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Denise M. Michaels
There’s a quote you may have heard before, originally said by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt:
“A good woman is like a teabag. You never know how strong she is until you get her in hot water.”
I’m reminded of that quote on days when I need to be strong. Sometimes I think about it when I remember how much I enjoy a big latte cup of tea and almond milk to start my day. When I travel I bring my English Breakfast teabags and find a market where I can pick up almond milk. No sugar please.
Strength shows up differently in different people. In some people it doesn’t show on the outside at all. Their strength is bottled on the inside. Like ten pounds in a five pound sack. Just because you can’t see a demonstration of brute power and domination doesn’t mean strength is lacking. Yes, there’s strength in brute horsepower. There’s also strength in the willingness to have tenacity, perseverance and see things through over the long haul.
On Saturday morning and Tuesday evening I go to a class at the gym in the big pool. Like most gym classes the members who participate are mostly women but there are a few men as well. I’m not sure why, but the men in class seem to grunt and groan with regularity. When they push a weight or do three sets of crunches in the water I hear it. Maybe they want everyone to know it. Mostly I think it’s a visceral, masculine response after doing something hard and then letting go.
The women, never groan, huff or puff. They go through the class and endure exactly the same hour of “torture.” They do the same amount of movement, resistance and everything else. They might “Whooo-hoo!” once in awhile or sing along with a song they like on the speaker system but there’s no verbal, open demonstration of brute strength.
Men are excellent at the explosive power necessary when it comes to tackling the guy on the other team, self-defense that springs from a gut place of “It’s him or me,” or running into a burning building to save a little girl.
Women are good at the long range endurance necessary over the long haul. This isn’t scientific, but as a gender I think women are more patient. I don’t think men could endure a 28-hour labor and childbirth. Men might be amazed how much strength it sometimes takes to hold your tongue and not say a word.
Being able to perform Herculean feats like lifting massive weights shows physical strength. However, the real power required of successful entrepreneurs is seen in human tests and non-physical feats of strength that make a big difference in the quality of our lives, our businesses and our relationships. These aren’t the strengths on display in an amazing ten second burst of physical prowess – instead they’re strengths you cannot see.
It requires strength to:
- Start a business and face all the people who say, “Get a real job.”
- Author a book and handle comments like, “You can’t write a book.”
- Be patient when selling, then ask for the sale at the right time.
- Focus and keep believing in yourself even when people say “no.”
- Get to work every day without a boss breathing down your neck.
- Complete your toughest tasks in the morning without procrastinating.
- Acknowledge you need help when it’s important and it’s tough.
This is the strength both men and women excel at when they focus on building those characteristics, qualities and inner strengths within themselves. That’s why I’ve said for many years, “Your business growth cannot happen any faster than your personal growth.” There’s no true gender advantage when it comes to patience, focus or learning and applying new skill sets. We may not all be able to lift a bar with 225 pounds of weight loaded on it, but that’s not often required in business or in life.
Author John Maxwell said, “A leader is someone who goes first.” Even the willingness to go first, encourage others and be at the front of the pack is a strength that can be learned. It’s probably one of the most important assets necessary to be successful in business. No physical force is required, but emotional strength is a necessity to lead.
There are energized, new and seasoned entrepreneurs with a fire in their belly so strong it won’t go out. That fire knows no gender, age, race or religion. There are others who look the part right down to their expensive suits and well-pressed shirts who are resting on their laurels and have done so for years. As they say in Texas, “It’s all hat and no cattle.”
What matters, especially in the era of online business, isn’t how you look or even what you say. What matters is what you do with that powerful longing deep inside to help others, and build something new.
- The strong have a powerful desire to create something that’s never been done before and they act on it even against the odds.
- The weak keep hoping a warm gust of wind will pick them up and toss them effortlessly to a place called “success.”
- The strong accomplish amazing things and the weak make excuses for not doing so. Or at least not yet.
Which one are you?
Denise M. Michaels is a ghostwriter and book coach. She helps CEOs, entrepreneurs, therapists, speakers and aspiring authors become more recognizable, influential and in-demand. Using the leverage a book provides – you can become the go-to expert in your niche. To contact Denise about your book or book idea click here now.