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Structure and Flow

It’s the flow we need to work on . . .

One of my favorite teachers, Rob Bell, talks about “the appropriate amount of woo.”  Woo Woo is too much.  But we need a little woo.

Why woo?  

Well, because some things we know before we can prove.

Remember that whole thing about a “gut feeling”?

Now we have all this scientific evidence about how our gut health impacts our brain health.

We knew it long before we could prove it.

So the appropriate amount of woo I want to consider today is the concept of masculine and feminine energy.  (There’s also a lot of research and proof about these concepts but I get that energy might sound a little . . . out there.) 

What is masculine energy?


  • Structure

  • Rationality

  • Action

  • Evidence

  • Achievement 

Sound familiar?  Perhaps one of these words even appears in your district’s core values.

Hear this!  Masculine energy is good and needed!


We also need the feminine.

I’m seeing some large institutions getting really funky as the preference for structure is crushing the need for creativity.

What is feminine energy?


  • Rest

  • Flow

  • Creativity

  • Intuitive 

  • Expressive 

As men and women, we each have both energies.

Just take a moment and inventory your leadership practice.  Do more qualities of masculine or feminine energy show up?

While everyone has their own experience, my personal and observed experience is that our systems and common way of talking about leadership strongly favor the masculine paradigm.

And we end up with a lot of leaders feeling exhausted, disillusioned, and uncertain about the future of their work.

It’s time that we give ourselves permission to include the feminine energetics in our leadership.  This will likely feel deeply counter cultural but we can’t expect things to change without a willingness to change ourselves.  

Here are some ways you can play with to help you nurture the feminine energy in your work:

  • Rest

  • When you feel tired at the end of a day, allow yourself to go home before completing all tasks.

  • Close your door, turn off your radio, and use your office space to close your eyes, read, meditate, or just to eat your lunch without interruption or additional stimulus.

  • Affirm your need for rest.  Rested leaders are more creative when problems arise and they are more compelling as they lead for the vision.

  • Flow

  • At the beginning of the week, identify the three most important things that will move you in the direction of your vision.  Use these three things as a filter for making any other commitments that week.  For each meeting you are asked to be a part of or any perceived crisis you need to manage, check in with these three things.

  • Keep an infinite to-do list.  Then keep a list of ten to-dos.  Your list may not exceed ten items and you may only add to it once one item has been completed.

  • Check in with your energy and mindset at the beginning of each day.  How do you feel?  What work is appealing to you today?  Allow the tasks that most align to your energy to be what is prioritized that day.

  • Creative

  • Make a list of the constraints of your job.  Then ask, “If the constraint didn’t occur to me, what would I do?”  Make a list of five things.  If you get stuck, make a list of ten ideas.

  • Allow yourself to explore your fears or worst case scenarios.  For example, if you are worried about not attending a particular meeting, ask yourself to imagine what might happen.  Then explore what you would do if that terrible thing did occur.  

  • Set down your belief in evidence and proof when you encounter a problem.  What ideas do you have about solving the problem?  What are you willing to try without knowing the case studies and research?

  • Intuitive

  • If you have a gut feeling, acknowledge it as good information and act on it.

  • Check in with how you feel about a decision.  Does it feel right in your body?  Does it align with your core values?

  • If you see a need once, explore it.  You don’t have to see the same need over and over to consider it valid.  Trust what you see.

  • Expressive

  • Say the thing you want to express and then keep talking.  The intention of this practice is to remove the pressure to be controlled or perfect with our words.  

  • Notice any times you get quiet or shut down.  How does your body feel?  What emotions are you feeling?  What do you need to feel safe?

  • Allow your favorite mode of expression to be part of your leadership.  Do you love to write? To sing? To move? To create art?  How can you welcome and embrace that into your full leadership practice?  

As you try out these practices, comment on this post and let me know what you experience.

Maybe your leadership feels more aligned and buoyant with a little bit of woo or a little bit more feminine energy in it.

Your coach in life and leadership,


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