The deeper implications of hair! Emancipation!

Set your real self free!

Set your real self free! I’m setting myself free. No, I haven’t been tied to a chair in the basement for years or anything quite so sinister. I’ve simply given up fighting with my hair. It’s curly. For years I have bullied it, blown it dry, rollered it, maybe even scared it straight, only for it to have its revenge the very instant I stepped into the moist Vancouver air.

I love curly hair on other women. In my eyes, their curls have always had a certain lovely symmetry that mine stubbornly resist. So I placed my focus elsewhere. As a teen-ager in the sixties, I wanted to look like Cher. In fact, I would have been happy to look like just about any other girl whose hair was long, straight and gleaming down her back. No frizz in sight. When I looked in the mirror then, the hair that showed itself to me was unacceptable.

And so, I embarked on a long mission to punish it for its gross insubordination. Sometimes it worked. Mostly it found ways to sabotage my efforts and grab attention that would most certainly have been more productively directed.So I surrender. I bow to my curly headed self and pay my respects to a little more of the real me.All this might be a rather frivolous and possibly vain pursuit on the surface but I think somewhere lurking beneath this hair emancipation, is something more important…self-acceptance.Self-acceptance can be a long journey.

Self acceptance

But, it is a journey worth taking. After all, when we accept who we are and how we are, the anvil that takes the form of other peoples’ judgment lifts and allows us to breathe a little more freely.Women have a particular challenge on the road to self-acceptance. It is littered with sound bites that would have us believe we are not wonderful enough, beautiful enough, good enough or just plain enough to be happy with our real selves or for anyone else to be happy with us either. Self acceptance

And, in spite of never saying it out loud, I have believed them, until recently. The fact that these messages, be they overt or subliminal, continue to take up space in the media, and in general conversation, is perhaps an indication that many of you, at one time or another, have too.

It is not that we must stop caring about how we present ourselves. Nowhere has it been written that self-acceptance can only come when we eschew the concerns that make us feminine. I’m not saying that. What I am saying is that when how we look aligns with who we are and not some facsimile of an ideal dreamed up by goodness-knows-who, we can be free to concentrate on other, more important things.

So, I’m making a start. I’m allowing my hair to be, as it has always wanted to be.

Have you made a start? What is it like for you?

strong>Gwyn Teatro

Worth Knowing
Web | Email | Google+ | LinkedIn
Gwyn Teatro is the author of internationally acclaimed leadership blog " You're not the boss of me" . She is a Certified Professional Coach with a Masters of Science degree in Management. With career experience spanning financial services and HR, Gwyn has coached, senior business leaders and groups on leadership, organizational effectiveness and strategic business planning. Although now technically retired, she continues to have a keen interest in leadership development and helping leaders (or those who aspire to be), find their success.

11 Comments

  • Anita says:

    A straight haired writer piping in here…I can’t relate to the battle of the frizz but, I have found that entering the mid forties (for me) has brought about a few things:
    more gray hair, failing eyesight, an ability to let go of a lot of things and the most powerful thing, “self-acceptance”. Having finally arrived at accepting who I am, I feel a new lease on life! Self-acceptance…Now wouldn’t it be great if they sold that in a bottle?

Leave a Reply

Found that interesting? Learn more about our services
Individual services
Make your dreams a reality with a professional evaluation of your career to date.
more info
Corporate services
The evidence is in. More women in your company can deliver 35% greater financial returns. (Catalyst)
more info
Upcoming events
Currently we don't have upcoming events
Download and listen free podcasts
Goal setting tips to boost your career
Free Download

The happiest people are those that really love their jobs. Those that don’t, dread Sunday nights and the upcoming work week. So how do you get to a place where you look forward to a new week of doing what satisfies you? You’ll have to either learn to love your current role, or make a commitment to pursue your dream job. Use these goal setting tips to help you get to where you want to be.

Some women choose the latter, and to do so you’ll have to set career goals to get where you want to be. So make sure you have a detailed plan on how to land a job that you will tick all the boxes.

The majority of women choose to stay in their own organizations and even then you still need to have goals, not just KPis set by your manager. But even if you do see your career developing within your current business it’s still important to set goals.

Many women struggle with career planning and creating a career strategy which can lead to problems. This makes them vulnerable to and sort of challenge which can moprh into a full blown career crisis. Some simple steps to plan and prepare can help avoid this.

Take a look at these goal setting tips to help boost your career and set you on the right path.

Lewis Carroll  said

If you don’t know where you are going any road will get you there.”

Research shows that only about 5% of women create career goals and a career strategy. This can have a negative impact on your career progression. It means you are reactive not proactive and career glitches can morph into full blown crises. It puts women at a clear disadvantage to men.

Learn these simple goal setting tips to boost your career and protect and prepare you for all eventualities. If these goal setting tips make you think that you could use some further help,  contact us immediately.

 

When Does Female Rivalry Turn into Sabotage
Free Download

There’s a lot of stuff written on social media about  female rivalry and competition between women. Some of it makes sense and some of it is confusing. Organizations are pyramids with fewer roles at the top than at the bottom. It is inevitable that at some level, as more and more women are in the talent pipeline, at some point they will be in competition with other women.

Many would say that women aren’t competitive. I would suggest re-framing that. I think it’s more accurate to say they are not as competitive in the workplace as men. We have also been made to feel guilty about being competitive. We need to get over that.  Here are the reasons:

  1. The male nature of corporate culture makes it a disincentive to compete
  2. Women don’t want to compete because  prescribed male goals are not attractive enough for them. “Work 14 hour days, not see my partner or family … get sick.. die..no thanks.. I’ll pass”
  3. Women don’t know how to compete in the workplace. They are new arrivals on the corporate competition scene and lack practise.
  4. Women experience gender blow back when they do compete, from both men and women
  5. Women have been raised to think that competing with other women is not empowering them. As more women enter the talent pipeline that is just nonsense.

Learn some insights from Annabel Kaye, Employment Law Expert about how it’s OK to be competitive and the danger zone when it can turn into sabotage. Understand the benefits of mutual support and how all women can profit from having strong strategic allies, role models and mentors.

 

 

 

 

 

The importance of Hard Talk
Free Download

Dawn Metcalfe, author of Managing the Matrix and Hard Talk, shares with us  tips to achieve the lasting communication skills needed to tackle the difficult conversations we encounter in the workplace. Hard Talk answers the big questions like:

  • How do I manage a boss who insists on micro-managing me?
  • How do I let a high performer know that they are not getting the promotion he wants?
  • What can I do about a direct report who doesn’t show me respect?
  • How do I tell my boss that despite all efforts our deadline on an important deliverable will be missed?

In this podcast, Dawn Metcalfe will give us an overview to handle challenging scenarios to empower you with the skills needed to ensure you have these conversations in the best way and generate the best outcome. Make your workplace and your professional experience more fruitful and less fraught by learning the importance of Hard Talk.

 

 

 

Taking Care of your COW
Free Download

Tanvi Guatam, international Personal Branding expert says there is a misconception out there that a personal brand is something of an outside-in job, i.e. that you decide your destination/goals and start building a brand towards that. The truth is, it is an inside-out job. Firstly, you need to identify who you are and what you stand for. With that at the core, you should start building your personal brand to celebrate and amplify your authenticity. So my first suggestion is to understand what you stand for.

Secondly, consistency is key.  She tells us that many people pick up social media with enthusiasm and then drop it. You need visibility and credibility at the same time to be able to craft a strong personal brand on social media. Using technology to schedule posts, knowing which keywords you want to be associated with, and following the right influencers is easier than you may think.

Finally you need a clear “why” for their presence on social media. Or worse still, they treat social media as a tool to ask for favors, sell relentlessly or promote their products/books. No one likes to be sold to, least of all by someone who shows up only when they need something. Remember –  give before asking.

Understanding and navigating social media to achieve career success can be a challenge or even a mystery for all of us. Tanvi Guatam explains how taking care of your COW is the best way to do this. Find out what this helpful acronym stands for and where and when to apply it.

You will always remember the importance of taking care of your COW!