A Killer Instinct Can Still Be Pretty

What is a Killer Instinct?

Your mind may immediately jump to an image of an attack trained salesperson, ready to take down the opposition, no matter the cost — “backstabbers par excellence.”  That’s the epitome of a killer instinct on crack:

“a strong will to win and an urge to succeed unmindful of the consequences for others.”

“History is pretty clear on the fact that most great men (and women) are bastards.”

“A person with killer instincts sees an enemy where others don’t see anything…”

The good news is that you don’t have to morph into a monster to leverage a killer instinct. There are many examples of successful, competitive women (Chris Evert & Martina Navratilova, Oprah Winfrey, Jessica Herrin, Ali Brown) who do not subscribe to the win at all costs way of life.

Nature or Nurture –

The killer instinct isn’t something you are born into, nor is it synonymous with your gut. It goes beyond the fight or flight mechanism, motivating you to performance levels above the norm. It’s a mindset that’s developed through your experiences overcoming adversity.

If you want to achieve greatness. This killer instinct, this “I’m-going-to-blast-through-anything-that stands-in-my-way” mindset will propel you there. It will drive you to acquire any skills you do not already have… this killer instinct IS within you… You just need to utilize it.

Can I be a “killer” and still be pretty?

The killer instinct is traditionally considered a male characteristic. Does that mean that women can’t have the same drive and insatiable craving for success? Absolutely not! It’s becoming increasingly more evident in the way women are competing in athletics and in business. But the double standard is nearly as strong as it was depicted a decade ago —

Female politicians, lawyers and businesswomen of all ethnic groups also play the femininity game. Like tennis players in short dresses, working women seem to believe it’s an asset to look pretty (but not too pretty) while throwing themselves around. The female apologetic is alive and well in corporate board rooms, where women say, “I’m sorry, maybe someone else already stated this idea, but…” and smile while they say it.

…So if you want to be a winner and you’re female, you’ll feel pressured to play by special, female rules. Like men, you’ll have to be smart and industrious, but in addition you’ll have to be “like women”: kind, nurturing, accommodating, nonthreatening, placating, pretty, and small. You’ll have to smile. And not act angry. And wear skirts. Nail polish and makeup help, too. – from the Women’s Sports Foundation

Yuck! Where’s the crime in simply being just who you are and going after your dreams?! The fact that the “fairer sex” is still colored unwomanly for demonstrating “the willpower to face down every last obstacle and confrontation in the way of [their] success” is simply intolerable — fortunately it’s not stopping all women from going after what they want. It’s these brave trail blazers you need to watch and emulate, and the ones whose horns I will be tweeting. Who are you following?

There is a balance that doesn’t require you to be a complete bit#% to be a “killer” competitor. My next post will round out this topic by presenting strategies you can use to develop the killer instinct within, without sacrificing who you are in the process.

© 2010 Reece International LLC/Dr. Shannon Reece. All rights reserved.


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Dr. Shannon Reece – The One Trusted Woman in a Man’s Business World
Starting your own business can be tough, but having the right tools makes all the difference. Dr. Reece provides the strategies and tactics women need to get their businesses from zero to launch and achieve real results. For more information visit www.DrShannonReece.com.


  1. Posted November 24, 2010 at 1:34 am | Permalink | Reply

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