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Coming to terms. We all are confidently a WIP.

Guadalupe Hirt, 47, Co-Founder & CCO of SecondAct|Women

Through our work with SecondAct|Women, we’ve heard a lot of different words used to explain where some of you are in your second act. We’ve heard words like beautiful, badass, strong, and powerful. We’ve also heard words like scared, lost, lonely, and unconfident – and in many cases, from the same women. News flash. We all are Works In Progress (WIP).

For starters, let’s agree that both sets of these words are normal and okay to feel. There is not one person alive today that does not have their own internal bouts with self-doubt and lack of confidence. “A year before her book Lean In was published, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg shared, ‘There are still days I wake up feeling like a fraud, not sure I should be where I am.’

But the opportunity for self-growth and learning lies in how you internalize these words and emotions and then act on them. These two sets of words offer a pendulum that can take you from pompous and arrogant to disheartened and disappointed. The key is finding that middle ground, that place where you feel in harmony with the best version of yourself which can only come from internal strength and genuine self-confidence.

So, you might be asking ‘How do I build my internal strength and self-confidence?’ The answer starts with accepting you are a work in progress (we all are) and giving yourself the grace and time to grow into the best most confident version of yourself.

For starters, here’s a few things self-confidence is not:
an innate, fixed characteristic or acquired skill.
about being perfect or having all of the skills needed to complete a task or job.
being right or knowing everything.

Self-confidence is carving your own path to success and learning how to identify and tackle head on the mental obstacles that hold you back from taking inspired action.

Here’s the top five ideas I loved from the article 40 Ways to Boost Your Confidence After 40 by you can put into action now to boost your self-confidence and build your internal strength.

Write Down Your Achievements | It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day stuff that you can become disconnected from all of your accomplishments to date. Y’know, all the things that got you to where you are. Taking a moment to remind yourself of what you’ve achieved to date is a quick and easy way to bolster morale—especially when you’re feeling a little stale.

In fact, this is why we started the Friday Good News on the SecondAct|Women Facebook group. We need to celebrate all the little and big things we are doing, because I know you’re out there kickin’ booty!

Adopt Some New Habits | The smallest changes have the biggest impact. Pick one to do every day—maybe it’s drinking more water, or going to bed earlier, or cutting back on social media use—and stick with it for a month. Once you’ve hit the 30-day mark, you’ll feel like a million bucks.

I used to be a runner until I injured both of my knees. I didn’t want to give up going outdoors, so now I walk a minimum of 10,000 steps during my daily morning walk!

Get As Good As You Give | Being kind to others and being generous with yourself and your time and what you have, is a fantastic way to improve your self-image and bolster your confidence. When you follow the Golden Rule to a tee, you’ll internalize the idea that you are a good person.

This is hands down my favorite tip! I strongly believe in karma and what you put out there is what you get back. Giving back does wonders for you in the moment AND has lasting positive vibes that have taken me on rides that last days if not weeks.

Redirect Negative Talk | If you have friends who are always talking about how much they dislike their bodies, do everything you can to get the conversation on a positive track. Negative talk about one’s self is highly contagious. According to research published in Psychology of Women Quarterly, when women hear their friends complaining about body image, they tend to join in, leading to a spiral of body shame and bad feelings.

Guilty. I know I’ve done this many of times and this is a WIP for me. Perhaps let’s take the challenge together? In the next week, jump start one positive body image conversation with someone and see how your friends respond. I love how our very own SecondAct|Women Theresa Byrne shifts negative body image group conversations. It’s truly masterful!

Take Some Risks | Once you reach 40, you may find yourself becoming more risk averse. That’s understandable. You probably have more to lose now than you did in your 20s. Thing is, taking risks can result in a massive confidence boost. Once you take a chance—whether it’s quitting a job you hate and moving across the world, or something a bit more tame, like going on a white water rafting trip—you may well feel a sense of invincibility and confidence.

Yes, yes, and yes. I think I’ve taken more risks in the six years after turning 40 than I did in my whole life! It’s scary as hell, and I’ve had my fair share of failures, but the lessons I’ve learned and the sense of fearlessness that’s been growing inside has been phenomenal. I also now find myself more apt to take on more risk that have opened doors to learn things about me that I would have never learned had I stayed safe and pseudo content.

Action: Pick 1-2 ideas you promise yourself to start and then….just do it! Remember, it’s not about being perfect or getting it right, it’s just about doing it and showing yourself, you can and you did. 

Guadalupe Hirt (46) is the co-founder and CCO of SecondActWomen. Founded to rescript the social narrative that women 40 & 50+ are past their prime, SecondActWomen is an IRL and virtual club platform that doubles as a resource hub and community support system to spur the careers, business ventures and big ideas of women in middlescence.