SLAYING "INVISIBLE WOMAN"SYNDROME - Issue #11
Because we've still got a long way to go to be recognised.
Hello there, lovely people :)
Sending out my usual warm welcome, and, if this is your first issue - you’re doubly welcome :)
I hope you are all well and slowly resuming life to something resembling life pre-COVID. We’re supposed to be in high summer, but it seems the weather in the UK doesn’t actually know this (at least up here in the North West), so if you’ve managed to get some sun - I salute you! I hope it’s making all the difference :)
In issue 11, I’m looking at the following:
Invisible Women Syndrome (yes, it actually is a thing!) and how to make sure you don't get affected by it. Well, as much as you can anyway - society still has a long way to go to give us mid-life women the recognition we deserve!
A look at coping with business networking. Since it’s likely that networking events will slowly be resurrected, what’s the best way to approach them and tips about getting the most out of them etc.
A recommendation regarding a book I’m reading currently and am finding quite useful, if a tad spiritual (but heavily backed up with scientific research)
HOW TO SLAY “INVISIBLE WOMAN SYNDROME”
I’ve only recently discovered that being an “invisible women” (generally women over the age of 45 who become less recognised and valued) is actually a “thing”! I’ve been aware of it in my own life for years, and it’s the driving reason why I start the 45 Not Out podcast and this newsletter. And the more I look around at instances where this “thing” occurs, the far more widespread it is than I realise.
So it was absolute glee that I found articles online confirming “invisible women” syndrome did actually exist and also suggested ways to combat this and get yourself noticed. Who knew?
So, what hacks can we employ to become more visible? Well, there’s these for starters:
Being choosy who you socialise with. Don’t be that doormat who puts up with friends who make you feel less about yourself and in a clever, subtle way try to put you down. And they do this purely to feel better about themselves. I put up with this for years as I was desperate for friends and I bitterly regret the time I wasted doing so, and all the negativity I felt about myself. Lesson very much learnt.
Don’t be afraid to shout about your strengths. If you’re anything like me, “bragging” about yourself gives you a bit of a wobble, right? But, unfortunately, the world has pivoted a little, and if you don’t shout, you get left behind. Gone are the days when if you did a good job then you would get recognition and reward. Of course, social media platforms are great for “shouting”. But make sure anything you post reflects your values and beliefs and your “voice” will soon established, heard and understood.
Get passionate about something. Anything that makes your heart sing. It doesn’t necessarily need to earn you money, but there’s no better way to make you feel worthwhile and valid. And start to get noticed at little. I can honestly vouch for this. Since starting the 45NotOut podcast in January 2020 and adding the other platforms to it (this newsletter & Facebook community group) it really has added something to my life. It’s a complete labour of love - I don’t earn anything - but my absolute reward is discovering amazing, awesome women at this stage in life who experience the same issues as me, and finding them flit across my radar as I continue to work on the 45 Not Out brand. Readers, I’m looking at you :)
This is just a few of the things you can employ, but if you want to read more, take a look here
THE RIGHT WAY TO DO NETWORKING
As September is staring us in the face, and with it a slight opening up of business events and networking, it’s likely to be time to get out there and meet people in the business arena again after so long doing nothing like this.
I have to admit, networking was never one of my most favourite things, even before the pandemic. As a freelancer and business owner, I did it because people I respect told me I had to, to get myself known and established - which it did in the early days - but I had a love/hate relationship with it because, I now realise, my expectations were too high. I thought by tripping along to a few events and making new contacts, connecting with them online or in real life, then new business opportunities would flow naturally. All in the space of a few months.
I know now that this idea is completely wrong.
It took the lockdowns to make me realise that. During this time, I reviewed the networking events I attended and why I resented them so much. I realised I’d been attending them with completely the wrong mindset.
So, knowing that at some point the gates would be open and I needed to take a fresh look at networking, I did some research and here’s what the experts recommend for a successful networking experience.
DECIDE WHY YOU’RE THERE
As I said above, previously I’d only been there in full “hunter” mode. I was only there to find potential work contacts. Being in that frame of mind, I probably gave off the hunter vibe and that’s why I never seemed to enjoy the events. I was never there purely for the pleasure of meeting like-minded people - whether they were business owners or not.
DON’T BE TOO DISMISSIVE
It’s always a pleasure meeting new people and hearing about their jobs and experiences and that is the mindset with which I’m now going to attend any events. I’ll ignore the thought that “is this person likely to give me any work” and just establish a relationship. And if anything comes from our conversation in the future, then that’s a bonus. Quite excited to get going in this new mindset, actually ;)
BE IN IT FOR THE LONG GAME
I know now networking is all about connecting and nurturing. It’s very easy to accept someone’s Linked In connection request and then leave it at that. I’m now going to accept connection requests, send gentle, friendly messages and ensure I keep in contact, purely from being a fellow human-being aspect, not the work-chasing robot I was in danger of becoming.
So, if your job or business entails you getting out there and networking, I hope these little tips help. But please know I’m writing this article as much for my benefit as yours, dear readers. And if I end up at the same networking event as you - do come over and say hi. I’m a reformed networker, remember :)
BOOK RECOMMENDATION - This Difficult Thing of Being Human by Bodhipaksa
I’m learning from new research that’s published, that self-compassion is something that’s very worth developing. As mid-life women we aren’t very good at this, are we? I think it’s partly a generational thing - putting everybody before ourselves - and also a generic woman thing too.
I say that self-compassion is worth developing because it’s so powerful. It not only makes you feel better about yourself, but once you’ve got a good level of compassion towards yourself established, that compassion trickles over into areas of your life. Not least your relationships. And, as you can imagine, that can be life-changing.
In looking for something to explain the concept further, I stumbled across this book from the website Wildmind. Launched and produced by Bodhipaksa the book is all about how you can start to show yourself enough self-compassion and how to integrate it into your life. Bodhipaksa outlines different techniques you can adopt (largely based on Buddhist principles and beliefs). The rewards in working towards this? Living life on a much better plane than the one you inhabit currently
I haven’t finished the book yet, but I’ve incorporated some the of the techniques he outlines and, even at this early stage, I have seen some small changes in my day to day life.
As Bodhipaksa is a devout Buddhist, I was worried initially that the book would be far too spiritual and purely a tract to promote Buddhism. But, it’s far from that and all the techniques and strategies he talks about are also quoted in scientific study and he references each one. And, I think I’m right in saying, some of these techniques he references are being researched and adopted into mainstream psychology and therapy treatment gradually.
You can buy the book here, if you’d like to read more.
So there’s your issue #11. I hope you found something in there that resonated with you. If you’d like more of the same in between the fortnightly newsletter issues, as I mentioned above I also run a burgeoning Facebook Community Group, and it would be great to have you along. If this is you, send a request to join. It would be great to have you along
In the meantime, I wish you health & happiness. Oh, and better bloomin’ weather!
Till a fortnight’s time