Lean Back: The New Frontier for Women


Lean Back: The New Frontier for Women

A Radical Conversation and Workshop with Wendy Capland and Kelly Sullivan Walden

The Dalai Lama said, “The world will be saved by the western woman."

Ever wonder why he said that?

Many people interpret the reason the Dalia Lama said this is because we western women are in a prime position to make a difference in the world. Why? Because we are more privileged, empowered, educated, and globally oriented than ever before, and therefore, have resources and power beyond what women have had at any other time in history.

We as women are in a prime position to make a difference. We as women tend to consider a broader expansive perspective which includes the whole well-being of our families, communities, and the world in which we live and not just ROI, P&L statements or conquering and acquiring more.  We, as women, aren’t looking out just for ourselves. We are naturally guided by our deep knowing that, “As one is lifted, all are lifted.” and if our families are to thrive, then we have to do our part to ensure they grow up in a world they can thrive in.

But, did you read the fine print?

If you read the fine print beneath the Dalai Lama’s prophetic statement, you’d see this caveat:

“By the way, I mean awake western women will save the world…not the sleep-walking zombies so harried, stressed out, overly adrenalized, running on fumes, often numb, on drive/strive mode, and leaning in so far they are toppling over from exhaustion, that they accidently brush their teeth with Bengay in the morning and don’t even notice.
By awake western women who will change the world, I mean the ones who command attention, not demand it. These are the women, who know how to access their inner power, find their voice, speak with gravitas, and take their seat at the table they are intuitively guided to join.
By awake western women, I mean women who will change the world because they are poised, elegant, graceful, spiritually connected, and quietly and powerfully centered. These women are like martial arts masters, who, when the shi*# hits the fan, know the solution comes from first taking a deep breath, leaning back, and allowing the best solutions to arise without getting triggered, wreaking havoc around them, or creating drama as a first reaction.
By awake western women, I mean women who will set a new world order in motion as those around them stop, take notice, and listen.”

Yes it’s true, we’re interpreting here. But if we could ask the Dalai Lama what he really meant, we’d bet our entire collection of self-help books (and there's mountains of them) this is what he’d say. And we’d agree because we feel the #TimeIsNow to step into the new frontier of women’s leadership and self-empowerment though learning a new way, to Lean Back.

A new frontier is calling you!  

Are you listening?

We stand today on the shoulders of so many courageous women who came before us and forged a powerful path.  So many we could name, Norma Rae, Rosa Parks, Gloria Steinem, Hilary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey and so many more. What we’ve learned from these women is that there are times we must lean In, like Sheryl Sandberg’s bestseller book suggests. And at other times, in order to create what we most care about with sustainable relationships and results, we must Lean Back.

Here’s what we believe:

  • We can’t exhale all day long, … at some point we need to inhale.

  • We can’t be so busy executing projects, to-do lists, goals and projects all day long…we need space in our day to think, process ideas, and generate solutions.

  • We can’t constantly give, give, give … at some point we must learn to receive, receive, receive.

  • We can’t only have our gears in drive/strive mode…at some point we have to shift to quiet and reflective chill mode.

  • We can’t be the CEO of the universe controlling all things…at some point we need to let go and let our intuition lead us, as we recognize going with Universal flow and rhythm is far more effective, healthier and sustainable (not to mention, a lot more fun!).

…if you want to be one of the western women who change the world, that is!

But, most of us don’t know how to switch gears. We’ve become race-cars in drive/strive/execute lean in mode for so long that we don’t know how do downshift even on weekends, holidays, and vacations. Most of us find we are stuck in turbo mode and don’t know how to find auto-pilot so we can enjoy the scenery. And if we pulled over on the side of the road (which we are terrified to do) to think this through, we would realize this is not the life we signed up for…and it’s certainly not the best use of us.

So, what do we do?


ANNOUNCING LEAN BACK! (cue the trumpets)

Kelly and I were inspired at last year’s Women’s Leadership Retreat and had an aha moment that has changed our lives forever and we hope will change yours as well.  Kelly observed Wendy leaning forward in her seat to manage something (or several hundred details that needed managing), and then suddenly, as if in slow motion, Wendy decidedly leaned back in her chair, took a deep belly breath and said calmly,

“As unnatural as this feels, I’m going to apply what I learned in our Breaking Your Own Glass Ceiling workshop, and I’m going to deliberately use the archetype of the Queen to resolve this issue.”

To that Kelly blurted out loud (as she is often prone to do),

“Lean Back…that’s what you are doing…when you’re being the Queen, you’re leaning back…and that way of thinking, being and speaking gets everything handled in a new and powerful way…this is brilliant…OMG, I think this is the new frontier!”

In one bat of an eyelash, that one, simple, physical gesture that went from leaning in to leaning back set a new world in motion…and we have been exploring, creating, and writing about this ever since.

Cut to present day, we all find ourselves, thankfully, in the midst of the #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns, and we collectively feel more emboldened and inspired than ever. Now, all our lean in work has paid off because the world is finally listening to women as we come forward to tell our stories.

We believe the #TimeIsNow because we have the spotlight on us, created for us by these movements, to learn how to Lean Back with quiet power that moves mountains, led by our values and emanating from our hearts, that causes others to stop, listen deeply, and act on what we have to say. (As we collectively sigh with relief.)


Join us in a radical conversation and workshop on June 19 that explores the new frontier of woman’s leadership…where you’ll discover how to:

  • Lean Back and discover how to become your most effective self

  • Lean Back to create a new future for yourself

  • Lean Back to discover solutions for your most difficult challenges

  • Lean Back to remove obstacles in your path

  • Lean Back so your passions, intentions, and gifts can guide you more purposefully

  • Lean Back to expand your influence and gravitas for the things that matter most to you

…and so much more…


DATE: Tuesday, June 19, 2018

LOCATION:  The Warren Conference Center, Ashland, MA (outside of Boston)

TIME: 9:00-4:30 PM


Early Girl Registration by March 30  - $895

(Special discount: Shero Early Girl Registration- $795 (if you’ve attended a prior Shero program)


“Let go of the oars, everything you want is downstream.”  Abraham-Hicks

We can’t wait to see you there! Until then, breathe deep, lean back, and know the world is your oyster!

DATE: Tuesday, June 19, 2018

LOCATION:  The Warren Conference
Center, Ashland, MA (outside of Boston)

TIME: 9:00-4:30

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