Written by Ani Wilson Spring III 2017 Issue
I used to think I was special. You know, the kind of special where no-one else in the world, let alone my city, would understand how I felt, the pressures I had, the enormity of the workload and parenting tasks.
I was a modern day Wonder Woman; but with a few added features…
Known as the ‘Energizer Bunny’ amongst my friends and colleagues, I had only 3 known speeds; Fast, faster, and OFF. I had no fail-safe, no slow mode. Perhaps you can relate?
If I was a newer version of Wonder Woman, then Linda Carter was now taking steroids!
It is only now, in my middle age reflection that I can laugh at such an analogy. For roughly 15 years however, it was a moniker that touched a nerve deep within me, as I knew that although the term was used in gest to lovingly set me apart from others, it was also a recurring warning from friends that the pace of my life was not normal.
Sadly, these are the same friends who are now following quickly in my footsteps, making the same mistakes, feeling the same pains and faltering under the pressure of simply being ‘average’.
Where once the term “Wonder Woman” set you apart from others in a heavily masculine workforce, the same termthese days offers nothing except to welcome you in to a largely growing club for overworked overachievers struggling to keep up.
A few years ago I took it upon myself to investigate what being a Wonder Woman really meant, settling in for a night of nostalgic review of that famous TV show (with a generous glass of oaked NZ Chardonnay in hand, my phone set to silent and kids safely tucked away in bed).
I prepared myself mentally for a night of light entertainment with an expectation of being transported in to a different world, safely away from the stressors of the day.
Unfortunately, those expectations lay sadly unmet.
It seems our brains really have changed over the past 40 years.
Our natural state of expectancy has increased exponentially to want something dramatic to occur quickly, with passion and impact. Decades of time dependent deliverables, and expectations of quick wins has impaired our ability to simply let things play out naturally.
And thus I painstakingly watched as the baddies slowly and clumsily performed their evil deed, and giggled as Linda twirled around and around, magically transforming herself from office lady in to the savior of mankind in spandex and star studded boots.
Everything seemed to be playing out before my eyes in slow motion and my patience for Wonder Woman’s lack of super-powers wore thin very quickly.
But in true non-judgmental form, I ignored my angst at how Wonder Woman’s visible body remained unseen as she piloted her invisible plane through the clouds above and came to realize 3 very important truths about why the moniker still suits in this day and age, and why we were forever idolizing the very boots she famously donned in each episode.
Truth One: The Lasso was her secret weapon.
When wielded with confidence, WW always got her man.
We all have one; a tool in our armory that gets results. When the proverbial hits the fan, if we c
an stop and reflect at what our ‘super-power’ is; one that marries our highest values, then results are always guaranteed.
As we move in to adulthood, our habits and the needs of our working environment changes how our brains function. We primarily feel stress when we try to hold on to our childhood personality and don’t embrace our experiences and changing mindset.
There are certain attributes that are locked deep within our subconscious from a young age (by the age of 7 to be precise, such as our values and social beliefs) but most of our personality and strengths can be molded and manipulated through repetitive stimuli up to the age of 37, which is the age that over 95% of our personality is firmly set in place as shown through recent studies in neuroscience.
Wonder Woman embraced who she was, her alter ego, and pulled out her trusted lasso at every applicable moment.
As women leading the new age of management, it’s imperative that we also find our inner strength and embrace who we’ve become, not who we were or still crave to be in secret.
Anthony Robbins inspires us to redefine our values every 7 years, as, just like most other animals on earth, we certainly do follow cycles of evolution and life. If I kept the same values from when I was 21 (in search of fun and a muscular dimwitted boyfriend), I would struggle with my wonderful life as a mother and coach.
So I charge you today to put down your armor for a moment and reflect on what your highest values in life are, and search deeply and without judgment to find your biggest strength that makes you a winner every time.
The simple act of recognizing your greatness and making sure it marries your highest value ensures your brain is optimized for results.
In my case, even when all else seemed lost, my ability to build an army of dedicated followers to carry the load in the office meant success was only a request away at any time. My awareness of the needs of others and being able to meet that need was a strength I’d willingly harnessed early in my career as it met my highest value of contribution to others.
Whatever it is that defines your success above anything else – take pride in your strength and know that you can call upon that secret tool at any time to secure success.
Truth TWO: WW was a gentle but confident leader who commanded attention wherever she went.
Leave your ego behind. Although you may indeed be the savior of mankind, people are social creatures by nature and follow those who they believe in and resonate with.
Studies have shown that when people live in the same household, body rhythms and even heart rate speeds progressively become in synch with each other over time. The strongest force of energy will change the heart rhythms of those around them, meaning when you feel stressed, anxious and chaotic, your children internally and silently suffer also.
This also works for you in reverse; when you’re feeling under pressure and the last thing you want to do is socialize, this is precisely what you should do. Either be the light that others want to follow in the darkness, or find someone who lights your flame and feed off that energy.
There is something to be said about becoming the leader that others trust, fall in love with, and want to follow. The simplicity of a smile, or a gentle unsolicited thank-you can change worlds.
Truth THREE: Simplicity was the key to Woman Woman’s success.
In today’s hyperkinetic world, simplicity almost becomes a dirty word. We laugh at the term, believing that simplifying is easier said than done. We’ve spent decades mastering the art of multi-tasking and achieving the impossible by taking on the workloads of others when they fail to keep up.
Research has, time and again, shown us that for every interruption we have, it takes another 6 minutes for our brain to reach the same level of focus when we get back to the task at hand. When we focus on a singular task, our left prefrontal cortex lights up like a Christmas tree, reducing the impact and activity within our Amygdala (being the fear/stress center of the brain). The more we focus on one future outcome, the weaker our fear response within the brain over time – hence the less stress we feel to daily irritations. Simplifying doesn’t have to mean that we get rid of processes and applications that we’ve spent our careers building, but reducing the interruptions and finding a way to focus forward on a singular outcome for a period of time will inevitably get us results in quicker fashion.
So is the term ‘Wonder Woman’ now redundant simply because being exceptional is considered status quo? Or is it a term that is just misunderstood, as truly you are all manifestations of Wonder Woman at her greatest peak.
You’ve just forgotten how WONDER-ful you are.