In 1533, a girl was born who would go on to do what no woman ever had before in England: take the throne, rule the country for nearly half a century, oversee military victories and a cultural renaissance, survive multiple conspiracies to assassinate her, and keep many of the the male royals of Europe waiting to marry her for most of her life.
Queen Elizabeth I is a brilliant example of a woman who clearly spent a lot of her time in the archetype of the Queen — she ruled the country not by trying to make herself into a pseudo-king, but by using her soft power to create a historical high point in British history. So what lessons can we learn from this archetypical Queen?
Own your court
There was never any question about who was in charge during Elizabeth’s reign — she ruled her court quietly, but effectively, and you can too. But so many women I work with tend to fall into reaction mode in life. When the phone goes off, they go into a mini-panic to answer it, when an email comes into their inbox they go to respond straight away, when anybody needs anything, their priorities get downgraded.
When you’re the Queen of your life, you need to own your court — which means that you know your values and priorities, and you make decisions in line with them, not in line with whatever’s happening around you day to day.
Teach people how to interact with you
As part of owning your court, you have to teach people how to interact with you. Elizabeth was known for her cultured manner, and her court followed suit. But how do you think people would have reacted if she was demanding or a doormat? The court would have had a completely different dynamic.
We all teach people how to interact with us unconsciously via our actions, habits, body language, and responses anyway, so why not control it to create outcomes that you actually want? Start by getting very clear on your values and your boundaries, and then act in ways that reinforce those boundaries for other people.
Now, I’m not saying that you need to go around browbeating people into doing things your way. The Queen is a this brilliant mix of authority and serenity. She’s not out there beating people into submission, and she’s not constantly fighting for control. Instead, she gracefully, naturally steps into a position where she is powerful and people are happy to respect her and follow her — and you can create the same thing in your life by living your own values and standing up for your boundaries.
Queens may have moments of indecision, but they don’t dither, and they know what’s worth spending their time and energy on and what’s not. When the Spanish armada set out for England, she didn’t waste time or second-guess herself; she sent ships out to stop it.
See how you can be more decisive in your own life. It might be that you need to follow your intuition more and stop second-guessing yourself; it might be that you need to get past that fear of missing out and just delete those 1,000 unread emails you have sitting in your inbox.
Throughout her reign, Elizabeth had a council of people around her to give her advice and delegate things to. She didn’t try to do it all herself, because Queens know that delegation is key to getting anything really important done. While we tend to think of delegation as something that you do just for work, it’s actually great for any area of your life. Your time is so valuable, so don’t spend it doing things that you hate doing, you’re not the best person to do, or that take loads of time away from the things you really enjoy doing.
OK, that’s four great ways to step into your Queen, just like Elizabeth. My challenge to you now is to choose one of those and make it your priority for the next week.
Which one are you going to focus on? Tell me below in the comments!
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