Embracing the Feminine: A Story of Identity, Self-Discovery, and Finding Strength in Our Softness
My story starts at a young age: I was a first-born girl, first-generation American born to immigrant parents, raised in one of the most liberal cities in the world in a family dedicated to upholding traditional Armenian values. My formative years were spent reading books, practicing piano, being studious, and the all-around “good girl.” Obedient and quiet, I learned not to make a lot of noise and stayed in the shadows as my vivacious sister took to the spotlight.
By the time I was 17, I felt a strong conflict growing inside of me—a push and pull between my parents’ dreams and goals for my future, and what I wanted for myself. The problem was, I didn’t know who I was at my core. I was so busy accommodating others and playing nice that I didn’t even have a voice. This struggle of truly grasping my identity continued well into my twenties, but not without a period of rebellion, moving to the other extreme of finding fierce independence, a lot of partying, and pushing the boundaries of what was acceptable and expected of me.
By my mid-twenties, my life on paper looked pretty impressive. I owned a condo in Silicon Valley, worked at a high-profile tech company that took me traveling around the country, and I had a great group of friends. But underneath the surface something else was bubbling—a feeling of emptiness, sadness, and most of all, a lack of self-esteem and confidence. When I finally stopped to ask myself if I really felt fulfilled, the answer came up a resounding NO. Even though I had achieved more than most of my peers in my age group, I wasn’t happy.
The turning point came when I decided to discover what was going to make me truly happy. I set out a clear intention—to find what would bring me a sense of fulfillment and purpose. I began by assessing my career. Even though I had been successful up to that point, I knew deep down inside that I wanted to make a bigger impact in the world. So I began the journey of letting go of what I was “supposed to do” and began following what I really wanted to do.
After two years of searching, I stumbled upon a new profession called life coaching. After my first fundamentals class at the Coaches Training Institute in San Rafael, CA, I was hooked. I felt alive for the first time in years. Coaching was the perfect use of my gifts and talents, and it was a tool to help others in their own self-discovery. I dropped everything and began pursuing my training seriously; I completed my accreditation, as well as a year-long leadership program that shook me to my core and left me more confident, less fearful, and more sure of what I wanted and who I was in the world.
Throughout this process, I committed myself to self-growth and personal development, challenging my inner beliefs, and shattering the doubts and fears I had about myself and my perceived path in life. It was the best investment I ever made in myself. And it led me to discover that my strength was in my softness.
Embracing my feminine strengths of vulnerability, self-care, intuition, and empathy helped me discover myself in ways I never knew possible. When I opened up to the unknown, surrendering myself to the vastness of possibility, I let go of control and began to trust what the universe had in store for me. This process provided an opportunity for me to discover who I was, learn to trust myself, and eventually find my voice. The experience of softening was so powerful I decided that it was something I wanted to share with other women.
Eventually I left the corporate world and started Highest Path Consulting, an international executive coaching and training company dedicated to developing 21st-century leaders. I discovered my passion was helping other women in business discover their true power by embracing their feminine qualities, which had enabled me to become a more authentic and effective leader in business as well as in my personal life.
My journey took me around the globe, and through embracing my feminine, I’ve had the adventure of a lifetime—I’ve lived in Italy, worked internationally, and married the love of my life. More recently, I decided to share all this learning in my new book, Leading Gracefully: A Woman’s Guide to Confident, Authentic & Effective Leadership, which offers a new leadership roadmap for women to embrace their feminine strengths so they, too, can lead with more authenticity and confidence—and by doing so, they will help close the gender gap.
My vision: A world where women’s voices can make a difference and are represented in the positions of influence that matter most. I invite you to join me in that vision through embracing your true feminine power and leadership.