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Where are all the women leaders?

Today’s blog is a guest post by Brenda Coomer, a leadership and life coach from Tulsa, OK. Brenda is a member of the Growing Leaders Speaking Team and a dear friend. I hope you enjoy her post!

According to a recent issue of Fortune (Oct, 2011), women leaders are on the rise.  And from the looks of their “50 Most Powerful Women”, women are making a greater impression than ever before.

However, it seems apparent that many women don’t feel significant, let alone a leader.

I had finished speaking at a women’s conference, and a friend I hadn’t seen in several years approached me.  This old friend was a remarkable woman that I always admired.  She was the kind of person you wanted to know.  She was involved in her church, the PTA, a mentor to many, and an amazing, over-the-top mother and wife.  After giving each other a big hug and the obligatory “so good to see you…” it didn’t take long for me to see that she was troubled.

Tiffany began sharing that she didn’t feel like she was making a difference.  “I wish I knew my purpose, like you”, she said.  She continued to talk about how trivial her life was, how her contributions felt meaningless.  I shook my head in disbelief.   This truly was one of the most extraordinary women that I know.

So what separates those that feel they are leaders and those that don’t?  Often times I think two people could be doing the exact same thing, but one feels like she is a leader, making a difference, and the other feels insignificant and inadequate.

I believe that coming to the understanding that YOU are important; that your life touches and impacts others – just from you being YOU – can be a great revelation.  This revelation is especially important to women who tend to be more relationally driven, so they need to know that their relationships matter. Tiffany had lost sight of her true value and worth, which caused her to feel worthless and lose the perspective of her unique significance.   If you can be robbed of your worth, you will be robbed of your purpose.

I also believe that living life with intention – doing things on purpose – can make a dramatic difference in understanding your influence.  It may not change what you do, but it can change your perception of what you’re doing.

And let’s face it.  What you do matters.  There’s a unique contribution that can only come from you… and others need what you have.  Don’t let the feeling of insignificance rob you of being who you are, a leader.

Let’s give Brenda some feedback: What can we do to encourage healthy female leaders?

8 Comments

  1. Jennifer Lloyd Green on February 24, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Great post!  I am a female leader–and I still battle the demons of insignificance at times.  We need to be lifting each other up, we are relational in our thinking–let us also be encouragers, who seek out the best in others and edify those qualities.  Together, as women leaders, we can change the world around us … in fact, that is what God has called us to… a life of impact!

    • Tim Elmore on March 7, 2012 at 1:09 pm

      Great reminder! Thanks for encouraging others!

  2. chrysp11 on February 25, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    I agree with Jennifer–it’s really important that we as women make an effort to show our appreciation and support for our female friends and colleagues.  It’s easy to get wrapped up in the “busy-ness” of each day at work and at home, and let things go unsaid.  If you notice someone making a difference in some way, TELL HER!  It would be nice if we all had the confidence and self-awareness to know our value, but that is not usually the case.  I have a friend who’s a stay-at-home mom who talks to me about this on a regular basis.  I always remind her that she is the first to volunteer for the school activities, or bring a casserole to a friend who’s sick, in addition to making a warm, loving home for her family.  We all have gifts and make contributions.  Recognizing the value of each gift or act of kindness is equally important.

    • Tim Elmore on March 7, 2012 at 1:09 pm

      Great, practical advice! Thanks for taking time to share!

  3. Kim L. Abernethy on February 26, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    “If you can be robbed of your worth, you can be robbed of your purpose.” Such true words, Brenda. Leading women, for me, was not something that I decided overnight. As God dealt with my rough edges and I have been able to share those times candidly with others, that is where the “leading” began. Now, it is purposeful and intentional. And has absolutely nothing to do with whether I feel significant or not. I struggled so much with those feelings in the past years. I sure did! 

    But God has proven Himself to me over and over – that what I have done in His name, no matter how flawed my efforts or how insignificant I think it might have been – God is able to use me. Big or small. Loud or silent. Nothing is wasted. Rest in that and watch HIM. And be amazed.

    • Tim Elmore on March 7, 2012 at 1:11 pm

      Thanks so much for sharing your story. I hope that it encourages others who are still growing in their leadership.

  4. Shelley Nash on April 10, 2013 at 9:31 am

    I know this post is older, but recognize that what we are already doing IS leading. Being a mother to children and striving to prepare them for life IS Leading. Being involved in my children’s service club, or PTA, or a parks committee, IS Leading. Often Leadership is viewed in terms of the ways that public figures can lead and in the ways that men tend to lead. We also have become so dependent on the advice or approval of others, that we are afraid to lead out because we don’t know how capable we are. We don’t have the “resume” to make us feel important or capable of leading since we may not have been in the workplace for a long time. Where are the women leaders? Many are at home!! 🙂

    • Tim Elmore on April 10, 2013 at 12:31 pm

      Absolutely. Mothers who take an active role in the lives of their children is an strong example leadership. Thanks for sharing that word of encouragement to other mothers, Shelley!

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Where are all the women leaders?