"Something is rotten in the State of Denmark'" so says Shakespeare's fictional character Marcellus in 'Hamlet', and for some reason this sentence keeps popping into my head. It seems eerily relevant to the current state of (almost) our entire world. The way most people feel on a regular basis - whether while on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or otherwise taking in the latest news bulletin - is unsafe, untrusting, and uneasy. It has gone beyond the remit of this blog, beyond issues of emotional intelligence and mastery (or lack thereof). However, we at Applied Emotional Mastery™ feel compelled to address it anyway, because it IS about emotions and the inescapable ramifications emotionally, of governance, of all leadership. But it is also beyond any one person or ideology. It is the result of a system of leadership, a code of governance that has created a world where hyper-individualism trumps any form of collectivism (no pun intended!), where outward-focused consumerism has become a value, where social isolation and alienation has taken the place of trust and community. This world we have created today is the result of a failed and imbalanced leadership approach, a governing system that, although it plays out in many different political forms around the world, is essentially one system; a system that has been in place for thousands of years, (so you can’t say it hasn’t been given a fair chance!) In fact for more than five thousand years we have prioritized and lauded a masculine paradigm of leadership, by means of patriarchy and other assorted devices of domination. This system has valued - and still values - ‘power over’ versus ‘power with’, physical strength over emotional resilience, thoughts over feelings, logic over intuition, materialism over relationships, measurable achievement over all-inclusive fulfilment, individual success over collective development.
Enough already! It is time to change, time to accept we need a different leadership approach. I mean really different – NOT just another patriarchy with a different spin. We need to step outside the limited box of possibilities created by patriarchal thinking and open up to a wider view, one that gives equal value to both male and female qualities.
To us working in the field of human emotion and development, the obvious first step is to create more balance in our approach to leadership. This does not mean more women in leadership positions or looking at all the other popular feminist actions steps (valuable though these all are), but to look at the inherent value we place on the feminine and the perceived feminine qualities. It does mean to reclaim and restore the formerly undervalued and suppressed leadership qualities; the power of emotional understanding, empathic thinking, affirmative connection, collaborative communication, and appreciation of cycles – all of which are rooted in an increased value of feminine wisdom, and of which we are all capable, men as well as women.
Historically, these so called ‘feminine’ attributes have been undervalued and perceived as less important than their ‘masculine’ counterparts, especially in leadership, which we believe is at the core of solving our global challenges. For these qualities are those that build human resilience, create mutual care, nourishment and support, and provide collective strength and buoyancy in the face of any and all adversity. They are traits we need to not only recognize as vital, but consciously cultivate as equally important as the qualities that give us assertiveness, ambition, competitiveness and absolutism that we currently give precedence to.
Having worked for more than a year now exploring and identifying these feminine qualities and principles, we have coined them collectively as the She Code (a ‘code’ being defined as a system of principles that represent or determine a specific behaviour or approach.)
Currently we are working on offering an ontology for a practical way of leading and being in the world that fully values our yin, archetypically feminine qualities in all of us – men and women – equally with our more masculine qualities, our yang. We want to unearth what has been dormant and undervalued, to illuminate how we are innately designed to have more coherence and balance in our lives, more emotional literacy, more empathic thinking, more listening and collaboration, and more acceptance of difference, -both individually and collectively-. None of this is either ‘political’ or divisive but rather, giving equal value to all of our innate positive qualities will show how we can live with greater harmony and humanity.
It’s a big ask, and we don’t begin to pretend to have all the answers, but we can possibly contribute to the conversation with more practical applications than are currently on offer, and through the lens of emotional management that is far too infrequently addressed, (or even admitted, far less considered!)
So watch this space as we explore the SHE CODE, and how, if we can employ ALL our inherent capacities, masculine and feminine, with equal value it will be for the benefit of all.
And if you feel aligned with this and have a comment, question, or would like to contribute to the conversation, please get in touch!
Jennifer Day and Melissa Rivera http://www.appliedemotionalmastery.com/contact