Power Couples: That wasn’t possible for single women

Feb 17, 2011 by

"Lois Lane and Superman"At one time, to constitute a Power Couple, like the Clintons or Obamas, you had to be married.  That left a single woman like myself out.  The Establishment simply wouldn’t have tolerated power shared between a man and a woman who were unmarried.  Of course, that’s changed.  Look at the current Governor of New York and His First Lady.

The positive development from being unable to become part of a Power Couple has been, for many of us, a focus on continually improving our Emotional Intelligence [EI].  Long before psychologist Daniel Goleman brought that concept mainstream in 1995, we recognized the importance of understanding how others processed their world.  Those others included just about anyone who could hire us, send business our way, mentor us, and open doors to the next level in our field.

Think about it: The single women we know who are unusually successful likely have unusually high EI.  For instance, at the top of the list is the single woman who brought us all together: Toby Bloomberg.  Another one is Elena Kagan, recently appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.  Both her allies and enemies pointed to her ability to find the common ground with the powerful people she had to deal with.  Among them were the unruly tribe at Harvard.  As we watched her on television we noticed Kagan had an excellent sense of when to hold and when to fold.

The payoff from EI increases, I’ve found, with age.  I can snag assignments when Generation X and Y can’t.  That’s because I am conditioned to speed read the situation and quickly determine what the prospect wants.  Then I configure my sales pitch around only that.  Also, hold the ego.  Probably we Baby Boomers are the last generation which gets it that no one cares who we are, what we believe in, or what are our dreams.  We keep all that in reserve for sharing with our friends. Part of EI is differentiating the public from the private.

Would I have wanted to be part of a Power Couple?  I’m not the type.

About the Author

Jane Genova Has Written 24 Articles For Us!

I’m a coach, book author, and lecturer on careers, specializing in transitions. When I was 58, I restarted my professional life. That was in 2003. Since then I have I have muted into one of those renaissance folks who keeps multiple lines of work going. My latest book Over-50: How We Keep Working has helped thousands of people realize that exciting careers don’t depend on your age. I write four blogs: Jane Genova, Law and More, Career Transitions, Over-50.
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1 Comment

  1. Rebecca Crichton

    Jane, lots of research indicates the importance of Emotional Intelligence as more important than IQ for success. And while women might have a bit of an edge on men since we tend to be more naturally empthathetic and aware and concerned about how others feel, it is not a given that women necessarily manage their emotions better, which is one of the EI skills. But it sounds like you’ve nailed how to do it. You clearly have your own power and don’t need someone else to share it.

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