Why is it some women appear to be powerful and successful, and others not? Whether it’s successful in their career, their relationships or simply for themselves, some women just seem to nail it. The good news is there are some things we can do every day to become more successful. Moreover, it can be done in just 30 days.
Part of being a powerful, confident, and strong woman is knowing who you are by connecting with your inner self. Begin by removing the drama, chaos, self-criticism, and other limiting behaviors.
Of course, most of us don’t want to become the stereotypical ambitious woman: the media’s version of the go-getter woman portrayed as hard to get along with, pushy and in it for themselves.
This isn’t what being a powerful woman is about. Being powerful means being authentic to who you are, giving you a sense of calm and the confidence to take actions that you secretly dream about taking.
A woman can do a lot to change herself from a woman who sits idly by the sidelines of life because of her lack of confidence, fear of success or any number of other behaviors, to a powerful, confident woman.
But let’s face it: change can be uncomfortable. For change to happen, though, you have to be willing to embrace the feeling of being uncomfortable. If you’re like most people, you’ll do anything to keep from being uncomfortable. You’ll resist, avoid it, and even procrastinate doing it. You might become moody, sleep too much, eat and/or drink too much and so many other things just to put off making a change.
But you need to realize these actions are not doing you any good. If you want to be powerful, you are going to have to make changes. Here’s a quote that sums it up really well:
“No one is in control of your happiness but you; therefore, you have the power to change anything about yourself or your life that you want to change.” Barbara De Angelis
And if you implement just a few of these tips over the next 30 days, you will begin to become more powerful.
Let’s begin our journey.
Ten Ways Body Language Makes You Powerful
Have you ever noticed a woman who is confident in her power? She looks you in the eye and stands up tall. On the other hand, the woman who lacks confidence will look anywhere but at you.
Here are ten more ways body language makes you powerful.
1. Have a genuine smile. From an early age, we’re taught to smile and nod when in a conversation, to make us likeable. A fake smile can make you look insincere, though. Smile when you first meet someone and when you actually agree with someone. Smile with your mouth, eyes and heart.
2. Assume a powerful posture. Stand up tall and straight with your feet spread just wider than shoulder width apart. Your body is expansive, taking up more space. This is called the “power pose” or “claiming your territory.” People and animals both do it when they are victorious. Even if you don’t feel powerful on the inside, this pose makes you look more powerful.
3. Avoid playing with your hair over your shoulder or constantly fiddling with your jewelry. These are signs of low self-confidence.
4. Be careful not to point, either at people or when making a point. This can trigger the other person’s memories of a nagging mom or mean teacher. When you speak, use an open palm or a thumb-to index finger gesture instead. These are positive non-verbal cues, making you more approachable.
5. Sit with your feet flat on the floor. Put your arms out to the side, resting on the armrest or even on the desk, if there is one. Don’t cross your legs or fold your arms over your chest.
6. Walk into a room with confident movements. Shoulders should be back, long stride and arms at your sides. This makes you look strong.
7. Carry one item only. Carrying a folder, purse, coat and your tablet all at once can make you look disorganized and forgetful. When going to a meeting or event, consolidate your items. Do you need a folder when you can put the information on your tablet? Hang you coat outside the meeting area and leave your purse in your car or room.
8. Don’t over-nod or what looks like being a bobblehead. This is a very common mistake women make. We do this when we want to show our agreement or to be congenial, nodding when the other person speaks. You might think it’s a sign of friendliness, but it can make you look like a pushover too. Nod only when you agree.
9. Keep your body language aligned with your actual words. If you are telling people you are confident then your body language should be projecting that confidence.
10. Slow down. Fast movements are a sign of anxiousness. Your hand gestures, your walking stride, even your speech can make a difference in how powerful you appear and feel.
Your body language says a lot about how you feel. If you enter a room with your shoulders slouched and not looking at anyone, others will think you have no confidence or self-esteem. Become the powerful woman you want to be by changing how your body language is projected. Stand up taller, slow down and practice gesturing with an open palm.
Powerful, successful women may seem to have a sharper mind and more self-confidence than the rest of us. After all, we hear stories about Oprah Winfrey, Helen Gurley Brown and even past successful women like Madame Curie. This is a misconception, though. None of us are born with confidence and no one has confidence all the time.
Women can have particularly low self-confidence. We spend a great deal of time focusing on everyone but ourselves. We find it difficult to take the time to develop our self-confidence. We are encouraged as young girls to be passive and to not be too daring.
Self-confidence is one of the top ways to project your own power. So how do you create a belief in yourself that builds your self-confidence? How do you at least radiate self-confidence?
Here are a few ingredients to try:
Take responsibility for you.
This is the most important ingredient for any woman to have in building their self-confidence. You are the only one who can make changes or create new things happening in your life. Waiting for fate or someone else to provide you with what you want or where you want to be in your life is a huge mistake many women have made or are still doing. Your path toward self-confidence is up to you alone.
Develop an action plan and implement it
Choose one area of your life, either professional or personal, that you want to be more confident in. Determine what steps you need to take to get there. Then do them. Take even a small step towards the goal every day – no excuses. For example, maybe you want your appearance to be more polished. The steps might include:
- getting a new hair style or color
- a more professional make-up application
- having clean, pressed classic clothing that fits well
- buying quality made outfits
Act as if you are confident.
If you don’t do something because you are waiting until you have the confidence, you may never do it. Instead, take action anyway and act as if you have the confidence to do it. It’s amazing how you will begin to feel confident when you are doing what you were afraid to do.
Once you do act, then stick with it.
When you take on a new act or challenge, follow it through. Your confidence builds as you continue to believe you can do something. Sure, you may fail, but look at it as a learning experience and move on.
Find a mentor.
Every one of us knows someone who is confident. Watch them. Talk to them. Find out how they do it. Ask them for their feedback on your plan to build your self-confidence. Most confident people are more than happy to help. They remember the courage and work it took them to get where they are.
Get more involved in roles where you do feel confident and powerful.
This could be an area of your life in which you felt you could lead others without feeling powerless. If you truly enjoy what you are doing, your confidence will increase automatically.
Eliminate negative self-talk.
Always thinking on the positive side of every situation can go a long way in building your confidence. Quit looking at your bad habits, your weight or looks in a negative way. Instead, find one or two aspects every day to compliment yourself on. Maybe you have pretty eyes or have toned arms other women would die for. Tell yourself so. It’s okay to love yourself. In fact, that just might be one of the most important ways to build your self-confidence.
You can be a powerful woman by building your self-confidence. Take steps every day to build up your self-esteem and move toward your goals.
Be Prepared and Polished
No matter what some think, appearances do matter. Whether you are a business owner in a meeting or a mother of three taking her kids to ball practice, your appearance is judged by others. And if you don’t take care of how you look, others will see you as not having self-confidence.
The same can be said for women who aren’t prepared. Setting goals and knowing what you want and how to get there is one form of being prepared.
Other ways to be prepared include:
- Always do your research before going into meetings with clients or customers so you really know what you’re talking about.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you don’t know something.
Being polished is another sign of a powerful woman. As Coco Chanel once said:
A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.
Here are some ways you can look more polished.
- Spend some time on good grooming. Get regular haircuts and manicures and pedicures.
- Take the time to learn to apply cosmetics that work with your skin type, and reapply during the day when needed.
- Keep your clothing clean, well pressed and lint-free.
- Fit is important in your clothing as well. A well-polished woman wears clothing that isn’t too big or small for them. Clothes that slide around on your body or cling too tightly in the wrong places leaves you constantly adjusting your outfits.
- Opt for classic styles, neutral colors and/or clean lines that won’t go out of style quickly. Keep your accessories minimalistic or use only one accessory that makes a statement.
- Buy the best quality you can afford. You can always buy the expensive brand of the garment used at thrift or resale stores, but it’s best to buy new whenever you can.
- Take care of your body. Eat a healthy diet, get regular exercise and plenty of rest. Go for regular check-ups for both medical and dental care.
Being polished and prepared is a step in the right direction of being a more powerful person. Pay attention to how you dress and maintain your body. Even if you don’t feel powerful, you will look the part.
Be Taken Seriously
One aspect of being a powerful woman is to be taken seriously by others. Whether in the workplace or in your personal life, being taken seriously will make you more commanding. The way you say things or present ideas makes the difference between others believing in you and not.
Here are nine ways to look more serious in the next 30 days.
1. Use declarative statements. When speaking, make a statement instead of asking a question. Say, “I think we should…” instead of “Do you think we should…”
2. Get to the point and don’t ramble. This is especially true in business situations. Avoid building up slowly to what you want to say. And once you get to the point, identify the problem, your solution and a couple of minutes of your argument why.
3. Present your ideas with confidence. Talk as if your ideas are the greatest ever.
4. Be aware of how you speak and think before you speak. Use intelligent, strong language. Leave the baby talk and text talk out of adult conversations. Stop saying “like” and “you know” incessantly. Try to use words that express confidence and certainty. Consider how others might take your words before you open your mouth.
5. Act in responsible ways. Do your share of work. Learn how to do things correctly so you don’t break things or mess them up repeatedly. Be there when others need you. Base decisions on what are best for everyone, not just on what’s best for you.
6. Keep your personal life out of your work life. Except with close friends.
7. Mind your social media talk. Don’t write derogatory comments about your boss, the company, your colleagues, or anyone else on your social media pages.
8. Work on changing your attitude. Especially if you are always negative or pessimistic about things. It will be hard, but changing your thoughts is possible.
9. Be humble. Don’t be a braggart or someone who is constantly making excuses for their mistakes.
These nine tips are a good way to begin getting people to take you more seriously. Work on them every day. Think about how you act, what you say and the way you look and how those around you perceive these things.
There are many aspects to what makes you a powerful woman. Confidence, self-esteem, being taken seriously and assertiveness are some of them. Let’s talk about assertiveness now. It is possible it doesn’t come easy to you. You might find it easier to be silent or scream at someone before asserting your own feelings.
According to Wikipedia, assertiveness is:
The quality of being self-assured and confident without being aggressive.
Assertiveness is a core communication skill in everything we do. It simply means you can express yourself in an effective way and that you are able to stand up for your own point of view. It means respecting others’ beliefs as well.
Being assertive can boost your self-esteem while earning the respect of others. Asserting your point of view can help with stress management as well, especially if you are one of the millions of women who take on too many responsibilities simply because you have a hard time saying no.
Assertiveness is not aggressiveness, however. Aggressive people often appear self-righteous; they humiliate and intimidate others to get what they want.
In contrast, passive people often seem shy or very easy going. They say whatever the other person decides if fine with them. They try to avoid conflict. This sends the message that your thoughts and feelings aren’t as important as others.
The passive-aggressive communication behavior means you say yes when you really want to say no. You often complain about others behind their backs. This behavior could be because you are uncomfortable about being upfront about your own needs. This type of behavior can damage relationships and weakens respect.
There are many benefits of being assertive, the least of which is less stress. Being assertive helps you be more powerful, keeping people from taking advantage of you while helping you be more considerate of others.
You can learn to be more assertive. People’s communication styles are developed based on our life experiences. You might not even be aware of how you communicate. You need to learn how to communicate more effectively in order to change.
Here are some tips to help you be a more assertive woman:
- Practice saying no. Start with small things you really don’t want to do. Be direct and say no.
- It’s okay to use the word, “I” to let others know what you’re thinking. Instead of saying, “You’re wrong” say, “I don’t agree.”
- Keep your emotions under wraps. When resolving conflict, your emotions can get in the way. Work on remaining calm. Take a deep breath and keep your voice even but firm.
- Start small. Practice with your partner or a friend if you know you will be facing a difficult situation at work or somewhere else.
- Have a strong handshake. A weak handshake gives an unassertive impression.
- Let go of any guilt. You already know being assertive is tough. It will probably be uncomfortable the first few times you assert yourself. Keep reminding yourself it’s for your own well-being.
- Use assertive communication appropriately. Be an active listener as well as communicating your own needs and feelings in a calm way.
- Don’t take negative comments to heart. When asserting yourself, you might be faced with a challenging person who lashes out in negative ways. Don’t take it personally. It might be that your confidence is scaring a less secure person.
Being assertive is a form of confidence that can make you a powerful individual. It’s not being aggressive towards others, letting others walk all over your feelings or being nice to them and then talking about them behind their back. Being assertive means letting others know you have opinions and feelings.
Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking
Did you know more people fear public speaking than death? You are not alone if you have this fear. To overcome your fear you need to know why you fear it. Fear is simply the anticipation of pain. Once you realize the pain is only imagined, you can begin to overcome it.
But why do you need to learn to speak in public anyway?
Public speaking is a skill that people use every day. We communicate in small groups, in front of large groups and within our work environment. Every single day we get in front of some kind of audience and speak. We live in a world where we are exposed to some form of communication. That means overcoming our fear of public speaking is vital to becoming empowered. Women who communicate well publicly are seen as powerful, confident women.
Public speaking can be beneficial in many ways. It helps you be more confident in expressing yourself. You become more comfortable around other people. Public speaking helps you improve other skills in your life as well, such as your communication skills in personal relationships, your leadership skills and your ability to understand and read other people.
When you overcome your fear of public speaking, you are taking control of how you express yourself in every area of your life.
These eight steps can help you get more comfortable with public speaking.
1. Realize what’s causing the fear and face it. It is the fear of not knowing what is going to happen when you are in front of a group of people speaking. You know your topic so that isn’t what’s causing your fear. Your fear comes from being judged, making a mistake or making a fool of yourself in some way.
Where is that fear coming from? Did you have a speaking opportunity in the past that didn’t go well or were you unprepared for it? Was it something that happened in high school or college? The first step in getting rid of your fear is to realize this happened in the past and you are no longer that same person. Face your fear head on. Use any feedback you may have received to make improvements. When you feel your knees begin to turn to jelly from the fear, remind yourself everyone has fears. It’s a natural part of our lives.
2. Take a deep breath and continue to breathe deeply. Practice deep breathing exercises before you get in front of others. Stand tall and close your eyes. Let go of all thoughts. Just take slow, deep breaths. This will relax you and put you in a more confident mood.
3. Be prepared. Take the time to prepare ahead of time if you know you are going to be speaking. Being prepared makes you more confident that your speech will go well. Gather your materials, learn everything you can about the subject and build an authentic speech.
Take the time to practice delivering your speech ahead of time. Make sure you know what you are going to cover ahead of time. Make a detailed outline and break it into smaller points you can memorize easily.
4. Mind over matter. Dr. Robert Schuller once said:
You are what you think about all day long.
Our preconceived idea about what we can and cannot do can lead to fear of moving forward. If you say, “I am such a terrible speaker” then you begin to believe it. Change the self-defeating attitude. Say to yourself how good you are at speaking to others, how you put them at ease and keep their attention. Visualize yourself giving the perfect presentation.
5. Stand tall and bluff. People can’t see your nervousness. Stand up tall with your shoulders pulled back and your chest out. Smile. Your stomach may be twisted in knots but smile anyway. It makes you look confident and will fool your brain into thinking you are.
6. Practice in small groups. Many small business organizations and clubs have opportunities where you can practice. Join a small group of moms or other like-minded women who are organizing a fundraiser or some other event and speak in front of them, if you have to start small.
7. Focus on your material. The audience is more interested in the information than how you are presenting it.
8. Take a moment. Don’t be afraid of pausing. If you lose track of what you were saying or begin to get so nervous your mind goes blank, stop talking, and take a few deep breaths. This gives you time to regroup and your audience time to absorb what you’ve been saying.
Above all else, don’t take yourself too seriously. Yes, you can be serious but be playful too. Have fun. Realize that every time you speak, you are beating away at your fear. The more you practice and do it, the more confident you become.
Communication is one of the most important aspects in becoming a powerful, successful woman. According to several surveys, about 85% of our success in life is directly related to our communication skills. So no matter how ambitious you are or how well you’ve overcome any of your fears, if you don’t communicate effectively you won’t be able to build relationships or connect with most people you meet.
Learning to communicate effectively with the majority of people you meet can be learned. It requires some time and skill but it can be developed.
How to Develop your Communication Skills
1. Find the common ground between you and them.
2. Make them feel comfortable.
3. Listen attentively to them.
4. Ask open-ended questions about their likes and interests.
5. Make strong eye contact.
6. Talk about yourself through interesting stories or events.
8. Offer encouragement to others.
9. Be aware of your body language as well as theirs.
10. Show your approval by telling them what you admire about them.
11. Repeat their name a few times.
12. Relax and let things flow naturally.
13. Develop your communication skills through writing.
Becoming a more powerful woman means being able to communicate effectively with a wide range of people in many different situations. You need to be able to make others feel comfortable and relaxed. Listening, focusing and making eye contact are all important aspects in being an effective communicator.
What Makes a Powerful Woman
Let’s finish off by looking at what makes a powerful woman.
- A powerful woman is the one who amazes you with their knowledge and their behavior. She’s the one who every woman wants to be. What are the attributes that make a powerful woman?
- She’s always rested. She looks fresh and ready for any event.
- She keeps her emotions in check when she makes a mistake. She doesn’t cry or overreact.
- A powerful woman is always prepared. She takes pride in how she looks. She takes time to spend on exercise and eating healthy.
- She doesn’t allow silly or bad things to break her confidence.
- She walks with a confident stride.
- She is not a drama queen. She doesn’t shift emotions from one extreme to another.
- The powerful woman accepts a situation as it is and adapts to it. But she knows how to set goals and take action to change her situation if she chooses.
- She doesn’t put unrealistic expectations on others or herself.
- She gives of herself in relationships that give back.
- She’s not greedy or needy but instead gracious and caring.
- A powerful woman is often financially independent and responsible for her own financial life.
- She knows her own value. And she knows what she is worth and what she wants.
- She’s assertive without being aggressive. She knows when to say no.
- A powerful woman is happy, confident and able to communicate with almost everyone she meets.
You can become a powerful woman in 30 days by taking these steps and changing your attitude. Become confident in yourself. Show others your power through body language and how well you take care of yourself. Learn to speak publicly and communicate effectively and you are well on your way to becoming a more powerful you.