Soft is the New Power: Embracing Your Feminine Edge to Win in Love & Life, by Deya ‘Direct!’ Smith released this summer encourages women to tap into their God-given authority, intuition and femininity to experience the ultimate success in love and life.
In her latest book Smith shares that the concept ‘soft power’ was coined by Joseph S. Nye Jr., former Dean of Harvard University’s Kennedy School. In his book Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics Nye shared that soft power rests on the ability to shape the preferences of others.
On this episode of the Spiritpreneur School podcast, I interview radio personality Deya Direct Smith. Her latest book “Soft is the New Power” is already a bestseller. This former Miss Black America came from a family where her parents were drug addicts to create her own success.
Learn how she did it!
More on Deya ‘Direct’ Smith
(Excerpted from my interview with her for ESSENCE)
Abiola: What is “soft power” and what does it have to do with our relationships?
Deya: It originates as an international political term used on how to be persuasive
and influential using the laws of attraction. In business and beyond, smart executives know that leadership is not just a matter of issuing commands, but also involves leading by example and attracting others to do what you want.
Now, Soft-HER Power, which is the angle that I have coined, builds off the soft power concept. I use both terms interchangeably to highlight how it can be applied with feminine energy to enhance your personal and professional life. Now, imagine if you were able to attract the personal relationships that you want in your life by using soft power. Between
the combined uses of the law of attraction, which says that we attract whatever we think about, good or bad, along with the implementation of soft power communication tools and feminine flare, you can actually have the luxury to pick and choose at a high-level what
enters your personal space. I teach women to savvily focus on how to diversify their communication portfolio and use their femininity as an asset in order to be effective and to win.
Abiola: You are a former Miss Black USA. Most people would assume that a beauty queen doesn’t have any relationship issues. You are very open, however, that your work comes from a very personal place. Can you share your personal story?
Deya: Winning a pageant, or professional position has very little to do with having the skills, capacity or emotional intelligence to be successful in love relationships. In fact, as women, we often get confused because we think that our accomplishments equates to having successful love relationships. Somehow, our fabulosity means an amazing relationship will show up too, but the rude awakening is that it doesn’t really work that way, does it?
Ironically, we prepare, study and train for everything that we want when it comes to school, jobs, promotions and a tight body; But the one thing we don’t study enough is how to be in healthy relationships with ourselves or our significant other.
Shortly after graduating for Howard University, completing my reign as Miss Black USA, I also became a colored girl who considered suicide when the rainbow was enough, because I got married immediately thereafter to the wrong person, at the wrong time and for the wrong reasons, because I had the wrong information.
The rude awakening, was that being fly, on a spiritual high, popular and talented, were not the tools that I needed most to be in a loving relationship. It wasn’t until I got honest and open enough to learn and really love myself that I could make healthy choices that reflected what I really wanted and needed.
Abiola: Tell us about your title as “the Man Whisperer.”
Deya: The quick response is that I became a man whisperer, when I applied communications skills to do something that is most critical to get understanding; I started to listen. I did not listen to be right or to make a point, I listened to first understand.
In this process, I realized that my hard-hitting communication style personally and professionally was stimulating, but I was losing the nuance and artfulness of being soft. Not only was the one-angle approach not working anymore but it was exhausting. So I decided to study the power of being soft. I initiated a process of discovery reviewing my love relationship patterns, which mirror the patterns of hundreds of women that I’ve encountered. I did real academic and real life research. I studied men, the art of communication and relationship strategies.
Soft doesn’t mean that you’re weak, allowing any and everything into your space, nor does it mean that you are a pushover. Instead, it is the atmosphere that you create. The atmosphere is strong but still pliable enough to give and receive the best that life has to offer.
Abiola: You have suffered tremendous heartbreak, like all of us. A big issue that I
encounter with the women who contact me is that they close down completely after heartbreak. What enables you to love again? How do you open up again after heartbreak?
Deya: Regardless of how many times my heart has been broken, somehow it remains resilient and I am still excited about life. I am pumped about fulfilling my purpose. I am a hopeless romantic and yearn to give and receive love on a high and deep level.
Somehow, I’ve decided that what I want is better than what scares me—being hurt,
disappointed, taken advantage of, or taken for granted. I’ve figured out that
whatever I give my energy to, wins. Even more, I’ve seen the difference in results
when I focus my energy on what I want versus what I do not want. I don’t want the negativity to win.
And even in those times when I took matters into my own hands and sometimes
created a massive mess, God picked me up, cleaned me off, built me back up, and restored me to the point where I’ve soared beyond where I started. So, there really is something to be said about trusting God fully. Instead of allowing fear,
impatience, and ego get in the way.
My major moment of clarity and breakthrough came when I was unceremoniously transparent with God and myself and admitted that I doubted His love for me. I told Him that I did not trust that He would take care of me, and that’s why I took so many matters into my own hands, especially in my 20’s. I didn’t like the process of growing pains, being patient, and being alone that I was being taken through. It was uncomfortable and I didn’t want to sacrifice, struggle, or stay the course, so I tried to change it. My approach cost me dearly. Not only did I pray for forgiveness, but I finally forgave myself. I forgave myself for the frailty of my humanity, and for my unhealthy choices. Once I did that, it felt so good. I literally cried the guilt and burden away, and as a result, gave myself permission to be unapologetically
real. I realized that I wasn’t perfect and it was unrealistic to think that I was better than everyone else.
I, too, face every day struggles and some days I overcome them better than others. When I fall, I get back up and learn from it. The goal is to live, to learn, to grow, and to use every experience to upgrade your life to the next level.
Abiola: While you talk about soft power, you also have a very clear message about not making your partner responsible for your happiness. Please elaborate.
Deya: Instead, Get in touch with yourself in terms of what you love about your personality, what you love to do, love to eat, and love to wear. Then do it, cook it, buy it or design it. This eliminates waiting for someone else to fill you up or waiting on love to come your way. Instead, you become the way to love; then you can invite more love into your house.
Enough cannot be said about the power of energy. When you have good energy about yourself, other people feel it. It draws them and it is contagious. So if you are having a hard time attracting the right people in your life, it begs the question; how are you feeling about yourself lately? That’s why once you start feeling better about yourself, you will find yourself unable to tolerate anyone or anything that is not beneficial to you.
It is never another person’s responsibility to make you happy, that is always our job first. Why? Because we are all on a journey to self love and happiness. And if you’ve been living with yourself all of your life, who should know more about what you want and need more than you? Why would you expect someone else to have that figured out after knowing you for a month?
Abiola: I am a very girly girl and always have been so I love this topic. Can you please share about “the power of being girly”?
Deya: There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being girly and “fully female”, complete with softness and nurturing.
By the way, some research has shown that a man is more attracted to a woman who’s really into taking care of her body, her skin and putting in the effort to enhance her appeal. It speaks to his senses and stimulates his masculinity.
Ladies, it’s ok NOT to be the boss all of the time. Truth be told, having the ability to use your strengths to get you to the next level is a BOSS move!
You see, a woman can be strong and powerful AND soft, all at the same time. Being soft IS strong. Being soft IS powerful. Softening my approach has worked wonders in my relationships, both personally and professionally.
I don’t know about you, but I LOVE being soft. So go ahead, fly & fabulous woman! Don’t shy away from being who you are. Femininity is indeed fabulous!
Abiola: So many women think that it’s about being “hard” and having a “i don’t need a man” attitude. What do you say to those women who insist, “but I don’t need a man”?
I think this short story that I discuss in in the book may capsulize one of the moments when I had an epiphany.
One day, while in a heated argument with an ex, I enjoyed verbal sparring, and debated for fun, thus the moniker “direct” was created; however, on this particular day my ego was crushed when my ex told me something that really hit a nerve. Regarding my tough-as-nails demeanor he said, “If I wanted to date a man, then I would be with one. You will never be as hard as a man so stop trying…”
Honestly, I didn’t want to be a hard woman. Like everyone else, I wanted a safe place to be soft and let my guard down, but I had forgotten how. I had some soul searching to do. The first thing I realized was that I looked soft and feminine on the outside, but my energy, my heart and sometimes my mind was more hard and closed off than I was comfortable admitting. Slowly, the soft journey of discovery began.
This book will also help you to: exit masculine-mode & enter into your feminine energy.