I just finished reading Michael Singer’s The Surrender Experiment. In it, Singer, author of the bestselling The Untethered Soul, recounts his remarkable life story. His intention was to live a peaceful life in the woods, surrendering to the flow of life. Through a series of synchronistic events, he created and led a multimillion dollar business, was raided by the FBI, sued by the government, and eventually freed of all claims.
What makes the story so profound, however, was Singer’s commitment to his process, his relinquishing of control. The more I thought about his story, the more I thought about femininity in business.
When I say feminine, I am not referring to lipstick and heels. I am referring to feminine qualities, those of allowance, basking, receiving and flow. I am talking about the principles of yin.
Business, as we have come to understand it, is a masculine endeavor. That isn’t to say reduced to men alone. It’s the process employed. All action and decisiveness, all bottom line. Money. Numbers. Keep costs lean, the profit margin wide.
While this has its place, it needs to be balanced. I am not a communist or Marxist. I do believe capitalism is the best system we have found, despite its flaws. I recognize the need for both the masculine and feminine, but capitalism’s limits exist not outside of our own psychology. We can not reify the marketplace. The truth is that we are choking on our own scarcity mindset, our own greed. We assume there is never enough, that we must forever scrape our way to the top. In doing so, we create an atmosphere of unnecessary competition.
What makes Singer’s account so profound is where he operated from. This is a man with a degree in economics, one who understands systems. Yet, at his core, he understood and even exalted the spiritual attributes of equanimity, of allowance and trust. He didn’t force his hand. He allowed the Universe to call the shots, bringing him just the right person or opportunity at just the right time. In other words, he let go.
Women have an innate understanding of the flow of life. Our bodies are monthly reminders of life’s mystery. We can create, house, nurture and feed life. But ultimately, we are not in control of these natural rhythms and cycles, of when they occur. Whether we choose to admit it or not, something much wiser and greater than ourselves is calling the shots.
The most challenging aspect of modern life is surrendering to this reality. It’s difficult to remember how little control we have when we have invented so many means by which to convince ourselves of the opposite.
Still, when we let go and work with what life has to offer, miracles abound. Our ego is no longer calling the shots. With this comes deeper acceptance and peace. So why not apply this to business?
As women calling the shots, we can offer something new, as we lean into the new triple bottom line: social, environmental and financial. Not only can we think of our impact, of the repercussions of our choices, we can continue to embrace creativity and collaboration in the workplace. We can ease up and let go, co-creating with the Universe, offering ourselves up to something much greater than ourselves. It’s only when we recognize how little control we have, that we can consciously begin to channel the little control we do have into something beautiful, abundant and unexpected.
Artwork by Michelle Favin of Whys LA for Poppy + Seed. Connect with her @whyslosangeles.