How do you navigate between masculine and feminine energy with clients so it doesn’t create issues?

A client of mine asked me this question about the energy of working with clients: How do you navigate between masculine and feminine energy so that it doesn’t create issues?

She had observed, in my Counsel to Creativity brand, where I had integrated creativity and law, that the energy for creativity is feminine and the energy for legal agreements is masculine and that they felt very different. She had also experienced me in a business design intensive establishing structure and holding space for intuition and creativity simultaneously.

The client that my client had in front of her was “all about the bottom line” and my client’s process, while it produced bottom line results, was grounded in spirituality, creativity and personal growth—feminine approaches. She could feel a strong difference in her own energy and orientation when discussing process versus bottom line. One orientation was open and the other was focused, and she asked me if I could offer any insight on how to navigate those shifts, especially when she was trying to open the space, not close it down.

Here’s what I had to say by way of navigation:

“Yes, one is feminine and one is masculine and that is a very different energy. The first thing, I think, is to let that be okay. You need masculine energy and you need feminine energy in business and in the way that you move through and negotiate and do that dance with client relationships.

“Unfortunately, there’s a little bit of trial and error to navigate it with clients without issues; hopefully, we can get you around major issues. Most of the clients I have are concerned that sending the legal agreement will cause things to get stiff, to stagnate, or to raise issues about trust. If you’re working with businesses, however, this may not be the concern. I’ve seen the opposite too. For example, I have a change management consulting client for whom I reviewed a Wal-Mart contract, and there was no room for creativity or what we would call feminine energy there.

“You could be coming from either side of that, so the first question is, where are you coming from? From there, use what’s in front of you. Whatever the opening is in front of you, be present and aware to read that. Use that as your entry to do the work.

Sometimes our point of entry is not what we wish it would be. We might want our corporate client to be more feminine in the way that they go about their contract with us or the way that they go about their planning phase or the way that they go about the co-creation of the program; however, it’s like the Trojan Horse: you lead with what they want to hear about the masculine. This is going to get you the bottom line results: we’ll get this, we’ll get this and we’ll get this. And this is how—that’s where the feminine comes in, that’s where the process comes in. Then you go back to the masculine.

“It’s a sandwich: a masculine, feminine, masculine sandwich. Here’s the bottom line—this is what you want to achieve? That’s what we’re going to achieve—this is how, this is why that how is effective and then recap that the process has demonstrable results and those are exactly what you told me you want. If you have to massage them a little bit more, say, the languaging around some of this might be different than what you’re used to but even that process is going to challenge your people so that they can do this work and get these results; it’s going to push their boundaries enough to be able to be in the process. Use it; use what’s in front of you.

“Most of the time, I have to talk about this in the opposite way: I’ve got people who are trying to get their legal house in order and get agreements in place and the other people with whom they’re trying to enter into an agreement, are expressing worry that it undermines trust and they’re getting pushback from the feminine, the unbounded side, when they’re trying to get good practices and structure in place in their business. That’s a different conversation but it really comes down to the same thing, which is use what you’ve got. Enter where you’ve got them; use everything else in support of that and finish with that sandwich of what they wanted in the first place.

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