Sensitive Leadership

Is this you?

You are a sensitive person:

 

You feel things deeply, at times it seems more deeply than others around you. Perhaps others have made fun of you in the past for being “high-maintenance”, or told you to “toughen up”. You can get anxious or flooded by too much outside input, and need a lot of time to recharge after work or big social outings. You may be a quiet person and spend a lot of time thinking and experiencing the world by yourself. You long to put down your mask and show up in the world as your full self, with all of its beauty and magic.

You are an empath:

You feel with everyone and their struggles, and at times it can be hard to set boundaries. You want to stay engaged with the world, but sometimes it feels hard to watch the news as some of the images can stay with you forever. You may gravitate towards the helping professions, and feel useful or worthy when assisting others in their life. You are still learning how to have relationships with people without losing yourself (in the process).

You are intuitive:

You have had intense dreams, or is have perceived the subtle layers of reality, perhaps your whole life. You feel different from others, though you badly want to belong, and oftentimes feel lonely and misunderstood. At the same time, you sense that your intuition is your greatest gift, and you are looking for ways to integrate it into your life.

At the same time,

You are a fierce individualist, a trailblazer or pioneer, an ambitious professional in your field. You are in a position of power or responsibility, and perhaps you interact with the public on a regular basis. Perhaps you own your own business, or you feel the need to start one, but you’re scared. You think for yourself, and you work for yourself. You came into this life with a mission and you are driven to fulfill it.

Your natural constitution in combination with your leadership position or public-facing role creates unique challenges and stressors. 

You may worry that if you showed up as your full, sensitive self, you would face ridicule or bullying. You may encounter disadvantages at work, or straight-up risk your hard-earned reputation. 

In a corporate setting, if seems your low-empathy coworkers get all the recognition while you watch from the sidelines. There may be difficult dynamics with others in your team, who seem to take advantage of you and you are afraid to stand up to them.

You may feel the need to keep up with everyone else’s busy-ness so you don’t come off as unproductive, but internally you’re feeling exhausted and are counting down the time until you can go home and exhale.

In your relationships, you can be hyperindependent with a difficulty to let others in and get to know the real you. Or you can completely merge with others and forget about your own needs and preferences. Sometimes you can even do both. Relationships seem to come with an endless amount of expectations and somehow you always seem to fall short. It’s exhausting!

There’s got to be a way to do this life well, to bring it all together into a better greater whole. You have been running yourself into the ground trying to keep these worlds separate, your professional and social and family life, and the real you, and you are realizing that you need find a new way of being.

If you want support on your journey, please fill out this form to schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation via video or phone.

Sensitivity is Strength, But it Takes Work to Get There.

It’s true that studies show that the higher you climb on the corporate ladder, the less empathy you’ll find there. Studies further go on to suggest (yes, they’re that cynical) that sensitive people with a tendency toward anxiety be employed further down the ranks: Their anxiety and people-pleasing attitude means to the superior that they’ll essentially manage themselves. (This reads cynical but it’s actually true!)

The good news is that sensitivity presents an enormous resource for corporations, and one they need to tap into today if they want to survive the volatility of the coming years.

Common Issues for Highly Sensitive Leaders:

  • Thinking you need to be tough to make it in the business world: Our culture has really fed us these lines of “fake it ’till you make it”. Yet time and time again, we find that faking anything just doesn’t work out. 
  • Imposter Syndrome: Sensitive leaders may feel like frauds, and that it’s only a matter of time until they’re found out. Perhaps you have a history trying out business coaching programs out there, only to find yourself half-heartedly executing on them – if at all. 
  • People-Pleasing and Difficulty Setting Boundaries: In leadership, this often shows up as taking on a greater load than what you’re meant (or paid) to carry. It’s hard work to protect your private space without being seen as unproductive. You may also feel like others take advantage of you far too often.  
  • Difficulty Making Decisions: Highly sensitive people usually see many sides to a situation and they weigh carefully – which of course makes them excellent leaders, but not always the fastest or most decisive ones. 
  • Poverty Mindset: Highly sensitive leaders may experience difficulty in salary negotiations, or in setting their fees in their own business that actually meet their needs and take care of them.
  • Overly relying on superiors or business partners (or your romantic partner!) to make decisions for you. HSPs tend to believe everyone over themselves. Specifically when it comes to questions of authority and expertise, they often defer to others whom they deem more competent or knowledgeable. 
  • Lots and lots and lots of Masking and Dissociating: Work life, with its demands and social intricacies (=office politics) can put so much pressure on the highly sensitive person that it can feel like walking into a battlefield on Monday morning. Many will dissociate and spend the day actually outside of their bodies. They may not notice the tension in their bodies until they are home again.

    Highly Sensitive Leaders, I am here to support you towards:

    • Strength: Sensitivity is unrealized strength, it’s vital for you and your mission and your business actually needs you to show up full-spectrum if it is to be successful.
    • Confidence: Working in a 1:1 setting over a period of time, any self-doubt, insecurity and habitual second-guessing can be transformed into a grounded sense of confidence that is felt by others in the room, and most importantly, by yourself. 
    • Connection to your own inner fire: Highly sensitive people are often mission-driven with a strong sense of purpose. They long to contribute to the bettering of the world. It is absolutely possible to be energized by the work that you do – not drained. 

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