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LiYana Silver is a torch-holder for a world-to-be in which feminine leadership flourishes and the epidemic of women self-haters has long become absurd.
She teaches, coaches, speaks and writes, supporting success-minded women to wake up our body wisdom, turn on our feminine strength and live brilliant lives aligned with our true desires.
Her (eyebrow-raising) work has been featured in the likes of Forbes, the Huffington Post and Jezebel. She rykes the San Francisco Bay Area home with her husband, son and extended chosen family. You can find her at LiYanaSilver.com or EmbodimentExperience.com. Enjoy her exclusive Business Heroine interview…
BH: What led you to the work you do around feminine leadership? Tell us your story!
LiYana: My first career was as a professional modern dancer, where I spent over ten years performing all over Europe, Israel and in New York City, most notably with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet. I exerted immense control over my body in hopes of being thin enough and good enough to be a vehicle for someone else’s vision. I spent those ten years believing I could not trust myself because I felt that the urges and desires of my body (to eat food, rest and sleep in!) were at odds with my dreams and goals.
There were moments of immense beauty where I felt “successful,” but truly I spent most of my time trashing myself in the mirror, surviving the barrage of rejections from audition after audition, and feeling like my dreams were just over the next horizon, where surely happiness was waiting for me.
I brought my intense work ethic (and corresponding self-loathing practices) with me as I transitioned from dance into coaching and internet marketing. I looked constantly to other women peers, trying to emulate what seemed to be working so well for them, assuming that what LOOKED successful to her would FEEL successful to me. My spurts of business growth were peppered with periods of burn out where I became disillusioned, uninspired and physically sick.
While it has been so helpful and necessary to learn “the rules” of sales, marketing and the online world, those rules killed my authenticity and the pace they demanded made me into a hypocrite. While I was supporting women to get deeply in contact with their feminine strengths and the wild wisdom of their bodies, my own feminine essence and soul was suffering. The classic and clichéd story of so many of us.
I had to dig deep into my own patterning that had me chronically depleted and I had to find a form of discipline in my work that didn’t kill my enthusiasm for my work. I had to redefine success for myself. I had to learn to transform the consuming jealousy and envy I had of my sister businesswomen and from their fire, get lit to my own clarity and confidence. I had to step up to a whole new level of walking my talk.
And most importantly, I had to fully grasp the tremendous value that is a woman, SWITCHED ON: you, myself, and our sisters – and the tremendous value I provide by facilitating that. The world is suffering because women’s light and fire is switched off. And I am utterly clear that a woman TURNED ON – and the staggering brilliance that comes on line when she is – will light and lead our world.
Our wildness, our desires and our bodies are not the problems; it is the cage that we put around our wildness, our desires and our bodies that causes the problems. Although it’s taken scores of years to truly live this, I now can and must – in business, in love, in parenting, in sistering, in friending – let the wisdom of my body, my turned on, lit up body, lead the way. It’s the difference between trying to LOOK LIKE you have a great life and FEELING that you do.
BH: What exactly is “Feminine Genius” and how can we bring it to our work (and still get sh*t done!)?
LiYana: Feminine Genius: the astounding intelligence of a woman’s turned on, lit-up body.
When we think of the word “genius,” we think of a tremendous intellectual capacity, and we might even think of someone like Einstein as the poster child for Genius.
Einstein used his intellectual genius to tap into the unspoken languages of mathematics and physics, each with its own laws, governances, power and beauty. When you use your Feminine Genius you tap into the unspoken language of Feminine Energy and Strength – which has its own laws, governances, power and beauty.
You are wielding your Feminine Genius when you are at your most lit up and turned on and you are channeling that somatic intelligence into your work, love and life. The “results” a Feminine Genius creates defy the laws of physics, mathematics, time, space, and the good ol’ Puritan work ethic.
We think that if we are more “Feminine’ that it will all fall apart. That we’ll become some weak wisp of a woman, too stuffed with bon-bons to get up off the couch. We think that we will become incompetent, consummate flakes. Laughable.
But in fact, when we learn to balance our “ass-kicking, get-it-done” Masculine Genius and strengths with the strengths of our Feminine Genius, meaning floods back into our lives. We don’t lose our power, we become truly empowered. We don’t lose our way, we tap into our confidence – the untamable kind. We shred the “get it right” script and instead choose what “feels right.” We stop waiting for our lives to start and our businesses to be “successful” and we start feeling like we ARE the Home we’ve been searching for.
BH: What are the differences between “Masculine” and “Feminine” Genius?
LiYana: The metaphor I love for our Masculine Genius is a train: it functions best with full-steam ahead energy, penetrating space, barreling down the track from point A to point B, in one straight line.
Our Masculine strengths are vehicles for manifestation: HOW our ideas, inspirations, dreams and desires are manifest in the world. Our Masculine Genius operates within what scientists call Newtonian Reality. (It is called “Newtonian” as a nod to Newton, the guy who got hit on the head by a falling apple, and thus articulated the laws of Gravity). In Newtonian reality, time and space operate linearly and reliably, cause comes before effect, and the chair you are sitting on while reading this is solid matter.
The metaphor I love for our Feminine Genius is a womb: it functions best by staying in one place (more or less) and attracting to it the raw ingredients it needs to create life itself. Our Feminine Genius gets us from point A to point B not in a straight line, but in a spiral, a series of spirals.
Our Feminine strengths are vehicles for inspiration: WHY we do what we do. Without being in communion with the meaning, the inspiration, the magic that our Feminine Genius is a wellspring of, we wither.
Our Feminine Genius operates within what scientists call Quantum Reality, wherein time and space are relative, effect can just as well come before cause, and the chair you are sitting on while reading this – just like all matter – is actually mostly empty space, not solid at all.
Our Feminine Genius moves with energy of creation and creativity itself; baby or business, born here. You can only find your purpose (aka mission, contribution, passion or your soul’s journey) via your Feminine Genius. Your Masculine Genius can then get in service of your Feminine, bringing it all into reality.
BH: Why do you say that we must balance our “masculine” and “feminine” strengths if we want to be inspiring, effective feminine leader?
LiYana: All human beings regardless of gender have Masculine and Feminine strengths within us. The issue is that as individuals, as a culture and definitely as women, we over-rely on our Masculine strengths and foster a deep mistrust and fear of our Feminine. We need access to both within us, and that often means learning and focusing on your Feminine Genius for a while, since it’s so maligned, marginalized, discounted and generally ignored.
If we do not learn to balance our Masculine and Feminine Genius, and if we do not learn to get our Masculine in reverent service of our Feminine, we burn out. The messenger dies before the message gets out. And the world needs your message, badly.
As I see it, being an inspiring, effective Feminine Leader requires two things:
Firstly, being utterly in love with the thing, the change, or the world that you see possible. Love what you love, relentlessly. Eventually, people notice your love, they notice you love THEM, and their concerns and their issues and their struggles. You want the change in the world that they want. They trust your love, and then they begin to follow you and care about what you have to say. That is how a true leader is created, not by setting out to be a Leader and studying up on Leadership 101. Better to study up on What You Love 101.
And secondly, an inspiring, effective feminine leader walks her talk. In fact what you teach and lead others through and to, becomes your own medicine. And to stay on your own growing edge and to keep refining and elevating your message, you must repeatedly (as my friend Eleanor says), burn in the fire of your own medicine. When you trust yourself and your own teachings in this way, you become trustworthy to other people.
It’s not always pretty; it can be pretty messy, actually. But I think the world is ripe for leaders that aren’t trying to be pretty, but instead are modeling true beauty.
BH: You use art in your business marketing. What role does art play in marketing for you, and how does it connect to “Feminine Genius?”
LiYana: In the last few years, after learning “the rules,” of sales, marketing, the online world of launches, product creation, social media and writing decent copy, I’ve come to the point of needing to consciously break those rules.
After several dark nights of the soul, I re-remembered that I am an artist first – in addition to my first career as a dancer, I also paint in oils and write poetry. But regardless of medium, even in coaching or writing or speaking, I am at my best wielding the principles of art, rather than the rules of business.
I’ve found the principles of art track pretty darn closely to the principles of a Feminine Genius as well. Here are a few:
- Go with what FEELS RIGHT over trying to GET IT RIGHT. I call this listening to your Feminine Genius. She speaks to all of us through our body and through our deepest desires.
I notice that folks resonate with and want to invest in what I’m offering more often (read: ONLY) when I toss trying to “get it right” and instead go with what “feels right,” when I’m making art sense, not good business sense.
I focus on the viewer/reader having a felt experience, on more showing than telling. What I’m offering – unlocking a woman’s Feminine Genius – is about bringing a woman’s intuition, emotions and somatic intelligence to life. So I aim to have my marketing, my words and my images speak to all of those parts. I need to touch the places in you that are moved by visual beauty; I need to ignite your linguistic receptors, your deepest heart, your wild knowing and you funny bone, as well as include the necessarily details for your rational brain to help say, “that’s for me!” or “no, thanks!”
I go for a layered experience, so you get meaning on a straightforward level as well as on a deeper more metaphoric level, somewhere between a meaningful dream and a moving art show. Let me know if I nailed it, in this example of a mARTketing video (marrying art and marketing) for my upcoming mentorship program, Woman: The Embodiment Experience, with filmmaker Julia Maryanska.
- Be devoted to that which is asking to be lived AS you and THROUGH you. It is your sacred responsibility to get your desires and passion into the world, in a way that juices you up rather than wears you out.
(Devotion is how the Feminine Genius does willpower, by the way.)
So, when I’m faced with a decision – to say yes or no to an interview, to choose this word or that word – I check, does this have me feel more turned on or less? More switched on and in love, or less?
- When you fall off your “walk your talk” wagon – because you will and in fact we are designed to – re-up your devotion to embodying and refining your message. People respond to the clear bell of truth, and you living yours. People respond when you are crazy mad in love with them and what is important to them.
In case you haven’t noticed in your own life and business, the grande Feminine Genius in the Sky likes to eat your “plans” for lunch.
My Feminine Genius likes to remind me often that my work is in service of my life, not the other way around. When I remember that I’m an “artist” first and a business woman second, the business stuff tends to work out way better than I could have planned for.
Turn On Your Feminine Genius
Lean how to get clear on what you want and how to turn on YOUR Feminine Genius! Visit LiYanaSilver.com for your “Turn On Your Feminine Genius” video training.