“When a woman owns her gifts, talents and skills, from a genuine, heartfelt and humble place, and can stand strong and solid in acknowledging who she is, what she brings and what she cares about, her vision and her intelligence, her passion and her warmth, it creates a space and permission for others to step into their own greatness like nothing else I’ve ever experienced.”
– Tracey Trottenberg
Tracey Trottenberg is a powerful feminine leader helping other women step up and step into themselves as powerful feminine leaders! She is an international speaker, leadership & communications strategist and trainer, and founder of Amazing Women International.
For over 18 years, Tracey has spoken to, coached and trained tens of thousands of people worldwide, including CEO’s, business executives, government officials, entrepreneurs and international speakers.
In addition to these amazing credits, she is a show host on the Women’s Information Network. Her show is titled: “Expose Yourself: How to Lead and Stay Feminine.”
Tracey has an outstanding gift of being able to quickly laser in and go straight to the heart of a woman’s message to help her communicate it clearly, with confidence, and with passion and pizazz. What a gift, and what a Goddess!
TB: You have said that the world is starving for feminine leadership. Tell me more about this.
TT: I believe that the world is literally hungry for the qualities and attributes that are more feminine. Some of these qualities include being more empowering, inclusive, acknowledging, responsive and open-hearted. I believe these qualities can come from men as well, because ultimately we are each a blend of what we’d refer to as masculine and feminine qualities. That said, when a woman is in her true essence – strong and powerful, soft and caring, there is a way in which she shows up that literally opens hearts and inspires people around her. People want inspiration. When a woman owns, honors and unleashes who she is, it inspires everyone around her so they can all see the potential for themselves and they grow too.
These are some of the qualities in leadership that I believe have been sorely missing and are now needed urgently. There is a hunger for authenticity right now. Many women have had to hide or diminish their enthusiasm, creativity, warmth, intuition, ability to connect on a deeper level and to their ‘softer side’ to make it in business. These qualities are needed in business as this creates more motivation and engagement, which leads to higher levels of productivity and bottom line results, including greater fulfillment, creativity, participation and joy.
TB: What are some of the reasons you think women hold themselves back?
TT: A lot of women have a fear of bragging, so they play it small or shrink themselves. Another common fear is that they don’t want to be “too much.” I feel that also women hold back because they’re afraid of their own strength and brilliance, and have gotten used to playing small or believing the reasons and excuses they’ve acquired or created to stay small. Also, there is a fear about how others will respond and possibly judge you. As a woman entrepreneur, there’s often a feeling of being alone because it’s easy to isolate and hide behind your computer, which can make it harder to step out and be visible. It takes courage to put yourself out there and overcome old programming that says it is not OK to speak about yourself, or not OK to brag. Also, women can be so hard on themselves. I’m a recovering perfectionist and I still face that old habit of self-judgment, which requires vigilance and a willingness to bring self-love and self-encouragement.
“I believe strongly that the relationship women have with each other has played a huge role in all of this. Rather than competition and judgment, we need to create a community of women helping women that truly supports and encourages each other, which is fundamental to my vision for, and work with women. Because when one woman succeeds, we all succeed.”
TB: I have heard you say, “When I hear women brush over their accomplishments, it literally makes my soul shiver.” Tell me more about that.
TT: When a woman owns her gifts, talents and skills, from a genuine, heartfelt and humble place, and can stand strong and solid in acknowledging who she is, what she brings and what she cares about, her vision and her intelligence, her passion and her warmth, it creates a space and permission for others to step into their own greatness like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. So when a woman diminishes herself, shrinks or closes off her passion and brilliance, it hurts my soul because I can feel her own soul’s pain and her wanting to be free to shine and be who she really is. It also hurts because I know that place, I’ve been there and done it. It does hurt on the inside. It hurts me also because I know these are learned traits, and often not conscious. To me, the journey of life is bringing these limiting and old beliefs into awareness so you can shift them.
TB: What are some common misperceptions of feminine leadership?
TT: I would say that probably one of the biggest misperceptions that men and women have is that being feminine and being vulnerable and being heartfelt is a sign of weakness. I’ve been on my own journey around this and I hear it from my
clients all the time. “If I’m vulnerable, then people won’t see me as strong.” “If I’m too excited about what I am doing, then people won’t take me seriously.” Yes, it can happen that if you are too passionate that you lose your grounding, or if you are too vulnerable it isn’t strengthening. I believe that it’s a pendulum and it can swing either way for sure, so we need to find a balance.
Something else we face as women is that being too feminine can come off as being too sexy, or too sensual. It can be from the tone of our voice, to how we carry ourselves and our body, to the clothes we wear. I think that there is a balance between not having to show up as a man, and recognizing where your inner strengths and beauty and sexiness come from, even in business.
TB: What advice would you give a woman who is afraid to step forward as a leader?
TT: Ideally, I’d love to know more about her specific challenge, because every woman is unique and has her own process and challenges. I would also want to know what her vision and passions are, because that’s where we’ll find an opening to move through the stuck places. It starts with knowing where you are and where you want to go.
In my experience, generally the challenges fall into three specific areas, including inner landscape, i.e., negative self-talk and the inner demons we all face at one point or another. Usually for women, it’s an old fear, self-doubt or limiting self-belief that keeps you playing small. Maybe you were told to settle down, don’t brag or my personal one, don’t be “too much.” Many of my clients are facing their fear of outshining someone else or causing too much attention. This is a big area and we can spend days just talking about this one!
The next challenge can fall into what I call the outer expression … what’s happening externally within your business and career. This can be a lack of clarity with your message or vision, the skills required to market and grow your business, how to manage the day-to-day so you can get out there and do the work you want to do. If it feels too overwhelming or you’re stuck in the minutia of the details, it can be hard to lift yourself up and move forward.
The third area is structures for support, which literally can be your team, how you set up your business and your life so you have support systems in place so you can be freed up to get out there. This lack of support can be a big one, especially for women. Trying to do it alone and not having help can make it scary to step out and not know if you can deliver. Often women tend to feel responsible and want to make sure they can deliver what they promise, so without having support, which can be from an assistant to someone who cleans your house, a woman can feel overwhelmed and never make it out the door, let alone out in the world where she is needed and her clients are waiting for her.
TB: So what would you say is the bottom line?
TT: Ultimately, I believe, it comes down to self-awareness and identifying your blocks and resistance, so you can see it and then shift it, either on your own or with support. Everyone has blind spots and I believe everyone needs a coach. I see that with my clients and I always have my own coach too. Get support whether it’s one-on-one or with a group, because there I haven’t yet seen any way that is faster, more direct and more powerful than getting that level of support to teach you, guide you and hold you accountable to you move forward.
TB: What has your process been like owning yourself as a feminine leader?
TT: It’s been a process and it still is! This is a vision and a calling that lives deep inside and pulls me forward. In my journey, I’ve hit rock bottom and I’ve had amazing successes, personally and professionally. Each time, I’ve picked myself back up – sometimes quickly and sometimes after spending a long time licking my wounds. Again, it’s the vision and my own commitment to fulfilling my purpose and living what I’m meant for that pulls me forward and keeps me going. I too need to stay connected to what I’m most passionate about and what fills my heart.
Over the years, I have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars and done countless personal and professional development courses, trainings and worked with some of the best teachers and mentors in human potential, communication, leadership, business and other skills development, including mindset and spiritual teachers as well. There is nothing that I ask others to do that I myself wouldn’t do. Do I falter and fall? Yes. Do I face my own inner demons on a regular basis? Yes. This journey is a day-to-day process and commitment that is both humbling and exhilarating!
“The feminine piece is one that I continue to explore all the time. For me, it’s about being authentic, and truthfully, men possess many of these qualities too. Ultimately, as a woman, it’s about the courage to open my heart and stay soft while still being strong, smart and bold.”
TB: What do you think are the risks when a woman doesn’t step into her leadership?
TT: I think that the risk is monumental in a personal and in a global sense. When a woman holds back her own intuition, her own enthusiasm, her desire to contribute, and stays in an old belief that holds her down, that has an immediate impact on everyone around her. I think parenting is one of the key leadership roles that we are given in life. Kids need to be around strong role models. For a woman to embrace her greatness, her passion, her vision, and her desire to really support and facilitate growth for others, that is what kids need. In the business world, people respond to someone who is kind, someone who makes them feel acknowledged and included, and someone who has a vision and can inspire them. So the risk of a woman not embracing fully who she is not only limits her own expression, but the experience of those around her. The more women show up as leaders, the more global change we will see on the environment, education, politics, and business — the quality of life in general.
“Being a feminine role model is about being able to speak positively and powerfully about yourself and being excited about what you are passionate about and what you’ve done, in a way that says to people, ‘You can do this too.’”
TB: What are some key elements a woman should know about to be a powerful and effective public speaker?
TT: I love this question! When a woman is in her genuine strength and passion and takes her place on the stage, everyone is inspired and grows. This looks like standing with confidence, making eye contact and really connecting with people as if you’re having a private conversation, smiling and sharing your enthusiasm for what you’re speaking about, being in your body and grounded, rather than a ‘talking head’. That happens when you are prepared with your talk and when you are actually listening to yourself and connected to yourself and your audience. That’s when the magic happens.
“When you as a woman aren’t sheepish or diminish yourself, then you create a space for others to feel good about themselves and open their hearts and minds, because you are modeling that for them.”
“These are all skills I love to teach and it just delights me to no end to see a woman drop into this place and be herself on stage!”
TB: If you had a loud speaker that every woman could hear around the world, what message would you want to impart?
TT: It’s time to let your light shine. It’s time to do whatever inner work you need to do to make peace within yourself to make it okay to step out to share what is in your heart, what is your vision, what is it that you bring that is so needed because it is needed. There is so much value to what you see that is different, what you see that is possible, what you see that would make someone’s life, business, relationship or experience of anything better. Trust your intuition. Trust your excitement and enthusiasm. Allow yourself to be strong without being harsh. Do the inner work.
And smile. When a woman smiles, it lights up a room, a building, a city, a nation. Connect with people, and make eye contact. People want to be seen by you. It’s okay to be afraid, and it’s okay to question, but do the work you need to do and get the help you need to get. Just keep going.
For those ready to step up NOW, Tracey has a Mastermind group starting in August and a “Speak with Presence” live training on August 13th and 14th in Los Angeles.
To learn more about Tracey and her powerful work, visit www.traceytrottenberg.com.
Tabby Biddle, M.S. Ed., is a writer, editor, and reporter dedicated to the empowerment of women and girls. Her work has been featured by The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, NPR, and other national media. She is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post on women’s issues and reports on the inspiring work of women changemakers. She lives in Santa Monica, CA.