minded. We work together to build good attendance.
4. FUN! We deliver a program that is a joy to sponsor and we make it fun.

Wake up, sleeping beauty! Bring forth the good, true and beautiful in your nature and recognize you are the one we’ve been waiting for. And, as my friend Lynnaea Lumbard states, “These are the times we’ve been waiting for.” You are enough. We’re waiting.

To remind yourself, here’s a “Prayer for Stability” by Lori Wilson.

“I stand today and for all times as a wise and loving adult in the world
I trust in myself and I trust in the goodness in all hearts.
I hold love and stability in this world and will fashion my life accordingly.
I honor and respect those who may be fearful and recognize that many are still young.
I will live with my eyes, ears, and heart open.
I will build the life I came to build.”

© Gail Larsen

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