In the last week I have been blown away by the leadership of women, especially millennial women. From the #MeToo campaign that went viral on social media last week, to the increasing amount of female entrepreneurs creating impact-driven businesses, it is clear that a new wave of female leadership is here.
As of 2016, it is estimated that there are now 11.3 million women-owned businesses in the United States, employing nearly 9 million people and generating over $1.6 trillion in revenues.
Women have evolved from homemakers, to women as corporate success stories, to women now being the CEO of their own lives and businesses.
A good friend of mine, Nadav Wilf, calls these new women the “shero”, defined as a female innovator who embodies gentle power and intuition while demonstrating dynamic execution.
Modern examples of the shero include Jessica Alba, whose company Honest is raising the bar in brand transparency with simple products that perform, and Iskra Lawrence, a plus-sized model who is empowering young women and girls around the world to embrace themselves at any size.
The “shero” is not to be confused with the archetypal “alpha businesswoman who is career obsessed and makes little time for family or herself.” On the contrary—the shero embraces both the feminine and masculine aspects of herself in balance, attaining greater success in career without sacrificing her personal life.
This week on the Unconventional Life Podcast, I interviewed one woman who is a true shero. Meet Molly Montgomery, the auditor-turned-entrepreneur who founded a consulting business called Ascension, which helps high-performing entrepreneurs and visionary leaders grow their companies with confidence. Montgomery is also a world traveler and fitness enthusiast who is working on launching her next big project, Founders Haven.
Below, discover 5 lessons in leadership that will enable you to embody the shero and experience greater success in your professional and personal lives.
1. Know The Difference Between Yes And No. The shero is a woman who is deeply attuned to herself. Jackie Knechtel, co-founder of the Flow Mastery Program says, “Be aware of how a ‘yes’ and a ‘no’ each register to you within your body. A yes will register as feeling light, free, open and expansive where a no will feel dark, heavy, closed and contracted.”
If you are uncertain, wait for further clarity be patient with yourself and give yourself the space you need to discern how you truly feel. While society’s social imperatives for women have been to be “nice” and “polite,” the modern millennial women is not willing to mask her authentic opinion. Recognize that you have a voice and don’t be afraid to use it. Speak up on your own behalf, even when what you need to say may not be well-received.
2.Prioritize Your Self Care. The shero prioritizes her self care, knows her limits, and sets aside time for herself to recharge. Montgomery says, “taking care of yourself is the most critical part of the process, because that self care is what allows creativity to flow through you.”
I myself don’t start work until around 12pm each day. I make space in the mornings for a workout, to read, have a nourishing breakfast, and do creative activities. I find that by following this self care routine I am most productive in the 4-6 hours that I work each day, which studies have confirmed can optimize productivity.
3.Be Ambitious. According to recent research, two-thirds of women between the age of 18 and 34 rank having a successful career high on their list of priorities, compared to just 59% of men.
While the HBR reports that men in 2017 still prefer a partner who is less professionally ambitious than them, the shero does not let this hold her back. The shero is a go-getter in her career who acts upon her own volition, and does not need others’ permission or approval.
4. Be Secure In Your Value. Messages for women have suggested that they need to fix themselves in order to be valuable. But the shero knows her self-worth is intrinsic. As Eleanor Roosevelt so eloquently put it, “no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
Do not internalize externally-imposed insecurities. Regard yourself highly and embraces yourself in all of your strengths and weaknesses. Remember that you deserve to take up space and do not shrink yourself to accommodate others.
5.Lead With Your Heart. The shero does not harbor resentment within her; she knows she must release toxicity or else it it harms her, too. The #MeToo campaign reveals that forgiveness and transformation are made possible through open dialogue and compassionate listening. Shero Jennifer Lawrence demonstrates that this approach can be effective in raising awareness about shifting cultural norms towards equality.
Montgomery says, “It can be so hard when something happens where somebody did something, whether it was intentionally or not, they messed up royally. People think that forgiveness means allowing or being ok with what happened, but it’s actually a matter of letting to and being ok with the fact that you cannot change what happened. It’s just letting go.”
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This article originally appeared on Forbes.com.