Like any good doctor, I was indoctrinated early on in the masculine way to operate, not just in the operating room, but in the world.
Put your ass in the chair until it’s done.
Make it happen.
Go for it.
Put your nose to the grindstone.
No pain, no gain.
Cling to it if it feels like it’s slipping away.
If it’s not going well, try harder.
But for the love of God, never let ‘em see you sweat.
And for Pete’s sake, don’t stop and savor what you’ve achieved, because there’s a bigger goal right around the corner.
It’s a “successful” strategy if your goal is world domination via sheer might, ten thousand hours, the force of your will, noble levels of determination, and utter exhaustion. If you’re trying to build a business, write a book, achieve a vision, complete a project, or otherwise bring into form something that exists only in your mind, I can personally vouch for the effectiveness of the masculine approach.
Trust me. I know. I spent about three decades of my life operating in this masculine paradigm of “success.” And I’m here to tell you – it works. I aced medical school, became full partner in my medical practice, turned my art into a thriving business, and transformed my blog into a multi-six-figure business that helps many.
This way of operating in the world has been adaptive for me. I’m not sure I could have survived twelve years of medical education without it. But as Dr. Christiane Northrup said to me two years ago, this masculine way of operating, which once served us in medical school, will become our downfall if we don’t learn to operate in another, even more powerful way. In other words, Be Less Sperm, More Egg.
Ever since Dr. Northrup said this to me when I was in the midst of a back-breaking book tour for What’s Up Down There, the words have rung in my ears. What if, instead of pushing to make things happen – swimming upstream, trying harder, in essence, being spermy – what if I could let things come to me, sit back and trust, wait for the sperm to come to me – in essence, be eggy?
So began a two year quest to become more feminine in how I operate in the world.
In my beloved mastermind group, which includes Mike Robbins, Amy Ahlers, Steve Sisgold, and Christine Arylo, being spermy vs. eggy has become part of our discourse for both the men and the women. Although three of the five of us are women, all five of us have spent most of our lives operating in primarily masculine ways – quite successfully, I might add. But all five of us now believe there’s another, more trusting, more relaxed, more attractive, more faith-based, more grounded way to operate, and we’re all on a mission to become more eggy, not just in business, but in life.
To be eggy is to set goals but release attachment to outcomes, to surrender to what wants to happen, rather than pushing for what you will to happen. To be eggy is to put your desires out there without doing anything to bring them into being. Being eggy isn’t being lazy or lacking ambition; it’s simply trusting that when you move in the direction of joy, ease, peace, harmony, and love, the Universe, like an army of sperm, falls over itself trying to bring your desires into form.
Being eggy certainly isn’t hard – it’s quite soft, actually. But it’s not easy, because being eggy requires managing the anxiety that comes with not pushing and overworking. When you’re working your ass off, at least you can reassure yourself with the knowledge that you’re “doing everything you can.” When you’re being eggy, you might feel like a slacker, and that might freak you out, and then you might lose faith in the power of your eggyness- and then, paradoxically, being eggy doesn’t work.
Eggy requires faith. In her book Finding Your Way In A Wild New World, Martha Beck, my business partner in the Find Your Calling program, teaches that being eggy requires playing until you feel like resting and then resting until you feel like playing. According to Martha, who, as a Harvard PhD-turned bestselling author, knows how to be spermy with the best of us, the surest way to bring into form something your heart desires is to move doggedly in the direction of your joy.
The Dark Side Of The Masculine
Like I said, this masculine way of operating in the world can be highly effective. Ambition and hard work and the ten thousand hours it takes to master a skill can serve you quite well. Until it doesn’t anymore, when you realize that it’s time to stop striving because you’re already enough.
The problem with acting in this masculine way, unbalanced by the feminine, is that by working so hard that you exhaust yourself, you not only run the risk of making yourself sick; you also fail to leave room for mystery, for the Universe to work its magic, for the creation of something even greater than what you were trying to create, for the perfect sperm to find its way to you.
How Do You Operate?
I’ll be writing more about being eggy vs. being spermy in a five part series. The next blog post focuses on how all desires are not created equal and how being eggy is not the same as the “law of attraction” promoted by New Age gurus. So if this resonates with you and you’d like to learn more – or if you think this would help someone you know – make sure you’re signed up for my newsletter list.
How do you go about manifesting your dreams? Are you spermy? Eggy? Tell us your stories. If you’re more on the spermy side, what fears come up for you when you think about being eggy?
Egging you on,
Lissa Rankin, MD: Creator of the health and wellness communities LissaRankin.com and OwningPink.com, author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself (Hay House, 2013), TEDx speaker, and Health Care Evolutionary. Join her newsletter list for free guidance on healing yourself, and check her out on Twitter and Facebook.