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“Leader’s Bleed. Period” Sylvia Young

No matter how much you may not like to agree with this, it is true. 

Whether you are seen as a leader or are forging your own path as a leader, you are a leader. 

However, when women and leadership meet, we’re often met with the societal conditioning to dismiss, neglect, avoid and discount the cycles and phases our bodies endure. 

The very cycles and phases that support our life, contribute to our health and are our internal report card for our performance, motivation and daily existence. 

The monthly burden seen as an excuse for a day off or the life phase that welcomes life is met with judgments of “this was your choice”. And how can we forget the mid life phase that rocks women to the core turning their existence upside down. 

All of it profound in producing the leader we want to become. All of it, beneficial in supporting the leader others need. All of it, a contributor to societal and business harmony.  

In 2023, where the talk is changing and mindsets are shifting, women’s biological health is still marred with a taboo lens. Too confrontational to expose. Too outlandish to bring to the table. Too feminine to admit. 

Yet, the future of work screams loud. Businesses vying to attract the most notable talent, to create cultures of togetherness and uniqueness. Employees wanting to be seen for who they are and want to be. 

But still we are forced to shirk at sharing our true selves…until…in our optimism…NOW!

There is a lot to be learned and gained from looking at the journey of women, their health and careers across their lifetime.

The Roaring 20s

The time of ambition. Full of career goals. That ladder looks tall, but nothing’s standing in our way as we make the climb. We are shoulder to shoulder with our male counterparts. We’re all in. Except, we are different. We have an untapped potential experienced only through harnessing the power of our monthly cycles. We remain silent, grippled in our shame and anxiety feeling affected by our thoughts and feelings about menstruating and what it may mean for us in our human existence. Our energy ebbs and flows across each month, some days we’re completely alive and the next we’re drained. The hidden power of our bodies and the opportunities that present themselves every single month go by without even a thought. We have never been taught that our ambition, communication, performance and connection could be heightened if we just knew how to use our cycles to our advantage. 

The Thundering 30s

The time of career shock. We’re ready to build on our foundations from the decade prior. Many career options at our disposal. Coinciding, for many but not all, with our greatest aspirations is the time of nurturing and bringing a new life to the world. Our lives change beyond anything we could have ever imagined. We are full of love and hope but torn between who we were and who we are now. Our emotions and feelings are high, our body feels foreign – who am I? Our return to work is tough, a new challenge beckons. Our ambition is hidden behind the guilt, the stress and the pressure.  All we can do is simply survive. Our body has served us in doing what is expected around reproducing life, but yet again we neglect the magnificence of our bodies and have no idea that our greatest asset lies within us. What could possibly be our final years of menstruating go by in a flurry. 

The Flourishing 40s

Hello, new me. A rejuvenation reigns. A career re-acceleration is in full swing. Like a caterpillar becoming a butterfly, we become a new version of ourselves – full of passion, ambition for a purposeful and impactful career. We seek growth, learning and development as the second half of our life begins. We walk our talk, unafraid to be our true self. Then like blowing out a candle, something changes. Our confidence drops, our self belief falls away, our loss of self appears again but in a new light. We sense something is wrong, we push with all our might to fight against the current of our body. Quiet in what is happening. We doubt our ability to do our best work…what has happened?  The answers we seek are hard to find, this word Perimenopause foreign to so many. It couldn’t possibly be this at my age. All I have heard, my life, my career, my existence over. If only we were revered at this time for its transformation and personal power and saw it as the time that we could pull on our past life experiences to guide and support us through to the second half of our life. 

The Freeing 50s

We let out a breath! Possibly the most exciting decade of all. We feel free to be our true selves in all our glory. No worries given. No words too harsh, this is our time. We’ve come out the other side from our greatest transformation, our greatest career years ahead of us. We’re full of wisdom and grace, ready to share our greatest learnings with those following in our footsteps. We finally have become that leader we’ve spent decades nurturing. We accept and appreciate our body, the adventure we have had. It’s taken us far and still has further (much further) to go. 

The Super 60s

Where leadership and collaboration meet. We have learnt, we have failed, we have conquered, we travelled far through the decades. We are proud of how far we have come. All of our lessons from our working career, to navigating the cycles, has brought us to the decade where supporting and mentoring others will be one of our greatest achievements. We share our voice, we embrace our confidence, we respect our journey and we trust our knowledge.  We have found a source of happiness and contentment from within. A new respect for our body from our head to our toes. We strive for pure happiness and joy and never apologise for putting ourselves first. 

There is a lot to be said from the journey and adventures of being a woman. We have immense aspirations throughout our life, but are met with the demands of our body and our cycles. Our history has not looked at our bodies favourably, these thoughts handed down. But through knowledge and learning we can bring an acceptance and awareness that can support our goals, our greatest life, our ambitious career. Sometimes, it just takes unpicking all that makes us, us.

If you are looking for support across your life phases, no matter where you are you can join our online community platform Women Thriving Together. A personal online community platform to support the woman behind her best life, her health and all that she endeavours to achieve.

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