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The Optimized Woman: Using Your Menstrual Cycle to Achieve Success and Fulfillment Paperback – June 16, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

The Optimized Woman

Using Your Menstrual Cycle to Achieve Success and Fulfillment

By Miranda Gray

John Hunt Publishing Ltd.

Copyright © 2009 O Books
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-84694-198-6


Chapter 1 Why 28 days?,
Chapter 2 How to use this book,
Chapter 3 Getting to know your phases,
Chapter 4 Working with the Creative phase Optimum Time,
Chapter 5 Working with the Reflective phase Optimum Time,
Chapter 6 Working with the Dynamic phase Optimum Time,
Chapter 7 Working with the Expressive phase Optimum Time,
Chapter 8 Introduction to the daily plan,
Chapter 9 The Optimized Woman Daily Plan,
Chapter 10 Done the plan, so what's next?,
Chapter 11 What men need to know!,
Appendix 1: Creating a detailed Cycle Dial,
Appendix 2: Blank Cycle Dial,
Resources and reference,


Why 28 days?

What do women have that men don't?

What if I told you that you had a tremendous power available to you? What if I told you that it would empower you to go beyond your everyday expectations, bring focus and logical reasoning, create better relationships, enhance your problem solving ability, offer creative insight and blue-sky thinking, and finally, create deep insight and understanding?

What if I told you that you are not using the one greatest power source that you have at this moment which could make you more successful at work and in your life? Would you be interested? Of course you would!

And then, what if I said that the answer to 'What do women have and men don't?' is the menstrual cycle.

Bet you weren't expecting this!

Generally the menstrual cycle is seen as an inconvenience rather than an advantage, and the worlds of business, work and personal development have completely ignored a fundamental truth about women: that our abilities change throughout the month.

Unlike men, we have a cycle of mental, physical and emotional changes which impacts the way we think, feel and behave. We have within our cycles a natural, in-built life-coaching model with its own Optimum Times for planning, consolidating, taking action, creative thinking, reviewing and cutting loose.

Where other life transformation and goal achievement approaches go wrong is to force women into a linear structure with unrealistic expectations about the consistency of our mental and emotional approaches and perspectives. This limits us from reaching our full potential in a much wider and diverse range of abilities during our Optimum Times.

With current self-development techniques we are forced into a masculine way of thinking, creating the seeds of failure before we even start towards our goals. And in the business world, rigid working structures ignore our cyclic nature, losing businesses the best creative resource they may have – us!

When we do work in awareness of our abilities and talents as they occur during the month, we can become exceptionally productive and perceptive members of a working team and experience levels of achievement and personal fulfillment beyond our expectations, in our personal and work life.

What are our 'Optimum Times' and how can we use them?

The monthly cycle consists of four Optimum Times. These are days when we experience specific heightened mental abilities, emotional qualities, intuitive awareness and physical aptitudes. On these days we have a unique opportunity to use our heightened abilities in a positive and dynamic way to reach our full potential. By becoming aware of our Optimum Times and the types of heightened abilities they contain for us, and by practically applying these abilities to our lives when they arise, we can not only discover new talents and achieve more, but finally live a life true to our female nature and excel at being ourselves.

Although some generalizations have had to be made for the purposes of this book, including the number of days in the plan, the 28-day plan will help guide you in discovering your own unique personal Optimum Times and abilities, regardless of how regular or how long you cycle is. The Optimized Woman Daily Plan can be used by women with either a natural or a medically managed cycle (for more information see Chapter 8).

Throughout the month most women experience a number of distinct phases. I have called these phases the Dynamic phase, the Expressive phase, the Creative phase and the Reflective phase.

1. The Dynamic phase

This occurs after menstruation and before ovulation. It can be the Optimum Time for mental focus, concentration, learning, researching, structural thinking, independence and physical stamina.

2. The Expressive phase

This occurs around the time of ovulation, and can be the Optimum Time for communication, empathy, productivity, teamwork, supporting others, and creating inter-dependent relationships.

3. The Creative phase

More commonly known as the pre-menstrual phase, this can be the Optimum Time for creativity, inspiration, out-of-the-box thinking, problem identification and problem-solving, and assertiveness.

4. The Reflective phase

This is the menstrual phase itself, which can be the Optimum Time for inner processing, creative reviewing, reaching the core of things, re-framing, letting go, new ideas, rest and renewal.

Most of us try to override this natural cycle of abilities to fit into the structure of the modern world. Without knowledge of our Optimum Times we can often perceive our abilities and ourselves as inconsistent and unreliable, a view that may be shared by partners, bosses and co-workers.

We compensate by working extra hard, producing work which is not to our highest potential, taking stimulants to force our thinking and our bodies into 'the way it should be', and feeling unfulfilled because our life is a constant struggle to fit into a structure which does not fit us. It's a case of a round peg being hammered into a square hole.

The natural monthly life-coach

When we work within our natural cycle of Optimum Times, we also automatically have the skills we need to create success in both personal and business goals.

Most life-coaching methods suggest:

1. Setting a goal then researching and planning incremental steps towards it.

The abilities of the Dynamic phase of a cycle are ideal to apply to these tasks. These can include heightened mental focus and structural thinking.

2. Taking action and building relationships to help us achieve the goal.

The abilities of enhanced communication skills, confidence, productivity and sociability attached to the Expressive phase of a cycle can be used in networking and creating the necessary backing and support for our goals.

3. Using your creativity to actively solve problems and create a clear direction.

The cycle's Creative phase can be a potential powerhouse of inspiration and new ideas. Its heightened intolerance of the superfluous creates a clear focus for our goal.

4. Reviewing progress so far.

The tendency towards inner reflection and review in the Reflective phase of a cycle makes it an ideal time to review situations and goal progress.

Within one monthly cycle we naturally have all the abilities we need to become our own life-coach and to create and support the short and long term changes and successes we want to make in our lives!

Actively using our Optimum Times

When we don't take the cycle into account we can take actions incompatible with our Optimum Time abilities. We may start new projects in a phase which is totally unsuitable, such as the Reflective phase, rather than in an Optimum Time which has the mental, emotional and physical abilities to enhance what we wish to achieve – in this case, the Dynamic phase.

Have you ever started a new diet or fitness regime and broken it within a couple of days? The chances are you started it in the Creative or Reflective phases.

We also tend to hold unrealistic expectations of having constant abilities, which increases our levels of frustration and stress when we don't perform in accordance with these expectations.

In the Expressive phase, when our natural abilities are those of building and supporting productive relationships, it's unrealistic to continue to expect the high levels of mental focus and concentration of the Dynamic phase.

To reach our full potential we need to understand our Optimum Times and to actively use them in practical ways. The immediate response by women to this idea is often:

'You've got to be kidding, it's not like I can change my life / job / boss / the world to suit my cycle!'

This is perfectly understandable and true. We can't yet organize the world to suit our Optimum Times, but we can use awareness and where possible the practical application of our heightened cyclic abilities to create chances to get the best out of ourselves. This gives us the opportunity to shine at work, run successful projects and create the work-life balance we want.

The Optimized Woman Daily Plan is specifically designed to help you become aware of your Optimum Times and to actively use those times to reach your full potential for achieving your goals.

It's important to remember that we are talking about Optimum Times; this doesn't mean that you can't do work or tasks at any other time throughout the month, it simply means that if you match the task to the time you will shine. You may also surprise yourself with the new talents and abilities you discover.

Who is the Optimized Woman Daily Plan for?

The Optimized Woman Daily Plan is designed for any woman who wants to discover the true depth of her abilities and how she can practically apply them to create the life she wants. The plan includes daily actions which target three main areas of life:

1. Self-development: consisting of actions for confidence, self-esteem, creativity, relationships, lifestyle, self-acceptance, exploring what it means to be you, and using the Optimum Times to enhance your sense of well-being.

2. Goal achievement: consisting of actions to identify your true goals, when and what steps to take, how to build motivation, and how to use your Optimum Times to provide the necessary support to achieve your goals and dreams.

3. Work enhancement: consisting of actions which include using your full potential, identifying the right work for you, working more effectively, and exploring the Optimum Time to do tasks and make decisions.

The plan can be used by any woman who experiences a pattern of changes related to her hormonal cycle, including medically managed cycles, ie. using hormonal contraception, as well as women who experience irregular cycles including the menopause. If you have an erratic cycle, or if it lasts longer or less than the 28 days outlined in the plan (and we all experience months like that), the plan is adaptable and designed to give you the ideas and inspiration to create your own unique plan from your personal experiences.

How did the Optimized Woman Daily Plan develop?

In the 1990s I wrote a book called Red Moon – Understanding and Using the Gifts of the Menstrual Cycle. Based on women's experiences of their menstrual cycles, I suggested an approach to the cycle which reflected its effects on women's creativity, mental processes, spirituality, sexuality, emotional healing and well-being.

The initial inspiration for the book came from my awareness of the effect my own cycle had on my work as self-employed illustrator, both creatively and on my business skills. Since the publication of Red Moon I have given workshops and talks in Europe and North America, and the main question I have heard again and again is 'What's the point of the menstrual cycle if I have had my children or don't want children yet?'

It has taken me over ten years of being the creative director of a multimedia development company and an enthusiastic practitioner and facilitator of self-development techniques to be able to answer this question in a way which is applicable to the everyday working environment and to life-coaching methods. The Optimized Woman Daily Plan is the answer.

Every woman's experience of her abilities and Optimum Times will be different and this book uses examples from my own experiences and those of other women to give ideas on what to look for and what to try. Our cycles offer us the keys to a female style empowerment to get ahead in the masculine world, and perhaps this book will inspire the first business or organization to allow women to actively work with this resource!.

The menstrual cycle has always been a part of society and culture and now it's back, and this time it's armed and dangerous!

In the following chapters I will show you how you can use the four Optimum Times practically, in everyday life, at work, and to aid you in creating and achieving your goals. I will also introduce you to the plan and show you how to make it work for you.


• The menstrual cycle is an untapped, potent source of invaluable abilities which can be actively used to enhance our lives and careers and to help us achieve the goals we desire.

• Our cycles can be divided into four phases which contain specific types of abilities and perceptions. These phases are the Dynamic, Expressive, Creative and Reflective phases. Our monthly cycle consists of a repeating pattern of heightened abilities.

• Each phase is an Optimum Time for particular abilities and actions. By utilizing these abilities within their Optimum Times we are able to create better results than we would achieve in other phases.

• The menstrual cycle has a natural life-coaching structure inherent within it. We can use our cycles to support our goals through planning, action, networking, creative thought, and review.

• The Optimized Woman Daily Plan will help you to recognize your natural abilities during the month and give you practical ideas on how you can use them to your advantage. It will also help you to plan actions in tune with your phases at work, and show you how to use the life-coaching aspect of your cycle.

• The plan can be used by any woman with a hormonal cycle, whether natural or medically managed. The plan is flexible enough to include irregular and erratic cycles of more or less than 28 days.

• Your cycle is a practical resource for personal, career and life development and achievement.


How to use this book

I know there will be many readers who will want to get started on the Optimized Woman Daily Plan straight away, and there's no reason you can't turn directly to the plan in Chapter 9. I have however found when working with women on the ideas in the plan that understanding a little more about the changes associated with each Optimum Time and being given additional examples of practical ways of using the associated abilities helped them to recognize what to look for as they experienced their cycles. Also, there are a number of key approaches to the plan which can help it to become more readily an active part of everyday life.

The following section, The Keys to 28-day success, provides guidelines on the best approach for working with The Optimized Woman Daily Plan, and Chapter 3: Getting to know your phases provides a general overview of the cycle and how it works.

When we understand what is happening to us within our cycles, it becomes easier to accept our changes, to enjoy them and to find fun and unique ways of using them in our everyday lives. The chapters on each of the four phases explore each phase in detail, looking at the mental, emotional and physical changes we can experience, and provide practical strategies on using the abilities available in these Optimum Times. They also cover how to avoid expectations and actions which will clash with the phase - it always helps to know what not to do as well as what to do.

The Optimized Woman Daily Plan acts as an initial guide to help you to discover your own Optimum Time abilities and how you can use them to your best advantage. You may want to use the plan as it is, or after trying it for a cycle you may want to create your own plan tailored to fit your unique cycle. To help you do this, Chapter 10: Done the Plan, So what's next? shows you how to create a more in-depth record of your cyclic abilities using a Cycle Dial. Your Cycle Dial can become your own unique power map for getting the best from your cycle and the ultimate guide to unlocking your potential for success, goal achievement and happiness.

The keys to 28-day success

There are five key approaches we need to apply to our cycle to use our heightened abilities in their Optimum Times in a way which is not only applicable to everyday life but actually works. The Key approaches are:

Key 1: Awareness

Awareness is the most important key to releasing our potential talents and working with the heightened abilities of our cycles, and it is the underlying factor in all the other keys.

To fulfill our full potential and perhaps discover new talents we need to be consciously aware of the changes in our bodies, mental aptitude and emotional qualities as we journey through each month.

(Continues...)Excerpted from The Optimized Woman by Miranda Gray. Copyright © 2009 O Books. Excerpted by permission of John Hunt Publishing Ltd..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Ayni Books; 1st edition (June 16, 2009)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 240 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1846941989
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1846941986
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 8.9 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.63 x 0.61 x 8.61 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 115 ratings

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Miranda Gray is an international women's author and teacher of female healing, spirituality and awakening. With experience of actively living in harmony with her cyclic nature throughout her work life Miranda has a unique understanding; an understanding of what it means to be female in a modern world that does not support female energies and female cycles.

She also has a passionate, soul-led drive to guide other women in exploring and discovering this understanding for themselves - and to experience the life-enhancing and empowering gifts of their menstrual cycle.

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