It happened during a conversation about leadership with some other women at the Maine Women’s Fund. The essence of the conversation was about women stepping up more immediately up as leaders; not waiting for permission, authorization or “just the right” convergence of circumstances and gumption. Up until this point in our dialogue, we had touched upon the many reasons that women don’t step up – our penchant for influencing from behind, our low appetite for receiving credit, our exhaustion and tendency to “pick our battles.”
At one point, a member of our group blurted out (in her frustration), “We just need to spine a shotlight on the need for women to step into leadership roles…. I mean shine a spotlight.” We all chuckled and then paused. There was something in that turn of phrase that was magical and struck a chord with me and the other women in the group. Our conversation shifted after that. We began to talk about not waiting and doing something today to “be the change”. One woman shared a quote made by a friend recently, “every step I take is a women’s movement.”
Maybe that is invitation to us as women: to SPINE a shotlight; to embody the spotlight and let the light come from within each of us, rather than assuming it will somehow manifest outside us. Wouldn’t that, indeed, be the perfect image of women as agents of change? I instantly got the image of women walking around in the world with the light of their own visions for change radiating out from their solar plexuses.
In my work with women leaders, I often pose the question, “What if YOU were the leader you’ve been waiting for?” Too often – in myself and in my clients – I witness us waiting, pausing, second-guessing our instincts, our ideas or our value at the table. If more women were to “spine the shotlight”, perhaps we might bypass our minds and allow the full potency of our force for change flow from our core – unadulterated, unfiltered and unmistakable. Like the Kundalini energy of creation that ancient cultures believe lies coiled and ready at the base of our spine, women could awaken this dormant energy in ourselves and be virtual spotlights for our world.