The 9 Skills Every Woman Should Master - Christine Kane

There’s a popular Esquire Magazine article called The 75 Skills Every Man Should Master.  It’s fun in a predictable sort of way. And of course, there’s stuff about baseball, and tying neckties, and other things that most of the extraordinary men in my life could care the least about.

It got me thinking about the happiest, coolest, most successful women I know.  And how they would take the question of mastery about 40,000 leagues deeper than neckties and baseball.

In fact, it dawned on me that the burning desire beneath my outward goals is almost always the mastery of one of the following skills.  The goals themselves – be they money, fitness, accomplishment, etc – are really the means to becoming a student of something much much cooler.

So, here are 9 Skills Every Woman Might Want to Master.  (I don’t like the word “should!”)

1 – Reveling in your own preferences.

This is the key to the authenticity so many of us crave.

Learning to revel in your own preferences is about taking the time to notice your engagement and enjoyment, trying new activities and experiences, and honoring yourself enough to make time for them.  (No matter how stupid they seem.)

We block our awareness of our own preferences when we look around to see if we’re “doin’ it right,” or when we get so lost in “duty” and “busyness” that we don’t mine our own deep delights.  Reveling in our own preferences means that life is ever changing and that a new discovery awaits around every turn – and it also means that you might not choose things women are often “expected” to choose.

2 – Listening without judgment.

I’m convinced that all suffering comes from judgment.  Not just self-judgment. But ALL judgment.

That being said, many people think that “listening” means “waiting their turn to talk.”  Which means that much of our time is not spent actually listening.  It is spent judging what’s being said.

Learning how to truly listen without judgment – whether to another person or to yourself – changes lives.  It awakens the intuition.  It heals and empowers the speaker.  And it enriches the present moment.  (And yes, that includes listening to someone who holds differing political beliefs!)

3 – Discerning “Nurture” from “Distract.”

Many of us lead exciting, challenging and sometimes stressful lives.  We are often serving many people – including children, clients, parents, friends, and co-workers. Our self-care is of great importance if we are to be of true service in the world.

There’s a huge difference, however, between nurturing ourselves with what we truly want and need – and distracting ourselves in order to stuff the stress or fill the time. Learning that difference, and honoring our true needs (ie, getting a massage vs. eating a sleeve of Oreos in one sitting) is an awareness that will serve you for a lifetime.

4 – Letting go of the need to “fix.”

Most of us know that when we try to fix another person, we rob them of their own empowerment. (And often, our “fixes” are more for US than for them.)  Allowing others to find their own wisdom, to make mistakes and to be exactly where they are on their path teaches us to accept the present moment as well as the mystery.  It also teaches us that we are not the ultimate deciders of what is right and wrong!

5 – Becoming an Imperfectionist.

Having a purpose, taking action, trying new things – all of these contribute to our deep satisfaction and joy.  When we expect ourselves to be perfect before trying new things, we cut off so many avenues to happiness.

So, becoming an imperfectionist is a requirement for a successful life.  When you become an Imperfectionist, you finally recognize your ego voice exactly for what it is:  Your own personal Success Prevention Expert.

6 – Getting Out of the Comfort Zone.

Our growth and success are often proportional to how many risks we’re willing to take and how often we’re willing to let ourselves be uncomfortable.  We kid ourselves (and our souls) when we convince ourselves to play it safe.

Getting out of the comfort zone doesn’t always mean extreme sports or stepping onto a stage. Sometimes it can be as seemingly small as saying no – or trying a yoga class.

7 – Saying No with Clarity (and without Explaining).

Learning to say no is actually more about learning to say yes.

When we say no to something we don’t want to do, or be, or have – we are actually saying Yes to our deeper desires.  Many women don’t believe they can have what they truly want, so they learn to settle, and their lives become filled with “maybe’s.”

Some of the biggest a-ha’s I see in my coaching practice come when women realize that saying no – with clarity and without explaining – is really about honoring other people as well as themselves.

8 – Allowing people to be disappointed in your choices.

And of course, when we say no, or when we follow our dreams or true callings – there will be people who are “disappointed” in our choices.

Life is not a campaign. We don’t have to get votes. (Thank God!)  People can love us and still feel disappointed that we didn’t do it their way.   Too many women go on campaign trails to get others to agree with them before they take proactive steps.  This only serves to rob them of the creative energy they need in order to move forward in their choices.

Allowing people their disappointment sets us free.

9 – Re-Deciding

Half the fun of setting intentions or goals is seeing what comes up to be healed or released in the “becoming” that is required to meet that goal.  (Okay, so “fun” might be stretching it a bit!)

In other words?  In order to reach the goal or manifest the intention, we master the practice of Re-deciding.

Re-deciding means making the decision over and over again that you are creating the outcome you desire – even if you can’t see it in front of you right now.  Many of us set the goal or intention – and then give up if it doesn’t manifest in a week or a month.  Re-deciding means getting back in alignment with our goals as many times as it takes.

  • Jessica

    Wow. I am so glad I read this today. Absolutely true and powerful words of wisdom. I had to write them down to display on my fridge so I can be reminded daily. Thank you so much.

  • Valda

    Your website and articles have come to me at a time when I am trying not to live a reactionary only life.. My DH is a reactor and I like to create. So does he, but is so programmed to react.

    Oh, I am breathing a sigh of relief…..thank you. I’ll be reading with earnest.

  • Sherrie St. Cyr

    Excellent list. I would add the ability to forgive freely when others disappoint us.

  • Christine Kane

    Sabine – Here’s my thing with the “fixing” issue.

    I don’t want to be fixed – but when i’m really hurting, I love to be reminded of my strengths, my accomplishments – and my ability to find a solution. Being “fixed” is more like when – back when I had hard moments in my music career – my mom would tell me to go find a job in the tourism industry. (No, I’m not kidding. She really did this.)

    But the truth is – the reason I listed it as a skill to master is because the best thing we can do when someone else is hurting is to be the voice of REMINDING them of their abilities and their strengths, and helping them create a solution. NOT – as so many people do – try to “get them” to do what you want them to do so that YOU will feel more comfortable. (like my mom – who, no matter how much success I would ultimately achieve as I kept moving forward in my career – just wanted me to get a job and be “secure.”)

    When we “fix,” it’s about our agenda. When we allow, support, and encourage – it’s letting the other person be on their path, even if it’s uncomfortable to witness at times. (This is THE hardest part about being a coach, btw!)

    Make sense?

  • Sam

    You are on the right track wanting people to offer insights, avenues to explore, things to consider. My experience has been more on the “you should do this’ side of things, and I find that most unhelpful when things are not going well. I think there is a difference in offering ideas, which you want, and offering advice., which I was given!

  • LisaLarter

    Hey Christine! Here is my list of Nine Skills, love to hear your thoughts!

  • LisaLarter

    Katt I just read your comment, change a tire is awesome! I am making my own list on my blog right now, I will definitely add that one….however, the princess in me would say use my cell phone to call some guy to do it instead!

  • Sabine

    Re #4. Unlike “most” women (looking at the comment already here), I DO want someone to offer solutions when I am in a bad place. Learning to be solution-oriented has enhanced my life. During really tough times earlier in my life, I longed for someone to offer me insight into what may be going on — or to offer a possible solution. No one did (I guess they were being polite?). I felt very isolated and spent a long time floundering. These days, if I practice the Golden Rule, then I would do to others — offer them possible things to consider, avenues to explore — as I would want them to do for me. But I am reading here that that comes across as trying to fix people. Help me understand the diff.

  • Diane

    Lovely post Christine! It’s okay for others to be disappointed with my choices was a great one! I need to tattoo on my forehead “Not looking for votes.” 🙂

  • Sam

    Hmmmm #4… The need to ‘fix”. There have been several times when I have confided with my husband about emotional things happening in my life, and for a long time, all he wanted to do was “fix” it for me, when all I really wanted was for him to just LISTEN, and then hold me.
    I have observed that when men discuss a problem, one of them offers advice to fix it. And then they are both very happy with themsellves. It is so different with women! We just want someone to listen, REALLY listen, hold our hand, pray with us, hug us, cry with us, or show us a funny side of the whole thing and make us laugh uncontrollably! My husband, for the most part, gets it now, and is able to just be there for me! I believe that most of the time we can ‘fix’ things on our own if we have the support of those dearest to us!

  • amygrimes

    Discerning “nurture” from “distract” – so very true and exactly what I’m attempting to convey to my peeps right now (as well as remind myself daily). So beautifully said!

  • Christine Kane

    Thanks Everyone! (And, uh, Lisa — I’ve made it pretty far without the whole “Excel spreadsheet” bit — but okay, okay – i’ll let you have it. 🙂 ) If you have a blog – i’d love to see similar posts about this! (And if tying neckties is on the list, well, then that’s just awesome too!)

  • Debbie Lattuga

    I want to add to Lisa and Katt’s list. Know how to use a sewing machine. Putting together the coolest Halloween costume and making simple hems and repairs are great tools in your arsenal.

    That and having a firm, confident handshake… priceless.

  • Shannon O | Confessions of a Loving Wife

    Thanks so much for this list, it really hit home with me. Right now I am working on letting go of the need to “fix” – also known as loving detachment… not an easy thing, but I’m working on it.

  • Susan Atwell

    Thank you for this! I am meeting with my “womens creative empowerment group”( all 4 of us!) tomorrow and I am going to print this and hand it out! AWESOMESAUCE!!!!!!!

  • Katt

    Can I add to Lisa’s list? Change a tire. Yes, I know and use cell phones and Triple A, but when it’s pouring rain, you are late to get a crying 6 year old to her dance recital and your minivan gets a flat, being able to change it on your own it a miracle! One of the four best things the Army ever taught me. The others being all the medical training, being able to disarm a weapon and having a command voice. The voice thing was very helpful as a parent, and I’ve used it in the work world occasionally too! 😉

  • rachel

    fantastic! I especially love “re-deciding” and “saying no”…such basic skills, so hard to master!

  • Laura

    Fantastic list! #1 is one of the great lessons you have taught me — and now I revel in putting hot sauce on my pizza and scrambled eggs. It’s a preference I relish and no longer worry if it’s socially-acceptable!

  • Joy Tanksley

    I LOVE EVERY SUGGESTION SO MUCH! I will be linking my blog readers to this article for sure. ”

    Discerning nurture from distraciont” is so important and you articulated the difference beautifully. In my old dieting/struggling with my weight days, I would do things like take a walk or fix a cup or tea or take a bubble bath only because I was distracting myself from my hunger. I would label those things “self-care” but they were really just the opposite. Once I learned the difference, it was hugely healing. Now, if I’m hungry, I eat. That’s self-care.

  • Riley Roam

    Thank you for a wonderful post! Living authentically is my mantra these days and your posts have been a great help. I also appreciated the link about the “selfishness” of not having kids. I work with kids and people are constantly shocked (and seem to take it personally or as some deep character flaw) that I don’t have my own.

  • Tracy Stewart

    What a great post. My only reservation is that only women would benefit from these skills. Pretty much everyone that I know (especially myself) could use a dose of most of these. Thanks for another morning’s inspiration.

  • LisaLarter

    I need to add a few here that I think are key! Forgive me for sounding frivolous, these are four I think are important too!
    1. Drive a standard car – you never know when you are going to need to do this and not knowing how should not be an option.
    2. Read a map – my dad taught me this as a little kid and although GPS technology has changed the way we use maps, I still think this is a great life skill to have.
    3. Use excel – I know who cares about this program? you should. It is one of those programs that is incredibly useful to know how to use and investing in a one day class at a local college will teach you the basics you need to get through life. At some point, someone will ask you – do you know how to use excel – be able to say YES!
    4. Balance a bank statement – enough of women ending up divorced without a clue about their finances. Learn how to balance a bank statement and what all those numbers mean so you are powerful about taking care of your money – with or without him.

  • Vrinda

    Perfect timing, yet again!
    Thank you for this little refresher, just when I was needing it.

    I’m now off to re-decide my plans, revel in my preferences, take a walk outside my comfort zone; all while most likely disappointing those around me of course.

  • Katie

    I really love this, and what’s more, it’s perfect for some issues my friend has been having. I’m printing it out so I can give it to her. Hopefully your beautiful words can bring her a boost! Thank you so much for this article. It’s truly inspired by God, and I am so grateful to you. ^_^