Consistency and Constancy: The Feminine Difference

One of my biggest, most irritating bugbears is the indifferent ignore-ance of the feminine.

This became most stark for me when I first got riled up about the use of the generic masculine – using the male pronoun (he, him) and the collective noun, (man, mankind) – to selectively include women. Sometimes it did, and most times it didn’t. So we find ourselves having to do a mental double-step to make instant decisions about whether the words are intended and relevant for us or not.

As a young woman of the eighties, feminist works were popular reading in personal development genre, and the generic masculine was strongly being taken to task.

It’s still an issue, predominantly by male writers, who can’t imagine that women think, feel, or ideally act any differently to them, well, maybe not as good as them, so perhaps to a lesser degree.

It wasn’t until the nineties that many medical tests even included female subjects in population samples. Even lab rats, which apparently used castrated male rats in place of females. Because hormones would confound results.

Anyway … as we see women increasingly moving into the traditional masculine area of business, again, very little organised investigation has occurred into exploring feminine differences in how we do business. Yes, there is research to show advantages that women employees and executives bring to the masculine business paradigm.

Because we don’t even question that it IS a masculine paradigm. For the most part, we just don’t see it, so women adapt themselves to what they believe is the generic human arena, as careerists, and increasingly, as business owners.

Women in business burn themselves out emulating male business priorities, male business agendas, male business values and male business sales & marketing techniques.

Even the leading female business teachers tend to paint a pink gloss – sometimes with a spiritual sparkle – over traditional masculine business advice.

And I will be deconstructing these masculine business assumptions progressively and exploring their suitability for women seeking to retain authentic feminine being while running profitable businesses.

Business is also one of those arenas where a small group of individuals have imposed their version of reality upon the rest of us. Why do we let them, when it’s abundantly clear that these models aren’t working, when you see the massive failure rates of businesses generally?

A shakeup is well overdue, and where better to start than with a fresh feminine perspective?

Keep in mind that business, in the traditional masculine sense, is considered militaristically. It is fiercely competitive in its language, and thus, in its mindset. We see this in a lot of copywriting … killer, conquer, crush, annihilate, etc, ad nauseum. So there is a certain presumption of what type of persona is required in order to be a victor in the battlefield of business.

One of the hoary pieces of advice that is reinforced again and again is that of consistency.

Which business owner amongst us has not been lectured about the importance of consistency to the success of our endeavours.

But what does that actually mean … consistency? Well, it’s usually given the masculine interpretation … showing up even when your heart would rather be elsewhere. Soldiers have to show up to fight another day, regardless.

And women, frankly, have a hard time with this. It goes against our grain. We are not designed for such consistency of persona. It’s something to do with hormones and something to do with feminine consciousness which has a totally different agenda and energetic.

It’s helpful to look at the etymology of both words … Constant vs consistent. explains:

Constant is an adjective that describes something or someone as unchanging, loyal, or happening all the time. The adverb form is constantly. The noun form is constancy.

It comes from the Latin constare, which means to stand.

Consistent is also an adjective. It describes something or someone as continuing to happen, continuing to behave in the same manner, or continuing to have the same quality with each use. The adverb form is consistently. The noun form is consistency.

It comes from the Latin consistere, which oddly means to stop or stand still.

The Latin word sistere is similar to stare. So these words have been close cousins since the sixteenth century, but never the same word.

In short, something is constant if it does not stop, though it may vary. Consistent things may start and stop, but do not vary.

That last paragraph is important … Constancy doesn’t stop although it may vary. Consistency can stop and start but doesn’t vary.

For me, I sense that constancy has a mother energy and consistency has a father energy.

It may seem like nitpicking, but it makes a world of difference to women in business. It’s made a world of difference to me in how I approach these daily notes for example.

When I considered the advice about being in consistent communication with my audience, it felt choreful. Many, if not most, women feel the same way. It has the vibe of an onerous duty, an obligation, somewhat noblesse oblige. And we, not surprisingly, resist this, especially when we have come into the business arena in the first place, to express a heart-centred vocation.

But by choosing the energy of constancy … this has allowed me to relax and feel more generous. Perhaps like how a mother might feel when looking after her family. Yes, cooking and cleaning every day, so an attitude of resistance would just makes it harder for ourselves. Surrendering into it, and even spicing it up with the energy of caring, might even make it a joyful experience. It’s all done with a backdrop of love.

This position of constancy over consistency has made it easy for me to surrender to the idea of daily contact with my audience. Each day, I open my soul and share a piece of my message that wants to connect with the larger world. It’s an organic process, and a labour of love.

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