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How Your Menstrual Cycle Can Make You a Better Leader

An interview with Berrion Berry, PMS & Period Educator.

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Photo of Period Expert Berrion Berry and Leadership Coach Tianna Tye

Why should female entrepreneurs pay attention to their cycles? What benefit does it have business-wise?

Those who identify as female entrepreneurs should pay attention to their cycles because each phase of the cycle directly impacts performance. The menstrual cycle serves as a blueprint for menstruating individuals to live their life by and for so long, it’s been ignored. Once you know the phases of your cycle and how to utilize them to your advantage, you can increase energy, impact, and even income. 

What are the four phases of menstruation? How should the phases influence how we run our businesses?

Ahhh my favorite question. The four phases of the cycle are as follows. Menstruation, follicular, ovulation, and luteal aka PMS. Now let’s get really micro and specific with what’s going on and how the phases should influence business operations. 

Phase 1

The menstrual phase begins the first day you bleed and usually lasts for 5-7 days if you have an “average” cycle. Studies show that during this phase, there is actually 25% more connectivity between the right and left hemispheres of your brain making it the perfect time for ideation and brainstorming. 

Phase 2

The second phase begins the first day post period and pre-ovulation, this is the non-menstruating follicular phase. During this phase, individuals may notice an increase in strength, energy, and focus as a result of a rise in hormones. Oddly enough, this is the time where those who identify as female entrepreneurs mirror many of their non-menstruating counterparts, again based off of hormones. This is the perfect time for creating a strategic plan and flushing out the specifics of each idea that they came up with during the menstrual phase.

Phase 3

Ovulation is the third phase of the menstrual cycle and arguably the main event of their entire cycle. During this phase of the cycle, it’s all about executing and communicating. With a surge in estrogen and the luteinizing hormone, ovulation is truly the time to get things done. Now, I should preface that ovulation is only a 24-hour window, however many will feel the effects of it for about 4 to 5 days post ovulation. This is the perfect time to launch that new course, conduct interviews for hiring new team members, pitch yourself to brands, publications, and anything that has you communicating your vision to the masses. 

Phase 4

The final phase of your cycle is called the luteal phase, but most menstruating individuals refer to it as the PMS phase. During this phase, your estrogen levels are much lower and there’s a hormone called progesterone (supports a potentially viable pregnancy) that is higher. Since estrogen is lower, you may notice a drop in energy, focus, and patience. Not only this but with progesterone being higher, you may also notice that you’re holding weight in places that you wouldn’t normally. All that being said, irritability is at play, and I always say this is the time to evaluate what’s going on in your business. If we’re being honest, during this phase most people are looking to point out problems, and if you’re looking to do that, point out problems in your business and find a creative solution. This is the phase where you want to look at things on the backend of your business like analytics, insights, lead generation, team progress, and numbers. 

There you have it, the 4 phases and what to do, when. 

What should entrepreneurs do when their event calendar doesn’t line up with their cycle, i.e. a major event falls into the menstruation phase?

Entrepreneurs should ask themselves if the event is worth it and make a firm decision. The cool thing about being an entrepreneur is the fact that what you decide and decide not to do is entirely up to you. Furthermore, making a decision on what to show up to and not show up to is extremely important if you choose to honor the ebbs and flow of your cycle. 

For instance, most people will know at least 30 to 60 days in advance whether or not they’ll be speaking at something, so I say plan accordingly. 

One of my clients had a speaking event earlier this year, pre COVID of course, and she knew she’d be on her period while speaking because she practices cycle syncing. She asked what she should do especially since it was a large event, and I said, “front-load the hard work during your follicular and ovulation phases. Relax during your luteal phase, and perform during menstruation.” Naturally, she rearranged everything to mirror that and reported that it worked and what she did was received so well. We were proactive about what needed to be done and when, and of course that worked in her favor. 

I should also mention that NO, is my favorite word. If the event is smaller and not truly all that beneficial for an entrepreneur, they should consider saying no, or not at this time. It’s actually okay to say the word and establish boundaries, especially if the decision is made out of integrity and based around how you show up. 

As female entrepreneurs, many of us love to say yes to everyone and everything. But it’s important to remember to say yes to yourself first, then everyone else. 

Should leaders encourage open “period” conversations among their team members?

Absolutely. The more we can normalize the conversation around menstruation, the better. Everyone thinks talking about periods is taboo and uncomfortable, but truthfully it’s just fascinating and there is so much to learn. How cool is it that you can biohack your menstrual cycle for productivity purposes and vision casting? If someone told me that I’d perform better during my follicular phase or ovulation, you bet your bottom dollar I’d do everything in my power to only do major things during those times. 

How can you keep track of your team members’ phases?

I should say use an app like Clue, but honestly, I think the responsibility should be put on the team and individuals should take charge of mastering where they are and learning how to communicate that. It’s such a vital part of menstruating individuals’ health and wellbeing.

When I do my weekly check-in with my team, I just ask where everyone’s at? It’s that simple. If someone is PMS-ing and can’t get something done, I try to be understanding about it, but also show grace and compassion. If it’s a pressing issue that I can’t wait on then I’ll pick up the slack.

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