3 Ways for Midlife Women to Power Up Their Confidence in the Workplace

career advice mindset Dec 06, 2021
black professional doctor

As a professional woman at midlife, it can be easy to fall into the trap of following the same routines, habits and even hanging with the same group of people within your organization. In turn, this can frequently take away from the joy and excitement of your work and career. Worse, it can hinder your professional growth.

It's essential to stay in a consistent state of learning, expanding your horizons over the years, even if you've gotten comfortable in your current role. This guarantees that you'll remain in a growth mode and gain greater confidence. Networking with new people, taking on an unfamiliar project, or even pursuing a career path within a different department are some of the approaches you can take to feel motivated and inspired in the workplace.

While you're looking around for and taking advantage of the growth opportunities around you, there are some key ways you can increase your self-confidence while you're leveling up.  First and foremost, confidence starts with your thoughts and managing your mind. Once you've established that practice, here are three additional methods that will power up your confidence in the workplace!

Upgrade Your Professional Wardrobe

Nothing can help boost your confidence, quite like your personal style. The clothes and accessories you wear will allow you to demonstrate who you are from the inside out. You can use patterns, prints, colors, accessories, and staple pieces to communicate who you are, your values, and even your goals. You must have an understanding of how to leverage your image for success. You'll tend to be either trendy or overly professional if you're unsure who you are or how to communicate that through your image. Learn how to showcase your uniqueness through your professional wardrobe. Part of building your presence is also understanding the environment where you'll find yourself. So while you're considering your office protocol, do so in alignment with your style and image archetype so you'll feel confident in every setting in which you find yourself.

If you don't know your professional style, one that you're proud to sport in-office or on Zoom and feel confident in, now is the time to connect with an image professional to figure it out.  Regardless of your style, you want to start with the basics. You'll also want to pay very close attention to your accessories. Your accessories can elevate an everyday outfit, solidify your style statement,  and boost your self-esteem. This could be as simple as hoop earrings or more pronounced like a bold chunky necklace. Don't forget that your eyewear is also a critical part of your accessories and style statement.

Swap out your current eyewear for some new prescription glasses to compliment both you and your professional wardrobe. Whatever additional accessories you choose to incorporate into your image, be sure that it serves to support you and your confidence as a professional.

Invest in Your Professional Development

Be sure to place yourself in positions and communities of learning. Whether you're attending professional developmental trainings, conferences, or participating in group coaching or mastermind programs, it's imperative that you invest in your personal development. In fact, it should be an ongoing part of your career management plan. Even if you've been at an organization for several years or are an expert in your field, you always want to find ways to level up your knowledge and skills. 

In the current economic climate, upskilling and reskilling are necessary to remain relevant. New jobs, roles, and opportunities are being created daily, and advancements in automation, technology, and A.I. (artificial intelligence) will require you to understand how to leverage these systems in your role. As a midlife professional, you're more susceptible to ageism and biases around your relevance and competency in the new age of work. Therefore, developing your skills and staying current on trends in your industry will bolster your confidence and showcase your relevance further within your existing career or in a different job or industry quickly and efficiently.

In response to these changes, many organizations have become learning centers. Look for current training opportunities at your company. If not, there are several other resources available that you can utilize. This does not mean you need to go after another degree or certification. Traditional university and educational models are working desperately to maintain their relevance in the future of work. The way educational models are currently structured by the time you graduate, the knowledge you've obtained is outdated or irrelevant. The fast and changing pace of the world today requires on-time learning that can help you hit the ground running immediately. Use real-time learning portals to build confidence in your skills like Grow with Google, Microsoft Learn, or LinkedIn Learning training.

Don't forget to directly reach out to your manager or another leader within the organization to discuss learning and growth opportunities. It's a fantastic way to network,  increase your visibility, and potentially open doors you didn't know were available to you before...a definite confidence booster. Of course, there are many other ways you can continue to grow and develop your skills as a midlife professional, but it's up to you to go for it.

Focus On Your Strengths and Your Wins

You've heard the phrase, "what you focus on expands." It means that you'll increase and get more of whatever you focus your time and energy on. We live in a fast-food society where we want instant gratification, and once received, we're on to the next. It's a rare occurrence to stop, reflect, and even celebrate the successes and wins you've achieved over the past day, week, month, or even year. Even the thought of spending extra time to celebrate yourself may feel useless, selfish, and a bit insane. But if what you focus on expands, focusing on your achievements will position you for more. Celebrating your wins strengthens your confidence muscle and increases your belief in what's possible for your future.

In addition to taking time to note and celebrate your wins, you also want to reflect on the innate talents, gifts, and strengths that helped you achieve your success. You mustn't lose sight of what you're good at or undervalue what you bring to the table. When you understand your strengths, you can become a better advocate for yourself at your organization, feel greater confidence in negotiating your salary or raise, and are more equipped to slay the imposter syndrome dragon. For example, if you know you have strong communication skills, take advantage of opportunities that will allow you to showcase your presentation skills or help people who are struggling to have those difficult conversations with a boss or co-worker. You'll likely feel more confident when performing specific tasks and showing off your superpowers.

While it's essential to be a continuous learner, developing new skills, spend time honing what you already bring to the table. What strengths or natural gifts do you have that have driven your success at work?  Write them down, and be sure to add a few supporting facts and details where you've demonstrated this competence. Having a list of one to three examples can make it easier for you to recognize your strengths and give you actionable items to speak to as you prepare for essential career conversations or professional interviews in the future.

If you're not sure what exactly your strengths are, do not worry. You can find your top strengths by using the FREE High5Test, similar to Gallups StrengthsFinder.

Women struggle with being their best selves and feeling unstoppable confidence in the workplace. It isn't always as simple as it may seem, but it's certainly possible. Remember to start with your self-talk and thoughts about yourself, your abilities, value, and what you have to offer. This will reveal where you are with your self-confidence. That's where it all indeed starts. Then you can use and effectively apply these tips to great success throughout your career. Regardless of whether you're working remotely or in-office, these hacks will help you show up as the powerful professional woman you were always meant to be.

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