I’m excited to welcome Kayla Osterhoff, MPH, PHDc to today’s show. Kayla is a neuropsychophysiologist and women’s health expert whose research is revolutionizing the field of women’s health. Her scientific discoveries about women’s biology are the basis for the Her Biorhythm program and Her Biorhythm Certification for doctors, practitioners, and coaches. Kayla is a true pioneer in her field whose novel research and innovations are changing the landscape of feminine health. Her knowledge and expertise lend important insights to the workplace and its challenges.
As a woman in a male-dominant field of work, Kayla often found that she had to work in a masculine way that taxed her physical and mental health. Later she discovered that working in this way was not only taxing, but it was unnatural and harmful for her feminine biology.
Through her research, Kayla discovered a blind spot in the understanding of female health and biology – a result of the long-standing gender gap in scientific research. She discovered that women have a very different biological rhythm than men, requiring different support and day-to-day operations in order to thrive. This discovery became the focus of her passion, research, and career.
Kayla has now dedicated her career to empowering women around the world and teaching the science of feminine biology. She believes that women are the greatest untapped resource in modern society and that it is our responsibility as a society to research and support women better.
On today’s show, we talk about the science of feminine biology and how that affects our work performance, as well as how it can actually become a superpower under the right conditions.
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Show Transcript (via AI – please excuse any errors):
I’m very excited to have a special guest with me here today. Kayla Osterhoff is a neurophysiologist and women’s health expert whose research is revolutionizing the field of women’s health. Her scientific discoveries about women’s biology are the basis for the Her BioRhythm program and her BioRhythm certification for doctors, practitioners and coaches. And Kayla, welcome to the show. I’m so excited to finally get to meet with you. This is really exciting.
Yeah. Thank you so much for having me on, and I’m really excited to talk about my favorite topic, which is Women <laugh>.
I’m excited too. As I mentioned before we got on the podcast today. I actually was introduced to your work through your interview on Gaia tv, and your interview with Regina Meredith. And one of the reasons I was so excited to talk with you today is because what you were kind of revealing and sharing about women’s biology helped make a lot of things make sense to me about why it was such a challenge to kind of fit into the corporate world, even though I was there for more than 20 years. And so I think this topic is really gonna resonate with my listeners here today. So I’m very excited to have you here. So maybe we can just start off by having you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do and how you got started.
Yeah. Well, again, thank you for having me on. This is an exciting topic that I love to dive into. Well, I got into the field of particularly women’s health research because obviously as a woman I had a particular interest in my own biology and physiology. And unfortunately right now in the world, there is very limited information out there about the female biology and how it is different in its operation than the male biology. And this is kind of a roadblock that I kept hitting within my career and also within my personal health. I spent several years as a health scientist working for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And while I was there, I noticed that our medical protocols and the public health policies that were created at CDC that are supposed to serve, you know, the, the public, not only the national public, but the global public, including men and women was created and derived based on very male-centric data.
And what I mean by that is that the research that is done to study bodies and human biology and physiology and behavior is primarily done on men and women are not really included in this research. Significantly back in history, they were really not included at all. And the FDA actually had a formal ban that eliminated women from all clinical research for many, many years that wasn’t even overturned until the mid-nineties. But unfortunately, even to this day, women are still not appropriately included in the research, meaning that we have this huge information gap about women, women are very misunderstood, and as a result, women are very misguided. And the experience that you had is the same experience that I had in the corporate space especially, which is that we hit these walls, these roadblocks, and it really impacts our health and our wellbeing and our ability to perform as leaders.
And then we go to our doctors and say, oh, you know, I’m having brain fog, or I’m not able to sleep, or, my hormones are all messed up, or I’m really, really burnt out. And there aren’t really good solutions. And the reason being is because the education required in order to understand women and their bodies and their brains and how they operate and their cognitive health and function, all of these things is missing from the education. It’s missing from the kind of corporate and business structures in order to really understand and support women appropriately. So that’s why I switched gears and just went primarily into women’s health research. And now I study exclusively women which is a lot more difficult and a lot more expensive and costly to study women in terms of resources than it is to study men because we are a lot more complex biologically speaking. So really understanding the female biology is my passion and being able to teach people about how the female biology operates and the differences between men and women and how there are different considerations and different requirements in order for women to really thrive and be successful in their careers and their lives, and especially with their health.
Well, that is so exciting. And my background is in healthcare as well. And when I heard your information and had kind of known that, that a lot of the drugs that have been developed are the doses, the recommendations are typically for men. Yes. But they apply that to women. And I didn’t realize it was because women were so hard to study. And yeah, you gave some reasons for that in your last interview. Can you maybe talk a little bit about why women are harder to be part of a scientific study?
Yeah, yeah. When the FDA banned women from clinical research way back in the seventies, it was for good reason, and it was because of these reasons that people already didn’t study women. And one is because women are risky research subjects in terms of if they are actively cycling, they can potentially become pregnant. And no researcher ethically wants to really deal with the fact that a woman can potentially become pregnant during the study. Right? So that’s one reason it’s more of an ethical reason. But the other reason is what I was mentioning before, which is that women are very difficult research subjects, meaning that it costs a lot more time, energy, money to study women. And the reason why is because women are physiologically shifting all of the time, day to day. They’re little by little changing. And so there is no normalized repeating process every day.
Like there is in the male biology. In the male biology, the physiology repeats on a 24-hour system, and everything is basically the same from day to day. Then you look at us ladies and things are a lot more complex. And the reason being is because we have this month long hormonal cycle with the ebb and flow of estrogen and progesterone that actually impacts our global physiology. So it’s not just about the reproductive parts, it’s about everything. Our cardiovascular system, our respiratory system, our nervous system, our brain, our immune system, our metabolism, everything is impacted by the ebb and flow of these two key biochemicals. And because of that, women are little by little changing all the time and significantly through four different hormonal signature hormonal phases over the course of a month. And that’s why I say that physiologically speaking, women are actually four different women over the course of a month.
So now when you translate that to research, now you have to times your participants essentially by four. So now, if you’re studying 30 women, well, 30 women times four, because you actually have to take account four how different they are physiologically in each of the four phases. And then when it comes to the statistical analysis and all of that, it becomes a huge nightmare mess. Which is something that I know intricately because it’s what I do, but I, I get it. I understand why they have been left out because it’s hard. However, it’s not ethical. We cannot just simply ignore half of the population and make assumptions that because we have the same parts, they work the same way. And we know now that that is absolutely not true. And now, you know, the scientific and medical community is trying to backtrack to fix this issue, but the gap is so vast in the information and the data that we need, that it’s gonna take a huge, huge effort and a lot of time and a lot of money to fix the problem.
Wow. This is all just fascinating to me, and I’m so glad that you’re helping to tackle some of that gap. So one of the things that I was really curious about too is how does this affect the workplace? You know, today’s mm-hmm. <Affirmative> workplace, most people work, you know, eight to five, nine to five 40 hours a week. Yeah. You know, maybe two weeks of vacation of the year, and it’s kind of this hustle culture. So how does this difference in biology, physiology, psychology apply to the workplace for women?
Well, it has huge implications for the workplace, and it’s actually the reason behind these negative statistics that we see in the workplace right now. So, just for instance, in the United States in terms of the statistics around female leadership or female business ownership they’re pretty dismal. Across the board, it’s about 18% of women who are in leadership positions in organizations. So this means business owners founders, c-suite managers and supervisors. And the whole, all rest of the percentage is men. And when you look at, you know, there’s a few things going on. So one of which is there’s this pay gap, right? The pay gap between men and women who do the same jobs. Well, this, this goes back to the same problem. At the same time, we’re also dealing with an exhaustion gap. And this is disproportionately affecting women, which is something I mentioned before, that women experience burnout 200 to 300% more often than their male counterparts.
So obviously this is going to have a huge impact on the world of business, the corporate world, and the economy at large, if women are burning out at these alarming rates. So, again, a reason being is that we are not understanding how women need to be supported in order to thrive and be healthy and not burn out and be able to operate at their highest level. And to be able to kind of tap into their cognitive gifts as women, they have to be supported in a very specific way, which is determined by how their physiology is operating. Right? And because it’s so different through the four different phases, every woman, right, is four different women over the course of a month. Then of course, she can’t operate in this standardized, repeating environment infrastructure systems. So again, we look back at our male counterparts and what we know is their biology, their physiology is very consistent.
It repeats 24 hours a day. Every day is just about the same. So working a nine to five every single day, five days a week, all month long, works really well for them because that maps on perfectly with their physiology, and it’s how their biology really operates. Then we look at, for women right now, we’re looking at the same system. This nine to five repeating consistent environment, well, that may work for one version of us. So we’re talking about one week out of the whole month, we might have a infrastructure and systems in place that actually work well for us. And the other three weeks it is working against us because it is, because it is not in alignment with our basic biological needs as they change throughout the month. So for women, we need inconsistency because our biology and our physiology is inconsistent, but if you zoom out it, there is a consistency to it because it can’t just be total chaos all the time, right?
There is a system to it, but it’s a broader system. It’s a month long view rather than a daily 24 hour view. So for women designing a different environment in infrastructure, workflow, schedule, support systems for each week out of the month as her physiology shifts and changes, that is the key. And that’s a lot of what I do and teach in the corporate space, is I help organizations to understand how to properly support the women within their organization so that they can operate at their highest level, so that they can have more fulfillment, more success, and as a result, the overall company culture typically improves.
Wow. I’m so excited you’re doing this work, and I wanna dive into that aspect a little bit deeper. But before we do that, can we just take a step back and have you talk about those four different stages? Yeah. And how they can actually be a benefit? A Competitive advantage if we’re able to maximize those.
Yeah. I always say that you know, the female, what I call the female Biorhythm, which are these four physiological phases that we go through that are set to the pace of the female hormone cycle, which is the centerpiece of it, right? So the female biological rhythm is the key to a woman’s health success, happiness, fulfillment, all of that, right? And that’s also, unfortunately, the part of us that has been ignored. And it’s the piece that’s missing from the research, from the data. So when women can understand these four different versions of themself, and they can start to align their operation, their lifestyle, their choices with that, then that’s when the magic happens. So we’ll just do like a very, very brief, super high level overview of the four different versions a woman experiences every month. And again, this is a lot more complex, but I just wanna give everyone kind of a taster of these four different women and how you might be able to start to align your lifestyle with these four different versions of you.
So that, like you said, you can leverage that competitive advantage that we have operating at our highest level all month long. So phase one is about the first week of the female biological rhythm and hormonally, this is marked by the lowest levels of estrogen and progesterone. So remember, estrogen and progesterone are kind of like the pacemaker of the female biological rhythm in terms of those two key hormones modulate all the other physiological systems from the brain to the musculoskeletal system, everything. So when those two key hormones are at their lowest level some kind of broad strokes of what’s happening physiologically is that there’s kind of a downshift of the metabolic and energetic activities of the female biology. What I mean by that is when those hormones are at their lowest level, it actually starts to downshift or down regulate our metabolism.
And what happens is the conversion of macros like food, right? Carbs, fats, and proteins through the citric acid cycle ending in ATP, which is energy for the cells, right? That whole process slows down. And so women actually have a little less physical energy during this time, and I’ll get to why that is actually not a bad thing in a moment. But alongside that, when we look at, for instance, neurological behavior and how things also downshift neurologically for women in this low hormonal state, we see that our excitatory and mood boosting neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, glutamate, all of those neurotransmitters also slow in their activity as well. So not only do we have less physical energy during this phase, but we also have a little less mental energy and a little less outward focus because we have less of those mood related neurochemicals.
There’s a lot of other things that shift neuro electrically in terms of how the brain areas communicate with each other which is all related to having high densities of receptors in our brain as women for estrogen and progesterone, which is something that a lot of people don’t know, and something that was only discovered a few years ago, actually. So when that happens, the whole brain structure and system kind of shifts in its operation. So when that happens, again, it’s this downshift of energy, this downshift of mood, this downshift of mental energy as well as physical energy. But there’s a benefit here, and each one of the phases has many benefits, but I’ll mention one in each one that is significant and important that women can start to leverage right away. So in phase one, the, the cognitive superpower is what I call it is actually intuitive insight.
So when we have studied the female brain, and when we have done cognitive skills-based testing through the different hormonal, the four different hormonal phases, what we are just now discovering as neuroscientists is that the female brain has different cognitive strengths in each hormonal phase. And in phase one, what the research or the scientific community calls cognitive empathy is a fancy scientific term for intuition. So a woman’s intuition is not only a real thing, but it’s actually something that we are now able to measure with brain imaging and cognitive skills testing, and we are starting to understand the mechanisms of it, which are related to our female hormones. So, wow, very interesting <laugh>. Yeah, and it’s so beautifully designed. The whole female biology, the female system is so beautifully designed because if you think about it, phase one, our body is literally saying, okay, we need you to go inward in order to tap into this extra cognitive ability that you have of intuitive insight, right?
The ability to make decisions, assessment, that type of skillset is heightened in this first phase. So what our body does is it takes our outward focused efforts, our outward focused energy, and it points us inward so that we can actually use this skill, right? It is literally slowing us down physically. It is taking that outward mental focus and turning it inward so that we can tap into this intuitive insight. So it’s all happening for us, and it’s all supposed to happen that way. However, the societal expectation is that we have to operate at the same high level all month long in the same exact way. Well, that’s not possible because that’s not how our biology works as women. However, it is possible to operate at a very high level through all four phases, but in different ways. So in phase one, this is when women should be taking a step back doing some more solo type work.
This is when she should be doing her assessment. This is when she should be doing her planning. This is when she should be doing her forecasting for the month. This is when she should be doing her resource allocation type activity, right? This is that, that phase going from phase one into phase two, this is marked by a steady rise in estrogen to a peak into phase three. But as estrogen rises, so does the metabolic activity. So there is this higher conversion of the ATP, there is more energy for the body, there is also more energy for the brain in terms of the brain energy metabolism, that’s ramped up as well. But also when you look at those neurochemicals, the excitatory, mood-based neurochemicals, those are also rising as estrogen rises. So when that happens, women start to have more and more energy or cognitive kind of energy focus.
And in addition, they start to feel more and more outward focused, more social, and have more of a higher mood, right? And again, these are just a few examples, but as that happens, when we study the cognitive skills based testing to see what’s going on with a woman’s cognitive ability during this phase, we see that a woman’s navigational ability is heightened as well as strategic thinking, strategic action, which is actually pretty cool because if you go to phase one, you are doing your decision making, you are doing your assessment, you are doing your resource allocation. Now you take that information that you are able to make those decisions with a higher level of intelligence in acuity to really understand how to do that in the most beneficial way. Now you’re taking that information and you’re running with it, you’re able to navigate with that information.
Not only that, because you have these increase in these neurochemicals, you’re also able to interact and communicate with your teams better. And so your leadership abilities increase. And interestingly, a woman’s level of compassion and emotional intelligence increases as estrogen rises. So this is when we should be interacting with and doing our teamwork, team leadership, these types of things. Then going into phase three, which is more of a phase shift than a phase in and of itself, because it’s really short. So phases one and two, that’s weeks one and two, just about phase three is between one and three days. It’s the ovulatory phase. And this is marked by the peak in estrogen, alongside the peak in luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone. When we have all of these juicy hormones in our body this, a few really cool things happen, including this peak in those excitatory and mood neurotransmitters, this peak in metabolism, energetic output.
We also have a peak in our power, strength, and endurance physically and mentally. We can work longer days, we have more stamina, we have more focus and kind of drive and motivation during this time, and the peak in emotional intelligence as well. So the cognitive superpower during this phase is this charismatic quality that women have. Interesting women are more influential during this phase. So this is when we should be doing our strategic partnership, our networking, our pitches, anything where we need to have more influence within our positions. This is the, the fruitful time to do this. Then going from that phase into the final phase, which is the longest, it is called ludial phase hormonally, but in the female biological rhythm, of course, there’s a much broader repercussions for this. And this is the final two weeks. It’s the whole back half of the female biological rhythm.
And it is marked by a different hormonal shift, because estrogen is now coming down the other side of the peak, right? It peaked at ovulation, and now it’s kind of coming down the other side. There’s a little bit of a boost in the middle there, but what’s significant is that progesterone becomes the star player of the show. Now, progesterone as this important biochemical and neurochemical rises to a peak. It does some really cool things to the female physiology, but especially the female neurology. I actually call this the grow phase because this is a time when women have an increased capacity to grow, to learn and adapt because of these neurological shifts that happen with this rise to a peak and progesterone. So one cool thing that happens is that, you know how I mentioned before, the excitatory, mood based neurotransmitters kind of rise and fall with estrogen.
Well, that is the case here as well. Those neurochemicals are slowly kind of declining down the whole back half of the two weeks. So the first week you still have high concentrations, and then the final week, you’re starting to get pretty low with those again, or to the lowest point again as you come back around. But as progesterone rises to a peak, it increases the activity of our down regulatory neurotransmitter, which is GABA. Now, GABA is really important for neurological health and wellbeing. It’s tied in with the down regulation of the nervous system. It’s also tied in with the melatonin process, which is the hormone that is is the regulatory ho hormone for sleep in our circadian rhythm. And so GABA helps to regulate that melatonin sleep circadian rhythm system. It also helps with the health of the brain because it helps us to get more restful sleep and aids in memory consolidation.
So alongside that, there’s another cool neurological thing that happens that I wanna mention because it’s just so cool. And that is that brain derived neurotrophic factor BDNF also peaks at the same time as progesterone. And so when that happens, women get increased neuroplasticity and increased neurogenesis. So what that means is that the moldability of our brain, right, the neural pathways and how we behave, how we learn, how we grow is enhance during that time with neuroplasticity. But also the turnover rate or the reproduction of new neurons in the brain is also heightened at the same time. So not only is our ability to learn and grow heightened during this time, but our brain is physically growing at a higher rate during this phase. So that’s why I call it the grow phase or the brainy phase. And our cognitive superpower is, is this acuity, this verbal acuity, this mental acuity, but really this heightened ability to learn and grow and adapt.
Wow, very interesting. So that last stage sounds like it would be a good time to learn new information as well as to articulate it.
Absolutely. So how could absolutely tapping into these different phases and kind of the, the benefits of each really be a competitive advantage when we start to look at the workplace?
Yeah. So as you start to understand how the physiology shifts in each four phases, but also our cognitive capacities and how they are changing, right? So we have certain physical benefits and limitations in each phase, and we have certain cognitive skills or capacities that are heightened in each phase that women really should be leveraging, right? So now you start to apply this, right? You start to align your workflow with these cognitive advantages that women have so that they can get more done in less time, be more effective, be better leaders, have better communication, and also state their needs and set boundaries appropriately, right? So just for instance, in phase one, because of how the physiology has this downshift, you don’t wanna be pushing yourself to the limits in terms of working really long hours. And if you can avoid it, you want to limit your more social based interactions during this time, because that’s gonna take a lot of energy of which you have less of.
So it’s really about resource allocation, understanding what resources you have in each phase, and then learning how to allocate them very smartly so that you don’t run out so you can keep your steady level of energy, your high level of performance, right? So in phase one, what you really wanna do again, is you want to maybe decrease your working hours. Maybe if you’re like a 10 hour a day person, maybe you wanna scale it back to eight or so, if you usually have 10 meetings a day, maybe you wanna limit those to the ones that you just need to be there for, and then delegate to other pe other people on your team or communicate in more of a more of a solo fashion where you can kind of make the decisions by yourself. You have some time to kind of tune into your own thoughts, your own processes, because remember, you have this enhanced intuitive, inside this enhanced ability to assess and make decisions.
So that’s the type of work that you really should lean into in phase one. And again, each phase has its own types of benefits in phase two and three, go for it work those long hours, you have the stamina, you have the endurance to do it. You can work with teams, you can take all the meetings, you can do all of that stuff. And then you have to understand that things are gonna shift again when you go into the last phase. And you really wanna align your workflow with your abilities and having an understanding of what are those physical limitations and how do I align with those so that they actually aren’t limitations, so that they are actually benefits superpowers.
Wow. And so it seems like if we don’t make these adjustments, we are also losing some of the benefits. Like I think about phase one, you know, we’re kind of taught what, you know, you’re low energy and you’re not feeling maybe as energetic, but you need to just power through. But if you are just powering through and forcing yourself to work the longer hours and trying to be high energy, it seems like you’re losing out on the benefits of that increased intuition. 100%. Yeah. Yeah,
Yeah. So that, I mean, you’re spot on. And this is the reason why we are seeing these huge levels of burnout for women because not only are they burning out their adrenals, right, they are also burning out their female hormones, which as we know from this conversation, play a huge role in our overall physiology, health and function. It’s not just about the reproductive parts. So when women don’t understand how, what their, where their resources are, how they’re shifting and changing over the course of the month, and how to utilize them in a smart way, they’re burning through them because they’re just pushing through and they’re forcing the square peg into the round hole. And it’s never gonna work out long term, right? You might be able to do it for a while, but eventually it’s gonna catch up to you because it is just not naturally how your body operates, and it never will be, because you don’t have the same biological rhythm as your male counterparts who are a 24-hour repeating steady system, right?
So instead of, you know, drinking all the coffee <laugh>, extra cups of coffee in phase one and burning out your adrenals and burning out your hormones, and then dealing with the repercussions later, maybe you allow yourself to have a little less energy during that phase, and you lean into that and you say, actually, this is a good thing because I really need to go inward and I need to do some assessment, and I need to do some better resource allocation, and I need to listen to my body and give myself a little more support during this phase so that I can still do my job, do my work and operate. But things need to shift a little bit.
Very interesting. I wonder if this is one of the reasons that women have been a little bit slower to return to the workforce, and have been more interested in remote work because it gives them more of an ability to regulate their energy levels and their workflows than they have.
Oh, absolutely. Pandemic, yes. Absolutely. And like, like I said, a woman’s intuition is a real thing, right? It’s in women, even though they don’t know all of this that we’re talking about, they intuitively know that the workflow and the infrastructure and the environment in the corporate space does not work for them. It doesn’t align for them. It makes them feel bad. And what they do know is when they get more flexibility and they can kind of do things on their own terms, they feel way better. Well, that’s because they are actually leaning into and tuning into what’s going on with their body and having an ebb and flow in their workflow, just like the ebb and flow in their physiology.
Oh, that, that makes so much sense to me. So the question I have is like, how do we begin to bring this into the workplace? So my husband manages a team, and so I had him watch the episode on Gaia, and he was very supportive, and he’s open, you know, to the concept, but his question was like, as a manager, how do I implement that? Do I need to have different standards for men and women? You know, are we gonna have different assignments for somebody because she’s ovulating and I don’t wanna know that about my employee? Yes. Like, how do we begin to work through this in the workplace?
Yes. So the way you start to work through this in the workplace, which is something I am doing with big Fortune 500 companies, who are really opening their minds to the solutions, to some of these big, big societal problems we have around women and women’s leadership and women in the workplace. These are something that everyone is acknowledging these are problems and we’re looking for solutions. Well, now here’s a scientific, a solution that is proven to work once you get an understanding of the female biology and physiology, right? So the way you implement this, there are several ways, and how I do this with each company is very dependent on what their needs are, what their infrastructures look like, what kind of systems they have in place, what kind of processes they use, their company culture. So everything is tailored to the specific needs of the organization.
But there is one really common, simple, simple step that has to happen as step one, that is giving women permission and flexibility to do things differently. Now, that is fully inclusive of everyone, right? If you start to allow the freedom to develop a schedule and a workflow that is not time-based, but performance based, now you have something that works for everybody. And it doesn’t have to be men versus women. You just have to be inclusive of the female physiology, which right now is not happening. It doesn’t have to say, okay, this is how the women in the company work, and this is how the men in the company work. No, you create systems and structures that actually work for either men or women, but right now what we have in place is something that just works for men.
Interesting. And so I’m excited to hear that you’re working with some Fortune 500 companies and that people are open to making some of these changes. Have you seen any great results or success stories with organizations that have began to move in this direction?
Oh, absolutely. And t always kind of starts with the information flow opening, the flow of that information that’s missing, right? And people start to feel empowered and people start to feel seen and heard and understood, which has immediate positive repercussions for the entire organization. Even an acknowledgement of, Hey, you know what? We maybe haven’t been doing things that are appropriately supportive for you. And we’re changing that, and we’re learning, we’re trying to understand that immediately has positive impacts. Then when you start to change the infrastructure and the systems to be more inclusive and have more equity for women and men in the company, now you start to see a moving up of the bottom line, which is what everybody wants to see, right? In the end, it’s about how profitable are we and how are we leveraging our resources to their highest level? Well, human resources are the most valuable resources within any organization. And if you have any women within your organization and you are not operating in an inclusive way, and you are not understanding this about women, then you are not utilizing that valuable resource to its highest potential, and that’s the language that everybody speaks.
I agree completely. That makes so much sense as well. And really, when you’re able to tap into these benefits for women one of the things I’ve heard you talk about in the past is that women have a real kind of innate ability to be exceptional leaders. Can you maybe talk a little bit more about that?
Yeah, sure. So there’s a lot of things that go into this, but one of the major components of what makes women such a great leader is this are these neurological differences, and the fact that the female brain is modulated by the female hormones which makes the female brain this cyclic organism. And because of that and how the neurochemical and neural electrical activity of the female brain changes, it creates these cognitive strengths that are superior versus their male counterparts. And all of those cognitive strengths just so happen to be great leadership qualities like emotional intelligence, like the ability to communicate effectively, like the ability to make decisions like the ability to consider others and have higher compassion for others. All of these are superior leadership qualities that women have that men have as well, but that are more prominent in the, the female cognitive toolkit you could say.
The other thing is, is a psychological aspect of, of feminine leadership. And that is that, again, one of the great qualities of leadership is the ability to think for the collective meaning about you. When you are a great leader, you are not thinking of yourself first. You are thinking of kind of everyone else first. Now for women, there, women have a psychological predisposition for this because over many, many, many, many generations since the beginning of time women have taken on a caretaker role in society. So over generations pass down epigenetically through all these generations of caretakers is this psychological propensity to think for the collective or kind of put others first. So that can be a limitation in a lot of ways for personal development. You know, climbing the ladder, getting what you need, communicating your needs as a woman, which are challenges that women face.
But in terms of a leadership quality, it is the most important and most superior leadership quality to be able to think about the collective impact of decisions before the decisions are made. So that’s kind of that other psychological leadership superpower that women have. But it’s also one that women have to be aware of. It’s this subconscious programming that is always operating in the background, that if we’re not aware of it, then it can show up in negative ways in our life in terms of we may harm ourselves, harm our health, use up all our resources trying to do everything for everybody else before we take care of our own selves. And of course that is not necessarily a great leadership quality because you have to be healthy and functioning at your highest level and in order to be a great leader. So there’s a, there’s a fine line that has to be walked in terms of embracing this collective thinking as part of your leadership quality and skillset, and also understanding that you have to take care of yourself first before you can lead others and be a good example for others. So towing that line is pretty difficult, especially when you don’t know it’s there.
That makes sense. So it sounds like having healthy boundaries and really good self-care is also really key here.
I wonder if you might share an example, you said one of the first things that an organization can do is to move to more of a performance-based system. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>, how do you do that when there are like hard deadlines that need to happen, and then what could that look like?
Sure. So again, this looks many different ways, and the way that this is implemented in each organization can be very complex depending on how their organization works. So that’s something that I do in consulting with businesses and helping and organizations and helping them to set up these systems and processes. But just at a very high level example of this, for women who, you know, may be the leader of an organization or a leader within their organization is zoom out, right? Don’t be so acutely focused and so daily focused goals and deadlines and all of that have to be met. But if you plan appropriately with enough lead time, then you can absolutely organize all of those things so that everything gets done more effectively, more efficiently than if you are trying to put it into this acute structure that doesn’t work.
So it’s more of zoom out, allow policies to be put in place that allow for flexibility, put in policies in place that allow for performance, performance-based work. That way the company is protected, right? Because the performance is going to remain at a higher level. And honestly, it’s always a way higher level of performance when these changes are made and the health of, and the, and the performance of the woman is also protected and elevated by creating these new structures. So again, I, I know that was like a really kind of broad watered down example, but that’s really the only way to give an example that could apply to anyone.
Sure, sure. No, that makes sense. So it’s being more intentional and planning out ahead and actually ending up with higher productivity and less burnout overall, which is gonna increase productivity as well of here. People aren’t burned out, it seems like.
Yeah. Well, and more satisfaction if, if all of your women who have worked so hard to get into those leadership positions, they’re burned out, they’re not gonna stay there, they’re gonna leave. Yeah. And they’re gonna look for opportunities to do something that allows them to feel healthy and satisfied and not burned out. So, you know, if we want to close this exhaustion gap that women are experiencing in the corporate space, if we want to really support women’s health and stop this toxic cycle of burnout, then we have to make these changes. And I’m not saying it’s easy, cuz it’s not simple. Sure. Easy. No, no, not easy, but it’s going to require a systemic level of change in order to see that the results that we want to see, this is going to continue to get worse and worse and worse until we decide, okay, we know it’s not gonna be easy, but it’s time to make a change. So how do we do it? And you have to do it in a evidence-based step-wise, really organized way. Otherwise you kind of, you, you lose, you lose your, you lose your footing.
Sure, sure. That makes a lot of sense in taking that approach. Yeah. And that kind of leads me to my next question. So what is your vision for the future of work? You know, if we can begin to implement these flexible workplaces and adapt the workplace to work for both men and women, what would that look like? And, and maybe what would that feel like?
Yeah. In my utopian world I would see an equal balance of masculine and feminine leadership because both masculine and feminine leadership have different qualities that are beneficial and very synergistic right now, when we look into the world because of the way that things are structured in the expectations of operating in this really consistent way we only see really good examples of masculine leadership, even from our female leaders. And that’s because it’s that kind of, you know, push through. A lot of times it’s about, you know, dominating winning, get the win and it’s very also dopamine driven, reward, neurochemically driven. And that just doesn’t resonate with the female biology. Because we’re the way that we operate and how we’re rewarded, neurochemically is totally different. But anyway, so masculine leadership that’s absolutely necessary and needed and super duper important in our world.
And we have really, really excellent strong examples of that. We do not have good examples of healthy feminine leadership in this world, even from our female leaders who are trying to lead from a very masculine way that is out of alignment with their physiology. So if we can have healthy men and women leaders and healthy examples of masculine and feminine leadership that really merge together, the world will change. I always say that women, because right now it’s disproportionately affecting women, right? I always say that women are the greatest untapped resource in modern society that will be able to create massive evolution in our world and in our society. And the reason being is because they are just so misunderstood, so misguided. They are burned out. They are not operating at their highest level. But imagine if they were, then you have the other half of the population really thriving and stepping into those leadership positions that they’re well designed for.
Oh, that’s so great. I love that. So it’s really embracing feminine qualities and feminine leadership style without discounting the male side either this isn’t anti men in any way, but no making it a as valuable for women leadership traits as well as male. So I love that. So Kayla, tell me, what are you most excited about right now?
Oh, so many things. But I, I’m really excited because there is a, a tide change that is happening societally and not, not even just in the United States but really globally, which is acknowledgement of this issue, this, this gap in the health science research and this gap in the information. And an acknowledgement that you know, we have really misunderstood and misguided women for a long time and we wanna do things differently. And that’s happening across the globe. There’s, there’s publications coming out every day, really highlighting the problem. What I’m excited about is that there is a solution and it is working and people are now open-minded enough to actually embrace these solutions and put them in place. So personally what I’m really excited about right now is being able to work with more and more organizations who have massive impact on so many women and families and communities that can start to put these different structures in place and support, you know, thousands if not millions of women.
But I’m also really excited about training any professionals who work with women in the science of the female biology or the women’s neuro psychophysiology. And to that end, I have an online certification that I offer for any professionals who work with women, whether they be doctors, coaches, business coaches, health coaches anything like that. If you work with women, you really wanna understand what’s going on with them and how to properly support them and educate them and guide them. And so I offer that, which is kind of like this women’s biology 101 women’s neuro Psychophysiology 101, which is the, just the basic level of understanding that all people really need to have in order to properly understand, support and guide women. So if anybody is interested in that, we are actually starting our next cohort of students for the spring semester on January 30th. And we go for 12 weeks. It’s a 12 week professional training with 30 34 hours of continuing professional development that comes with the certification. And again, it’s like this basic level of understanding about all everything we talked about and the science behind the female biology physiology, and how to really understand and guide and support women. Well, I’m really excited about that. Yeah,
<Laugh>, I see why you’re so excited about that. That sounds like a great opportunity and we’ve covered so much ground today and I really, I could just talk with you all day about this topic because it’s so fascinating for me, me. But what is kind of one key takeaway you want our leave our listeners to leave with?
Yeah. the biggest key takeaway that I want all people to hear and be able to start to understand and operate from is that women need acknowledgement that they are different, that they need to operate differently, that they have different needs, that they have basic, different basic biological needs. Just acknowledgement of that makes a huge difference. And then if you wanna take it one step further, allow the flexibility for the women in your life, including yourself if you are a woman to do things differently, right. We understand Step one is just the, the self-awareness. It’s understanding, okay, I’m different, I need to do things different. Step two, allow the flexibility so that you can start to actually do things differently.
Wow, that seems like a real game changer. I love that takeaway. So if people are interested in learning more about the program that you just mentioned or mm-hmm. <Affirmative> connecting with you and your consulting services or just following you on social media, where are the best places to connect with you?
Sure. the best place to connect with me find more information get free resources is Herbiorhythm.com. And then from there you can navigate to you can put in a request for consulting or booking for an event or anything like that. But also the certification program is there and there’s also an individual women’s program for any woman who just wants to learn about her own unique female biology and physiology that’s there as well. And then on social media my handle is @BioCurious_Kayla. And I’m always posting fun things there about female neuroscience and physiology and health optimization and biohacking and all of those fun things. So I would love to connect with all of you there as well.
Wonderful. Well, thank you so much for joining us here today. I learned so much just from today’s conversation and look forward to learning more about your work. So I appreciate you being here. Thank
You. Yeah. Thank you so much for having me. This was super fun.