WHY WOMEN LEADERS GET BETTER WITH AGE!
Women Have Better Leadership Capabilities.
Nobody looks in the mirror and asks “Is my brain shrinking?’ But, many professional women over 40 wake up every day and worry about maturing in the workforce, losing their edge, sharpness and vibrancy, not to mention, their dewy, youthful complexion!
And it’s this lack of confidence about aging as female leaders that contributes to both gender and ageist stereotypes that still exist today, even though women rate better than men on key leadership capabilities.
As professional women we feel our leadership development and career opportunities decrease as we mature. Once we hit 40, most women start to feel marginalized as female leaders and by the time we reach 50 we risk being made obsolete.
And I get it. I’ve felt that way too! But it doesn’t have to be that way! As a professional woman over 50, I know first hand what it’s like to feel invisible and undervalued in the workplace, but I also know how it feels to reclaim your worth in the world to step up as a more confident and empowered female leader.
And you can too! It takes courage, confidence and a few smart strategies!
How To Own Your Worth As A Female Leader At Any Age!
At 39 years old, one of my female executive coaching clients expressed concern, “everyone keeps asking me what am I going to do when I turn 40?”
And there it is! Other people’s expectations of “where to from here?” is manifesting in her mindset, affecting her perception of her worth in the world by believing her time is running out to achieve her career and leadership goals.
Having coached hundreds of female executives in their 40’s, and 50’s reboot their brand and image, I have found this is not uncommon and many feel the same way.
But here’s the truth. Age is no barrier to success and anxiety about ageing as a female leader is more about your own resistance to success than it is about other people’s perception.
Creating deliberate strategies to grow your personal brand, leverage from your leadership capabilities and building a growth mindset will help you step into your full potential to shine as the leader you want to be…at any age!
Why Women Leaders Get Smarter With Age.
Ageism begins early in our culture and according to one of the world’s leading authorities and pioneers in women’s health and wellness, Dr Christiane Northrup, MD, “your beliefs about what a certain age means, are far more powerful to affect your biology than you’ve ever been told.”
We are conditioned to believe that our brains peak at 18 – 26 years of age, and then it’s all downhill from there! Our memories fade, we become less dynamic, and our minds start to S-L-O-W down.
But, research indicates that many brain functions actually increase with age.
This is great news for all mature age female leaders, as we can get SMARTER and SHARPER and remain as dynamic and influential as ever before!
So what’s the secret? Committing to living with vibrancy and healing, and embracing the creative energy within us, to grow stronger, smarter and more empowered.
By releasing outdated beliefs you will have a profound effect on your body and mind.
So, whether you are in your 30’s, 40’s 50’ or 60’s or beyond, you can get brain fit and begin living and leading with more vibrancy, health and connection as a more empowered female leader!
5 Ways For Women Leaders To Grow Smarter And Sharper As You Age.
1. Use Aerobic Exercise To Elevate Your Thought Leadership.
Hit the treadmill!
Ok so we’re all aware of the benefits exercise has on our physical health. But evidence also shows that aerobic exercise is the key to new brain growth or neurogenesis.
Neuroscientist Kirk Ericson from the University of Pittsburgh found that new growth in brain cells is enhanced by the production of the protein BDNF, produced during aerobic exercise. The 2011 study further establishes consistent aerobic exercise improves your cognitive functioning.
The results prove that 20 minutes of aerobic exercise 4 – 6 times a week will produce BDNF in your body, stimulating the growth of new stem cells in your brain, which grow into fully functioning neurons and lead to better brain function.
The leadership lesson here is you will be able to make better executive decisions and create more effective patterns of thinking as you age by adopting a regime that includes consistent aerobic exercise.
2. Use Visualisation And Adopt A Growth Mindset
I am a huge advocate of the power of visualisation and positive thinking as part of strategic leadership development and building the life and career you want. Creating mental resilience and toughness is one of my personal brand success secrets!
Research shows that starting at around 40, you will have a greater capacity to remember positive experiences, thoughts and images over negative ones.
You become more capable of influencing others, controlling your thoughts, regulating your emotions and reading social situations.
These are all top traits for quality leadership today and can not be underestimated. When you practice a regime that includes visualization, positive thinking and mindfulness, you will be seen as a more relevant and connected female leader at any age.
And remember, all successful people focus on growth, solving problems, and self-improvement, while unsuccessful people avoid challenges and changing habits.
3. Get Brain Fit To Avoid Executive Burn Out
As women leaders we pride ourselves on our ability to multitask but we need time out to refresh and reboot.
Most of us have been juggling home life and our career for years! And, if you’re thinking about building a personal brand and image, it potentially means a lot of multi-tasking.
And to make an impact with your personal brand online, you must create a consistent professional imprint across multiple digital channels.
So, multi-tasking can seem appealing. But, as women leaders it can have its disadvantages too.
If you are trying to email while on the phone and surf your social media channels all at the same time, you are spreading your attention over multiple tasks and somethings gotta give.
While you may feel you are an exceptional multi-tasker, it does have a downside to your mental fitness.
Multitasking reduces your intelligence, increases your stress levels, and leaves you vulnerable to making mistakes.
Multitasking places increased pressure on your brain to process things, and may increase the likelihood for you to ‘crash and burn’.
And as a mature age professional woman that can mean disaster for your confidence, energy and attracting greater career opportunities.
So, how do you improve your focus and productivity as a leader without multitasking?
Our brains are accustomed to functioning in today’s fast paced digital environments and are trained to multitask. In fact, you may even experience an emotional high when you do a lot at once and get a little addicted to multitasking.
To balance this you, just as you have trained your brain to multitask, you must re-train it to focus and be still!
Start with spending just 5 – 10 minutes per day, turning off all distractions.
Increase your ‘distraction free’ time a little every day. Begin to organise your tasks into a sequence, doing the creative jobs first. Then, focus on each task independently in order of importance.
By training your mind like a muscle, you will have less time for negative and unproductive thoughts, and you will regain your mental focus.
Your stress levels will decrease, and you will avoid executive ‘burn out’.
4. Sleep And Rest
This one sounds obvious, but did you know, if you get a good night’s sleep, you will promote better brain health?
Your memory and attention will improve, and you will be able to reduce any negative emotions.
If you find it hard to get to sleep, try reducing artificial light, stop watching TV in bed and avoid using a mobile phone or iPad before lights out.
5. Live With Greater Passion And Purpose
“What inspires you to work harder? What does success look like to you? What is your pot at the end of my rainbow? What are your goals and dreams?”
To be doing what you love every day, having goals and feeling a sense of purpose in life, will help you to stay mentally fit.
Studies have shown that people who live life with goals are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
With a clear purpose to work towards, you will be more determined, deal with challenges and adversity better, and be able to focus on the bigger picture.
And in the context of your ongoing leadership development being able to visualise your success and clearly articulate your values, passion and purpose is key to continued growth and success.