Posts

Are you flexible?

Claire Brummell, Feminine 1st, Are you flexibleAre you flexible?

Let’s be honest.  Sometimes you can set all the intentions in the world, but life just gets in the way.

The weather changes, other people throw in an unexpected curve ball, situations occur…it becomes very obvious that your original plans are going to be subject to change.

Would you call yourself flexible?

When these things happen we tend to have one of three choices.  We can try (inspite of the obvious indications that a change is in order) to stubbornly continue with our plans.  We can stomp our feet and shake our fists and generally throw our toys out of the pram…begrudgingly taking and alternative route.  Or we can take it as an opportunity…a doorway to possibility…and allow ourselves to bend and change with the new circumstances.

How flexible was I?

So on my last day on my previous trip to California, this is exactly what happened to me.  Plans were set, arrangements were made…and all of a sudden things seemed like they needed to change. So which choice did I take?  Watch the video now to see how…

…if I hadn’t been flexible I would have missed out on so much (and got very wet in the process!)

Could you be more flexible?

So take a moment this week to think about how flexible you are.  Could you be more flexible?  Could you see a change as an opportunity for something new that you hadn’t previously planned on?  …and what would this do for you, in your personal life, with your family, friends and even your work life if you tried this new approach?

As we all know, femininity is about being in flow…and flexibility is a big part of this. So give it a go…try a new way of looking at a change of plans…and try the flexible approach, you never know what you might find instead!

…and if you enjoyed the story then please take a moment share it to inspire others to remember to stay flexible too!

Stay Fabulous!

Claire x

So what IS feminine? What does it look like? Can you learn how to be feminine?

feminine

So…the question that everyone keeps asking me…what IS feminine?

What does being feminine look like? Well having established why femininity is important, in order to explain what it is, let’s start with what it isn’t. There are so many misperceptions about what the word feminine actually means, and I think it’s important that we address these up front.  Over the last couple of decades, the word feminine (unless referring to the latest Ralph Lauren line) hasn’t always been seen as the most flattering description for a woman.  This summer when Susan Walsh suggested that women “try on” femininity for a short while to see how it fitted, one woman remarked that she saw being described as the most feminine member of staff at her place of work insulting as she believed that feminine = weak and that it meant that she wasn’t being taken seriously.

Does Feminine = Weak?

So let’s start with weakness.  Feminine has about as much to do with weakness as Manolo Blahnik has to do with aubergines (cue lots of emails telling me he is an aubergine addict…).  In fact, a genuinely feminine woman is incredibly strong; feminine strength just presents itself in a different way to masculine strength.  Masculine strength comes from tension and contraction whereas feminine strength comes from flow and flexibility.  A feminine woman is a force of nature.

Does Feminine = Submission?

Another common misperception is that being feminine involves being submissive and appeasing people around you (especially men).  Again, nothing could be further from the truth.  It’s about being true to yourself, finding your inner strength and self respect and being proud of who you are inside.

Does Feminine = Pink and Fluffy?

I’ve also heard several women say that being feminine is about being girly, pink and fluffy, or replicating old-fashioned domesticity.  Every time I hear femininity described in this way, it is always followed up with a comment along the lines of “but that’s not who I am”.  Femininity comes from the inside out;  it’s not something that you ‘put on’ in order to give an appearance.  The time that a woman is truly feminine is when she’s being totally authentic.

So what does Feminine look like?

Femininity can take on many forms, because it is unique to the individual woman.  For example, when I’ve asked for examples of feminine women in the public eye, three women who regularly get mentioned are Kate Middleton (the newest member of the royal family), the actress Kate Winslet and Dita Von Teese.  I’m sure you would agree that the appearance and behaviour of each of these women are very different, and yet they are all viewed as feminine women…because each of them are being completely authentic from the inside out.

Now I wouldn’t want there to be any misunderstandings, I don’t believe that there’s anything wrong with being pink, girly or fluffy, if that’s who you genuinely are…but I wouldn’t want anyone to think that the route to femininity consists of dressing daily in a pink fluffy dress! 🙂

Being feminine is about being who you authentically are inside, plain and simple.

…and as such defining it in specific terms can be a little challenging, as being feminine looks slightly different for each individual woman.

However, there are some core aspects of femininity which are common to all feminine women.  They may appear to a greater or lesser extent from person to person, but they will all appear in some shape or form.

In order to make it nice and easy for us to remember these aspects (in case we decide that we would like to focus on developing any of them), I’ve pulled them together into a simple acronym.  It couldn’t be simpler…it’s about being F.E.M.I.N.I.N.E. first.

Flow – Being feminine is all about being open, and letting things flow.  The crucial element of this flow is that it is two-way; it is about giving AND receiving in equal measure.  If you can maintain an openness in your daily life, you will naturally feel more relaxed and feminine.

Emotionally connected – Women are natural relationship builders; we use our ability to connect emotionally with ourselves and others to develop genuine bonds with the people around us.  Our ability to express vulnerability, compassion and kindness are our biggest assets when it comes to connecting at an emotional level.  Emotion is such a crucial aspect of being feminine and as love is the most positive and powerful it is the best place to start, both with yourself and with others.  Love has managed to get itself a bit of a bad rap though…we’ve all heard sayings such as “Love Hurts” and “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”.  So when we talk about love it’s not the 21st century kind with all the rules, restrictions and pain associated with it.  We are talking about natural love, the kind that you have for your mother before you even know who she is.  Unconditional love…pure and simple.

Magic – I’m not referring to Harry Potter or David Copperfield here!  This is all about re-capturing the sense of magic from our childhood.  Being playful, childlike and having fun with life!  Most importantly…don’t take yourself too seriously!  Being feminine is about remembering the wonder that life held when you were a child and bringing that joy and ability to appreciate the little things into your everyday life.

Inspiring – Unlike some of our male counterparts, feminine women don’t have any inclination to use force or pressure to affect people around us…our core strength lies in being able to inspire, motivate and positively influence anyone we come into contact with.

Nurturing – Women are at their heart nurturers…but this doesn’t mean that we all need to have children, or spend our afternoons tending flowerbeds!  Our feminine nurturing nature can be applied in any area of life…it is about supporting and helping to inspire growth in both ourselves and those around us.

Intuition – Everyone has heard of female intuition – tales of it are legendary!  But it doesn’t have to take the form of some sort of supernatural ability…intuition can simply be a blend of awareness, knowledge and experience.  At times I’m sure that we’ve all had a gut instinct about something…often that we couldn’t actually explain or rationalise…it could be that we’re connecting with some sort of “higher ability” or it could just be your subconscious is aware of things that your conscious mind hasn’t noticed.  Either way…if it serves you and steers you in the right direction, then it’s got to be a good thing!

Natural – Femininity comes from a place of complete and total authenticity.  As a feminine woman it is about getting back to who you naturally are at your core…embracing and embodying it completely.  Being feminine is owning, honouring and celebrating the real you, from the heart…and sharing it with the world.  It’s not about looking, or acting a certain way or wearing certain things…it’s about being you, through and through, inside and out, and recognising how beautiful that is.  It’s really getting in touch with who you are inside…with your ‘essence’…and allowing that to radiate out.

Energy – Energy is where the spark is added to the mix.  This is where our sense of strength, passion and real power comes from.  A feminine woman is an absolute force of nature.  She doesn’t seek out power, or to prove herself like her male counterparts…and when she’s really in her element there is absolutely no need for either.  She can feel the flow of feminine power coursing through her…and every single person she meets can feel it too.

So there, as promised, is my definition of feminine.  It’s come as a result of researching lots of different sources…as well as from my own personal experience.

…and the question now is – what’s YOUR experience of being feminine?

I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts…

Stay fabulous!

Claire x

How flexible are you?

FlexibleOver the last few of weeks there has been a lot going on in the land of Claire.  Between long days of filming in London, travelling to see people for work, helping to look after my new baby nephew and getting things ready for an exciting launch (that will be taking place in the next few weeks!) things have been a bit manic.

Normally I write my blog posts and newsletters slightly ahead of time, so that on the day that things go out the maximum that I need to do is to make a couple of tweaks and then send it on it’s way.

With everything that’s been going on, today’s article had been half written, but still needed a bit of work to be ready…but the theme was set, the bulk of the content there, I just needed to finish it off before I could send it out.

This morning was insanely busy for me.  There were so many things that needed to be done…and in between working my way through the ever-increasing to-do list, I managed to find a couple of interesting challenges to add to the mix.

The high point had to be the moment that my shower decided to finally blow and spray water all over the bathroom…rather than on me!

By mid afternoon (after a couple of important meetings) I was painfully aware of how late in the day it was and how I still had to finish the article and get it sent out.

I finally sat down to work on it, and I discovered a problem.

You see, this afternoon I have spent over an hour trying to get the article right in order to get the article out, when it would normally have taken less than half that time….and I wasn’t even close to a final version.

The challenge has been that between the time that I wrote the first draft and today, some major things have happened in the lives of people who I care about that mean that the subject is very sensitive right now.

Today’s article was supposed to be about leaving a legacy….and sharing the very important and touching legacies that two friends who I lost many years ago, long before their time, left with me.

But in the last week, some dear friends have learned that someone very close to them is deteriorating very rapidly in heath, and an amazing man who I (and a lot of people very close to me) hold in very high regard has lost his only son in sudden and tragic circumstances.

It didn’t matter how I tried to re-word, adapt, alter or change the text that I had written, it didn’t feel right any more.

I tried different approaches, telling different stories, finding new ways to explain and share the message.

Nothing was working.

The more I tried to make it work, the more acutely aware of the feelings of these dear friends I became, and the more upsetting the process of writing the article was becoming.

I’d got so caught up in the fact that I hadn’t got another piece ready, that I had a limited amount of time today and that I’d already written the majority of the article that I wasn’t listening to my instincts.

My intuition was telling me, loud and clear, that this wasn’t the right time for this piece…and when I stepped back from trying to ‘make it work’ long enough to see that, it became obvious what the answer was.

The second I realised what I was doing, I saved the article, opened up a fresh window and began to type a new piece from scratch.

Now, I promise at some point in the not so distant future, when the time is right, I will finish the article I planned for today…but for now, I’m listening to my intuition and switching themes.

Because today was a lesson for me in staying present to my intuition (regardless of the circumstances) and on being flexible and changing the approach at a moment’s notice if it feels right to do so.

This article has only taken a fraction of the time that I’d already spent trying to make the other one work for today.

It has flowed so easily, and it feels right to be sharing it.

So today I would like to invite you to ask yourself…how flexible are you?

If time didn’t appear to be on your side and you were up against a deadline, would you start again from scratch if your instincts told you to do so?

As feminine women, staying in flow and listening to our instincts are crucial, in business and in life….and when something is emotionally charged it’s even more important to feel what is right.

So the next time your intuition steps in…listen.

You might be surprised where it leads you.

Stay Fabulous,

Claire x

P.S. If you are a single woman, I have a little gift for you….I am running some free webinars on “Femininity for the Single Woman” in the coming weeks…click here for all the details: http://feminine1st.com/free-webinar-ffsw/

The $64,000 Question…What IS Femininity?

female symbol

So…the question that everyone keeps asking me…what IS femininity?

Well having established why femininity is important, in order to explain what it is, let’s start with what it isn’t, there are so many misperceptions about what the word femininity actually means, and I think it’s important that we address these up front.  Over the last couple of decades, the word feminine (unless referring to the latest Ralph Lauren line) hasn’t always been seen as the most flattering description for a woman.  This summer when Susan Walsh suggested that women “try on” femininity for a short while to see how it fitted, one woman remarked that she saw being described as the most feminine member of staff at her place of work insulting as she believed that feminine = weak and that it meant that she wasn’t being taken seriously.

Does Femininity = Weakness?

So let’s start with weakness.  Femininity has about as much to do with weakness as Manolo Blahnik has to do with aubergines (cue lots of emails telling me he is an aubergine addict…).  In fact, a genuinely feminine woman is incredibly strong; feminine strength just presents itself in a different way to masculine strength.  Masculine strength comes from tension and contraction whereas feminine strength comes from flow and flexibility.  A feminine woman is a force of nature.

Does Femininity = Submissive?

Another common misperception is that it involves being submissive and appeasing people around you (especially men).  Again, nothing could be further from the truth.  It’s about being true to yourself, finding your inner strength and self respect and being proud of who you are inside.

Does Femininity = Pink and Fluffy?

I’ve also heard several women say that femininity is about being girly, pink and fluffy, or replicating old-fashioned domesticity.  Every time I hear femininity described in this way, it is always followed up with a comment along the lines of “but that’s not who I am”.  Femininity comes from the inside out;  it’s not something that you ‘put on’ in order to give an appearance.  The time that a woman is truly feminine is when she’s being totally authentic.

So what does Femininity equate to?

Femininity can take on many forms, because it is unique to the individual woman.  For example, when I’ve asked for examples of feminine women in the public eye, three women who regularly get mentioned are Kate Middleton (the newest member of the royal family), the actress Kate Winslet and Dita Von Teese.  I’m sure you would agree that the appearance and behaviour of each of these women are very different, and yet they are all viewed as feminine women…because each of them are being completely authentic from the inside out.

Now I wouldn’t want there to be any misunderstandings, I don’t believe that there’s anything wrong with being pink, girly or fluffy, if that’s who you genuinely are…but I wouldn’t want anyone to think that the route to femininity consists of dressing daily in a pink fluffy dress! 🙂

Femininity is about being who you authentically are inside, plain and simple.

…and as such defining it in specific terms can be a little challenging, as femininity is slightly different for each individual woman.

However, there are some core aspects of femininity which are common to all feminine women.  They may appear to a greater or lesser extent from person to person, but they will all appear in some shape or form.

In order to make it nice and easy for us to remember these aspects (in case we decide that we would like to focus on developing any of them), I’ve pulled them together into a simple acronym.  It couldn’t be simpler…it’s about being F.E.M.I.N.I.N.E. first.

Flow – Femininity is all about being open, and letting things flow.  The crucial element of this flow is that it is two-way; it is about giving AND receiving in equal measure.  If you can maintain an openness in your daily life, you will naturally feel more relaxed and feminine.

Emotionally connected – Women are natural relationship builders; we use our ability to connect emotionally with ourselves and others to develop genuine bonds with the people around us.  Our ability to express vulnerability, compassion and kindness are our biggest assets when it comes to connecting at an emotional level.  Emotion is such a crucial aspect of femininity and as love is the most positive and powerful it is the best place to start, both with yourself and with others.  Love has managed to get itself a bit of a bad rap though…we’ve all heard sayings such as “Love Hurts” and “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”.  So when we talk about love it’s not the 21st century kind with all the rules, restrictions and pain associated with it.  We are talking about natural love, the kind that you have for your mother before you even know who she is.  Unconditional love…pure and simple.

Magic – I’m not referring to Harry Potter or David Copperfield here!  This is all about re-capturing the sense of magic from our childhood.  Being playful, childlike and having fun with life!  Most importantly…don’t take yourself too seriously!  Remembering the wonder that life held when you were a child and bringing that joy and ability to appreciate the little things into your everyday life.

Inspiring – Unlike some of our male counterparts, feminine women don’t have any inclination to use force or pressure to affect people around us…our core strength lies in being able to inspire, motivate and positively influence anyone we come into contact with.

Nurturing – Women are at their heart nurturers…but this doesn’t mean that we all need to have children, or spend our afternoons tending flowerbeds!  Our nurturing nature can be applied in any area of life…it is about supporting and helping to inspire growth in both ourselves and those around us.

Intuition – Everyone has heard of female intuition – tales of it are legendary!  But it doesn’t have to take the form of some sort of supernatural ability…intuition can simply be a blend of awareness, knowledge and experience.  At times I’m sure that we’ve all had a gut instinct about something…often that we couldn’t actually explain or rationalise…it could be that we’re connecting with some sort of “higher ability” or it could just be your subconscious is aware of things that your conscious mind hasn’t noticed.  Either way…if it serves you and steers you in the right direction, then it’s got to be a good thing!

Natural – Femininity comes from a place of complete and total authenticity.  As a feminine woman it is about getting back to who you naturally are at your core…embracing and embodying it completely.  Being feminine is owning, honouring and celebrating the real you, from the heart…and sharing it with the world.  It’s not about looking, or acting a certain way or wearing certain things…it’s about being you, through and through, inside and out, and recognising how beautiful that is.  It’s really getting in touch with who you are inside…with your ‘essence’…and allowing that to radiate out.

Energy – Energy is where the spark is added to the mix.  This is where our sense of strength, passion and real power comes from.  A feminine woman is an absolute force of nature.  She doesn’t seek out power, or to prove herself like her male counterparts…and when she’s really in her element there is absolutely no need for either.  She can feel the flow of feminine power coursing through her…and every single person she meets can feel it too.

So there, as promised, is my definition of femininity.  It’s come as a result of researching lots of different sources…as well as from my own personal experience.

…and the question now is – what’s YOUR experience of femininity?

I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts…

Stay fabulous!

Claire x