I’m pissed off. Seriously fired up.
As you’re probably already aware, I have focused my coaching business to support gifted women to self-actualize. To discover what lights you up, how to create that sense of meaning in your lives, and how to integrate all of you into how you walk through this world.
I knew this work was needed, because I myself have felt for years that I am not living up to my potential (I’ve got the goods, the high intelligence, so why am I not feeling fulfilled? SO frustrating!) and I started to realize that a lot of other smart women must be feeling the same way.
Guess what I found out? They are. And what’s more than that, it’s this secret, dirty thing we don’t talk about but just keep perpetuating.
What is going on?
Recently, I spoke to a group to gifted teenage girls, to share with them the pitfalls that can occur with a highly intelligent mind – and the sensitivity, perfectionism, introversion, and idealism – that go with it – and what to do to turn that ship around before you crash. I was shocked at how much these girls are already experiencing the internal barriers that prevent women from fulfilling their potential. One girl came up to me afterwards and said, “It’s nice to know I am not alone anymore. I thought I was the only one who felt this way.”
In that moment, my heart opened wide and it became clear to me how much this work is needed in the world.
I started reading even more articles, talking with more gifted women, getting their unique perspective.
And everything came together for me, crashing like a ton of bricks:
We are wasting female brilliance.
Society plays a huge part in this. There are systems and beliefs in place, both conscious and unconscious, that keep intelligent women shut down and playing nice. This will take effort and time to change, but I believe we can do it. And it starts with us, one at a time, individually changing our own lives, the way we see ourselves, and how we choose to interact with the world.
One article I just read, “Gifted Women: Identity and Expression” sums up a lot of the challenges quite succinctly, so I recommend you read it.
In it, Dr. Linda Silverman, a specialist in psychological issues facing gifted says: “Because of their enhanced ability to perceive social cues and their early conditioning about the critical importance of social acceptance, gifted girls are much more adept than gifted boys at imitation. They fit in by pretending to be less capable than they really are, disappearing into the crowd.”
Can you relate?
- Have feelings of being an imposter?
- Pretend to be less or know less?
- Hide your abilities in order to survive socially
- Preface your sentences with disclaimers such as “This may not be right, but…”
- Discount your accomplishments with “Anyone could have done it” or “It wasn’t much.”
It’s hard being in the top 2% of intelligence because 98% of the population doesn’t understand what it is like to be you. It’s easy to feel like you don’t fit in, that it’s just better to downplay yourself and imitate what you think people are needing from you in the moment.
But it’s not. Pretending to be less than you are sucks your soul, and it strips the world of the brilliance you came here to share.
Remember this: You are brilliant. You are talented. And while you may be seeking external validation (we all do), you will never feel fully validated if you keep spending your energy getting everyone to like you. OWN who you are. Show up and be all of who you. You may think you are too much, but the world is actually needing you…whether they know it or not.
It’s a lot easier if we do this together and support each other in living in our brilliance. I am doing an experiment in bringing gifted women together for just this very reason, starting with a facebook page I just created, Gifted Women Unleashed. If you feel inspired, please “like” this page, and plug into the support you are craving.
I’m fired up. I have more to share…and I bet you do, too. Let’s get this discussion going. We need to openly talk about what it means to be a gifted woman in today’s society and help each other live full out, so we can fulfill our potential, enjoy our lives, and make the world a better place. By being who we naturally are.
Until next time,
With love and light,
Nicole Justine Cavanaugh