How to be a powerful woman? On 1st November, Forbes released their annual “World's 100 Most Powerful Women” list.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel came top for the seventh consecutive year, followed by newcomer Theresa May in second place.
However, it’s not only female world leaders who are powerful in 2017. Charity leader Melinda Gates was third, and businesswomen Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook COO) and Mary Barra (GM CEO) were fourth and fifth on the list.
Reading lists of this nature can be inspiring and intimidating in equal measures – we get to see what is possible, but they can also remind us of how far we have yet to go in achieving our own goals and ambitions.
Here at Forward Ladies, we believe that every woman is powerful, and it’s our mission to celebrate, support and empower you. Yes, you.
We could easily create our own list of powerful women – the nominees, finalists and winners of our annual National Awards qualify in every way.
Alternatively, we could talk about Forbes’ list. However, there are already plenty discussion pieces online.
Instead, we have created our own guide to help you step into your power. After all, empowered women empower women – and together we can make the world a better place.
Wording: Rachel Forcella; Image: DFID - UK Department for International Development, Flickr;
What does it take to be a Powerful Woman?
A Powerful Woman Take Risks.
A powerful woman isn’t afraid to make mistakes. If you want something – go for it. Yes, you may fail. Yes, it may all go horribly wrong. But what if it doesn’t? What if you are successful beyond your wildest dreams?
We recently interviewed Rebecca McCann, founder of Pro Blo Group, winner of the Forward Ladies 2015 Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and the epitome of a powerful woman. She shared with us her favourite quote which sums up this point beautifully, “What if I fall? Oh, but my darling what if you fly?”
A Powerful Woman Says “No”.
As women we’re often keen to be “liked” and therefore struggle saying “no” to things we don’t really want for fear of upsetting or offending others – whether that’s taking on yet another responsibility at work, an invitation for a night out when all you want is an evening on the sofa, or a slice of cake when you’re on a diet.
However, being respected can be a more valuable currency than just being liked. By saying no to things which do not serve you - either in your life right now or the life you are building for yourself – you will immediately feel more powerful, and you will earn the reputation of a woman who has boundaries and knows her own mind.
A Powerful Woman Doesn’t Give Up.
A powerful woman may say “no”, but she doesn’t take “no” for an answer!
No matter how charmed your life is, sometimes things just won’t go to plan. You won’t always get what you want. People will let you down, things will break, and you will get rejections.
Accepting this will make your life easier, but picking yourself up, dusting yourself down and carrying on regardless, while learning from your setbacks and failures along the way, will take your life in the direction you want it to head.
A Powerful Woman Asks for What She Wants.
To quote Alison Parker, Managing Director of Client Network Banking at HSBC – if you don’t ask, you don’t get. A powerful woman doesn’t sit at home waiting around for things to happen to her – she makes them happen!
A Powerful Woman Has Powerful Body Language
Your body language matters more than you may think when it comes to feeling powerful and projecting a powerful image.
Lasting impressions are formed within the first seven seconds of meeting a person, so make sure that you “own” your space, maintain good eye contact and give a firm handshake. And whatever you do – don’t fidget! This immediate relegates you to a subordinate position.
A Powerful Woman Mentors Other Women
As we mentioned above – empowered women empower women. By mentoring others, not only will you help them with their confidence, skills, and advancement, you’ll also remind yourself how much you already know, which will give your self-esteem a massive boost!
A Powerful Woman Isn’t Afraid To Be Herself.
Don’t assume that being “powerful” means you have to be an A-type personality, the loudest person in the room or an “alpha female”.
Being your authentic self will give you an inner power that cannot be taken away from you, and cannot be replicated. Equally, do not be afraid to be a woman – you can be feminine and powerful. Unless it’s your style and preference, don’t feel as if you have to dress like a man, or act in the way that you think a man would in any particular situation.
A Powerful Woman Fights Her Own Insecurities.
Remember that we are all on our own path.
If you look at a successful woman on a stage and she talks about how she runs a 7-figure business, sits on the board of three charities and runs marathons – all at the same time as having 3 children and a dog, remember that she also most likely has a cleaner, a nanny and a dog walker as well.
Or if you see that a competitor has just scored a contract that you would have loved to have won, see that as proof that things are possible, rather than an example of where you have missed out.
You are enough. If you doubt yourself, others will doubt you.
A Powerful Woman Celebrates Her Successes.
Looking back and seeing how far you’ve come is one of the most effective things you can do to help you immediately step into your power.
You can look back over the years and note your big accomplishments – getting a qualification or promotion. But it’s also helpful to look back over the past 12 months and consider what you’ve achieved only recently. And don’t dismiss the little things – if it makes you feel good that you’ve ticked three things off your to-do list this week, then grab a cup of tea/glass of wine and toast yourself!
Still struggling? Write a list of everything you’re grateful right now – this will get you into a positive state of mind and help you to find your power within.
Why not celebrate your success by nominating yourself for an award? Nominations for the Forward Ladies 2018 National Awards are now open – for more details see here: http://forwardladies.com/awards2018/
A Powerful Woman Never Stops Learning.
The more you know, the more powerful you’ll be – and feel.
Read books, take classes, go to events – see personal development as non-negotiable when you’re planning your budget and your diary.
Take a look at the Forward Ladies’ event calendar HERE to sign up for our regular skill-building webinars and training sessions.
Forward Ladies monthly Power Business Breakfast Clubs are held in cities across the UK. For full details see here: http://forwardladies.com/networking-events/
To join Forward Ladies at our 2017 National Awards Grand Final in Leeds on Friday 1st December, book your tickets here: http://forwardladies.com/networking-events/