It’s NOT about Money!

Dollar SignThe Bag Lady Syndrome is alive and well. In the latest Allianz Women, Money, and Power Study (2013), almost half the women polled are scared of becoming a bag lady –even those earning more than $200,000 per year. Why do so many bright, capable, and…yes…successful women continue to struggle with financial insecurity?  Why do you?

The answer, I believe, has nothing to do with money…and everything to do with our fear of (or ambivalence about) power.

Phyllis Chesler wrote in her groundbreaking book, Women, Money, and Power: “Money is a power sacred to most men and foreign to most women.”  These words written over 30 years ago, still hold true today.

The problem, as I see it, is this: We’ve never been taught the secret wisdom of creating wealth and exercising power, as women. Studies reveal that the sexes view money and power through very different lenses.

Generally speaking, a man’s self-esteem comes from his achievements; power itself is the ultimate goal.  A woman derives self esteem from relationships; power is a means to an end.

So while men covet the cachet of the corner office, women crave the opportunity to help others, grow personally, and live authentically.

The word ‘power,’ which comes from the Latin word, potere (‘to be able’) means the “ability to act or produce an effect.” The definition applies to both genders.

But as it relates to women, I much prefer to define power using the words of psychologist Eric Fromm: “The main task in life is to give birth to our self to become what we actually are.”

When you view power from that perspective, you begin to understand our resistance more clearly. Essentially, our fear of power is our fear of becoming who we really are, doing what we were put here to do, in the biggest way possible.

This fear keeps us settling for less instead of asking for more, shrinking to fit rather than playing full out, clinging to safety to avoid taking the leap.

This is precisely the reason I developed my new body of work, Sacred Success®. Rather than pushing women to pursue power in traditional fashion, Sacred Success® seeks to redefine power from a feminine perspective.

I’ll be exploring this whole issue of women and power in future blogs.  Meanwhile, I’d love your feedback: How would you redefine power? Or would you?



Filed under: Women & Power

Comments & Feedback

  • Cathy

    When I was in labour with my 3rd son, at one point, I was crouched beside my husband, holding his shoulder, and when the contraction came, I went with it so deeply that my voice dropped deep into my pelvis, and as I felt fully grounded in the expanse of my Power, I also felt my cervix spread wide open. It was strong, it was HUGE, it was beautiful, and it scared the daylights out of me! On some level, being completely wide open like that, it was completely vulnerable.

    So I would say that my redefinition of Power would be Surrender; allowing myself to drop into that vulnerable spot, because that is also where I felt my full strength.

    • YES, Cathy. I definitely agree. Surrender is a huge component of power…and vulnerability is where our true power lies. Thanks for your very powerful post!

  • Great insight in this post. I have always felt that insecurity but never quite understood the reason. I’m also reading your book “Secrets of 6 figure women” and I find myself staring from every page. Thank you for writing such a wonderful book on an unexplored topic. It resonated so much with me as I am working on bringing my business from ground up.

  • Guylaine

    Spot on Barbara! You’ve lightened up much of the confusion that I’ve carried around with me since I was a child. I’m 47 now. You’re inspiring me instantly to write up a program for teenage girls around the topic of power and self-esteem, something that’s been ruminating in me for a while now. I don’t know if I’ll ever offer it (I certainly don’t have any credentials in counselling or therapy to back me up -and I’m not sure I can overcome this block) but I’m writing up the program in this moment!

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Meet Barbara Huson

When a devastating financial crisis rocked her world, Barbara Huson knew she had to get smart about money… and she did. Now, she wants to empower every women to take charge of their money and take charge of their lives! She’s doing just that with her best-selling books, life changing retreats and private financial coaching.

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