Originally published Feb. 10, 2020.
In honor of Women's History Month, I'm pulling this article from the archives to share with all women and allies as we celebrate our uniqueness and respect the journey that we are each taking.
My intention is not only for you to understand yourself better but also to invite you to show up with faith, an open heart, and a willingness to let us see all of who you are. Only then will we experience the love and freedom that living unapologetically, in love with ourselves, others, and life, can bring.
The world needs to see all of your light, authenticity, and caring, which can feel scary given our traumas and innate desire for self-preservation. But unless we show up in this way, others will continue to self-protect like we are. With these cloaks, no one wins--we all lose.
Many courageous women who preceded us took risks and put themselves out there. Their actions, voices, and attitudes enabled us to enjoy many freedoms. Yet, we unconsciously remain entrapped by no one but ourselves.
Are you an alpha female? Let's find out, and if you are like me, let's be vulnerable together and discover what life truly has to offer us. There's courage in being self-aware, shifting from controlling others to controlling yourself, and defaulting to "others have good intentions," rather than everyone is out the get me.
Tag, you're it!
Only recently did I realize something extraordinary about myself and connected the dots in an area where I've been experiencing seemingly painful, albeit growth opportunities. I wonder if you can also relate.
Last week, while speaking to a friend who lives in New Zealand, we were discussing my romantic relationship status. Shortly into the conversation, after confiding that I'm running into challenges finding a partner who I care for and support in his ambitions and life dreams, and vice versa, the conversation veered toward highlighting a significant pattern in my past and present. We began to discuss how I don't fit the mold of society's stereotypical woman—how a considerable segment of our western society expects women to be or behave.
What became excruciatingly clear to both of us is that I'm the epitome of an "alpha female," and the dynamics this often creates when the partners I've been attracted to have been primarily alpha males who were not receptive or welcoming of an alpha woman.
If you're wondering, so what? Well, for me, this explains so much of what has been plaguing me in previous relationships. While I've always identified as a leader, go-getter, and achiever, these traits haven't translated smoothly in my romantic relationships.
In most of the traditional partnership, I can't seem to be myself, and as a result, I've felt suffocated. I've had to tame my ambitions and curtail my dreams to fit with my partner's. I've had to "cut back" on my personality to not be "too much" or "laugh too loud." And I've had to undervalue my interests and impact in fear of leaving my partner behind. Although no one was making me do any of these things, I felt an unspoken expectation and intuitively and unconsciously, at the time, reacted.
With this context and realization, and it is work in progress, a new perspective and outlook are now available to me. Unlike the other areas of my life, e.g., my career, family and friends, finances, personal development, health, and wellness, where I've lived fearlessly, in romantic relationships, I've experienced challenges tough to crack.
With new insight and direction, I began researching this, in old Ginny fashion. I found a refreshing article by Vanessa Van Edwards with the Science of People that provided more for me to reflect.
According to Vanessa Van Edwards and the latest research…
An alpha female is a woman who has embraced her leadership ambitions. She is talented, highly motivated, and self-confident.
Today, in honor of your Self-love and Self-leadership, I'm challenging you to question and fall in love with your alpha-femaleness.
How do you relate to an alpha female?
Here's a quick assessment. An alpha female embraces her confidence, and this helps her lead others. She:
Believes her ability to achieve is limitless
Self-identifies as an alpha female
Has confidence that is contagious, which leads others to respect her as an equal
Showcases leadership characteristics
Is recognized by others as being impactful
Has extremely high ambitions
The article and associated research highlight 9 characteristics, which, when I followed along, convinced me that I am indeed an alpha female, and always have been. In a nutshell, here are the nine traits:
Fearless Leadership – embraces her leadership roles and tendencies
High Emotional Intelligence – able to notice her emotions and those of others and build relationships
Obsessive Learners – embraces continuous learning and appreciates her ability to learn to face challenges, learn from experience, or learn from others
Strong – exhibits mental and physical toughness
Are Sought Out – is sought out for her help and seeks out help
Highly Ambitious – feels her ambition is limitless, she seeks out mentors, challenges, new opportunities, and wants more (income, opportunities from life)
Love Their Mommas (and Daddys) – shares a strong relationship with her parents
Cultivate Harmony – sets the tone for the group and becomes an unspoken leader
Exceptional confidence – considers herself equal to her peers and believes her ability to achieve success is limitless
Are you ready to embrace your fearless leadership?
As the #1 trait listed above, one study, “Defining the Alpha Female: A Female Leadership Measure,” found that alpha females embrace their leadership role and tendencies. They see the benefits and lead without reluctance. As the article points out, if a woman doesn't, it doesn't make her more or less of a leader, however, it indicates she is a non-alpha female--and there's nothing wrong with that.
We're here to stay, lead, and cultivate the harmony this world needs now more than ever. As the CEO of ExecutiveBound™, my mission is to populate the world with great leaders. And My Why is to give myself and my son the opportunities to tap into our full potential, and to help my clients tap into theirs.
Over the past year, I've toiled and poured my mind, body, and soul into creating the Fearless Leadership Mastermind™. At the time when I started my company, I had no idea that my #1 brand, Fearless Women @Work, and subsequently ExecutiveBound™, were indeed an expression of my innate qualities as an alpha female. At the time, I had not identified or had the language to articulate them. However, I felt them deeply.
I knew there was a huge need for what I wanted to create—an inclusive, safe space where women and leaders like me could not only continue to develop leadership skills, be ourselves, and reach our full potential but also where we could be embraced and find the support we need to fill our cup, grow our impact, and contribute to the best of our abilities.
The need was selfish and equally compassionate and generous, as I craved it afer more than 25 years in my career in technology and financial services, and felt that other women, and men, did too.
Bringing it all together
As my clients and I can relate, we live in a world where we, as alpha females, are often misunderstood, no judgment, simply stating my truth. We've found solace in creating an inclusive tribe where alpha females thrive and can prepare in the face of increasing challenges in the marketplace and world stage.
At the Fearless Leadership Mastermind™, we "get" each other, and we're here to be the leaders we are indeed, unapologetically and fearlessly. And to create the impact we know we can have when we unleash our full potential in our organizations, society, and the world, for the highest good of all.
And yes, I believe that in the process of embracing my alpha-femaleness and you embracing yours, not as a label but more so honing in on the qualities, at work and home, we can show up to our work and families feeling whole. To me, this means owning qualities such as my drive, ambition, and love for leadership, as well as my nurturing, caring, flexibility, and vulnerability.
As an imperfect human, I am always evolving and learning about myself and the many aspects and dimensions of my humaneness. Today, I'm receptive to a supportive, non-judgmental, loving relationship where both people are ready, willing, and able to be authentic and equal partners.
If this topic resonates with you, please let me know by leaving me a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here's to love, freedom, peace, and leadership.
Live with passion, live with joy!,
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Dr. Ginny A. Baro is an award-winning transformational speaker & leadership coach, career strategist, and #1 best-selling author of Healing Leadership and Fearless Women at Work. Ginny specializes in partnering with organizations and ERGs to develop leadership dream teams. And she supports individuals navigating a corporate hierarchy or transitioning into an entirely new phase of their career. She has successfully facilitated live and virtual leadership training and coaching programs for individuals and Fortune 500 companies with over 140,000 employees, and delivered keynotes impacting global audiences larger than 7,000. To learn more, visit ExecutiveBound.