“You are too strong for a woman. Take it down a notch” he said.
When I heard this I was living in Fargo, ND and “he” was the Vice President of the board of directors of the organization I was leading at the time. Until that moment, I’ve never thought there were degrees of strength and women were allowed only a certain amount. Imagine my surprise!
Have you ever been told you are “too much…” of something or other as women often are? How did you handle it?
Well, how I handled it was not in alignment with who I am. What I did was to let it define me for longer than I care to admit. I am a naturalized Turkish-American. While living in Turkey, the degree of my strength as a woman was a non-issue. I was surrounded by strong women with powerful presence. However, living in the U.S., without the support of strong women, I felt I needed to “play” by the rules of my adopted country. So I conformed and tried to “bring it down a notch”.
But trying to be someone other than who I really was, took its toll on my professional and personal life. At work, I felt trapped in a high end prison of my own making. I was unintentionally sabotaging my success as a leader, feeling utterly lonely, completely unfulfilled, and questioning if this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
At home, I was either snapping at my husband out of nowhere or not really listening to him. I felt exhausted and going out on dates became a thing of the past. I started to use food to numb myself and my weight crept up.
I got to a point where I no longer recognized the woman looking back at me in the mirror every morning. I had lost “me”.
Stepping back, I realized that I had lost myself by trying to conform to a tired and outdated model of traditional leadership. And that, rather than taking it down a notch, my strength was exactly the foundation I needed to build a successful career and fulfilling life as a woman leader.
So, I started embracing my own unique leadership style and showing up unapologetically powerful and fearless. This resulted in the highest level of personal and professional success I had ever experienced.
Today, I work in an organization that I grew from a five figure to seven figure budget; from 5 employees to 17 employees. I am truly enjoying leading my organization, nurturing and mentoring the seventeen emerging women leaders I am privileged to lead.
In this process, I realized that I wasn’t the only leader who wanted to break free from a career she considered a high end prison of her own making.
So, if you are finding yourself nodding as you read my story and want to make this change yourself, I am here for you.
I know that challenging the status quo, going against the norm can be breathtakingly terrifying! But it doesn’t have to be. And the end result is so worth it. I have walked the journey. I can help you walk it too.
This is your time! Lead powerfully. Lead Fearlessly.
Nukhet Hendricks, originally from Turkey, has been calling the USA home since 1987 as a naturalized citizen. Nukhet holds a Master of Science degree in Public and Human Service Administration and has been a nonprofit executive for over 20 years in various leadership roles.
In addition to being a Woman’s Leadership Coach and Consultant, she is also the executive director of a local nonprofit that she grew from a low 6 figure to a 7 figure budget. She continues to grow the organization while mentoring the emerging women leaders whom she has the privilege to lead
She is a fiercely independent spiritual rebel and ocean lover with an unquenchable gypsy soul, always yearning for new frontiers!
She is also one of the co-authors of the books:
- Feminine Voices – True Stories by Women Transforming Leadership (Heal My Voice, Publisher)
- 365 Life Shifts (Jodi and Dan Chapman, Publisher)