Why do women leaders get better with age? Because, as women, we have better leadership capabilities. Let me explain…
Nobody looks in the mirror and asks, “Is my brain shrinking?’ But, many professional women over 40 do wake up every day and worry about maturing in the workforce. We stress about losing our edge, sharpness and vibrancy. Not to mention our dewy, youthful complexion!
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 this 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?” manifest in her mindset. It affects the perception of her self worth and belief that her time is running out to achieve her career and leadership goals.
And there it is! Other people’s expectations of “where to from here?” manifest in her mindset. It affects the perception of her self worth and belief that time is running out to achieve her career and leadership goals.
As a personal brand and business coach for executive women and small business owners, many of whom are in their 40, ‘s, and 50’s, I have found this is not uncommon, and many feel the same way.
But here’s the truth. Age is no barrier to success. Anxiety about ageing as a female leader is more about your resistance to success than other people’s perception.
Creating deliberate strategies to grow your personal brand, leverage your leadership capabilities and build 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. Then it’s all downhill from there. Our memories fade, become less dynamic, and our minds start to S-L-O-W down.
But, research indicates that many brain functions increase with age.
This is excellent news for all mature female leaders, as we can get smarter and sharper and remain as dynamic and influential as ever before! So what’s the secret?
Commit to living with vibrancy and healing and embrace your creative energy to grow stronger, smarter and more empowered. By releasing outdated beliefs, you will profoundly affect 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! 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 protein BDNF, produced during aerobic exercise. The 2011 study further establishes that regular 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 that you will be able to make better executive decisions and create more effective thinking patterns as you age by adopting a regime that includes regular aerobic exercise.
2. Use Visualisation And Adopt A Growth Mindset
I am a massive 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. You are a more empowered and connected female leader when you practice a regime that includes visualisation, positive thinking, and mindfulness.
And remember, all successful people focus on growth, solving problems, and self-improvement, while unsuccessful people avoid challenges and changing habits. So what path will you choose?
3. Get Brain Fit To Avoid Executive Burn Out
As women leaders, we pride ourselves on our ability to multitask, but we need time 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 much multitasking. And to make an impact with your personal brand online, you must create a consistent professional imprint across multiple digital channels.
So, multitasking 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 simultaneously, you are spreading your attention over multiple tasks, and something must give.
While you may feel you are an exceptional multi-tasker, it does downside your mental fitness. Multitasking reduces your intelligence, increases stress levels, and makes you vulnerable to making mistakes. It also 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 attract more significant career opportunities.
So, how do you improve your focus and productivity as a leader without multitasking?
Our brains are accustomed to fast-paced digital environments and are trained to multitask. You may even experience an emotional high when you do a lot at once and get a little addicted to multitasking. To balance this, just as you have trained your brain to multitask, you must re-train it to focus and be still!
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?”
Doing what you love every day, having goals, and feeling a sense of purpose in life will help you 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 focus on the bigger picture.
And in the context of your ongoing leadership development, visualising your success and clearly articulating your values, passion, and purpose is key to continued growth and success.
Establishing An Authentic Personal Brand and Image Is The Fastest Way To Grow Your Impact, Influence And Confidence As A Female Leader.
Sick of being overlooked and undervalued? Want to be paid your worth and recognised for who you are and all you bring to the table?
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