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Why An Independent Woman Is the Role Model For Everyone

Why An Independent Woman Is the Role Model For Everyone

Have you ever read any comments in posts about independent women? If so, you will see a lot of poisonous comments from men who imitate the media in portraying these women as anti-men, resentful, and out to get revenge! There are comments from women’s advocates who say that many women receive rape and death threats on a daily basis. In the past, Hollywood has portrayed women in their films as stereotypes who need men to rescue them from many difficult situations. In spite of all the hype, myths, and futile sexist attitudes that are abound, an independent woman is a role model for everyone. Here are 10 reasons why this is true.

“My greatest ambition is to have a career without becoming a career woman.” – Audrey Hepburn

1. Because she sees the value in education

Many women go over and beyond the lure of looking good and seek out real development as a fully rounded individual. They are curious and want to learn. An excellent example is Emma Watson, who had it all made as an actress and a model. However, she did not stop there. She completed a degree course at Brown University, taking a year off her acting career to do so. This is an inspiring example of a superb work ethic.

“I want to find something that will let me use my brain in another way. I like connecting people who aren’t part of that world, too.” – Emma Watson

2. Because she is determined

Many women face the glass ceiling in their careers and are not put off by this at all. They show persistence and true grit in getting what they want. One example is Hope Powell, who became the first woman to be granted the UEFA Pro License, which is the highest coaching award available in a field which is normally reserved for men. She is one of the 8 women coaches (out of 24) in women’s football and has played a leading role in getting the game recognized and followed by both men and women. She was instrumental in getting the Football Association to take women’s football seriously and has helped to reduce the stigma attached to women footballers.

“Work hard to get what you want. If it’s your ambition, go for it. You don’t have to be the best in the world to make it as an elite athlete. You need to be a grafter and be prepared to sacrifice.” – Hope Powell

3. Because she can communicate clearly

A superb example of somebody who can communicate complex subjects in a simple and easy to understand manner is Stephanie Flanders. She spent two years at Harvard and has worked for the United Nations, the New York Times, and was the Economics Editor at the BBC for a number of years.

Explaining global finance in everyday terms and how it impacts our daily lives was not easy, but Stephanie communicated her deep understanding of finance in a most effective way. Her TV program, Masters of Moneywas an inspirational example. “Stephanomics” has even been coined to express her unique way of communicating complex subjects to the masses. She now works for JP Morgan.

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“Do not be alarmed by simplification; complexity is often a device for claiming sophistication, or for evading simple truths.” – John Kenneth Galbraith, American economist.

4. Because she cares about humanity

It takes courage to act when the migrant humanitarian crisis which is now sweeping the world leaves nations perplexed and passive. We need inspiring humans to show they care and take action. Whether it is taking part in a volunteer group or financing a project for talented girls in disadvantaged areas of the world, the message is the same. Oprah Winfrey has set an excellent example by establishing the Oprah Winfrey Foundation, which helps talented girls in need of a free education. This is just one of the many charities she actively supports

“What material success does is provide you with the ability to concentrate on other things that really matter. And that is being able to make a difference, not only in your own life, but in other people’s lives.” – Oprah Winfrey

5. Because she refuses to be judged by her appearance

Independent women will never fall into the trap of thinking that presenting themselves in a sexualized way is appropriate. She knows that she will be judged on her performance, her abilities, her communication skills, and ways she connects with others. These are the important things she is aiming to achieve. The independent woman will never put her appearance as the number one priority. She will not be brainwashed into behaving the ways that society expects her to. She will never fall victim to emotional and verbal abuse. Sandra Brown’s fascinating book, Women Who Love Psychopathspraises independent women who can do this. These women are inspiring role models to follow.

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6. Because she knows the true value of a relationship

No independent woman needs a loving relationship. She wants one, just like everyone else, and will not compromise on that. She is not prepared to get involved just to help with her rent or because her new partner has a car. Above all, she can balance the need to be alone with her own space so that she can maintain her life without sacrificing personal freedom for the sake of a relationship. She can balance the two successfully. This is a model for everyone to follow.

7. Because she has overcome prejudice and discrimination

According to Pew Research, about 40% of Americans believe that women are expected to reach higher standards when they are promoted to top positions. About the same percentage are not yet ready to elect women to prestigious political posts. Approximately half of the women say that they have to go the extra mile to prove themselves when they get promoted to top business positions. Gender equality in the workplace is still a long way off. Independent women are a great role model to follow as they have often had to fight against discrimination and overcome it.

8. Because she knows that she does not have to copy male standards of leadership

The temptation for many women when they get to the top is to copy the male pattern of leadership. They tend to take aggression, toughness, and competitiveness to exaggerated levels. Hilary Genga, who founded Trunkettes swimwear, says that this is unnecessary and a mistake. Relying on gender role models is foolish.

“Be yourself, and have confidence in who you are. Don’t try to be a man. You made it to where you are through hard work and perseverance, but most importantly, you’re there. Don’t conform yourself to a man’s idea of what a leader should look like.” – Hilary Genga

9. Because she is confident

An independent woman has great confidence. It is a fantastic asset. Many successful women have achieved this by using their common sense, intuition, and people skills to great effect. Preparation is key as Sandra Rowlands, CEO of ReachLocal, has remarked.

“I had confidence in my abilities to run the business. I just made sure that any initiative I was trying to move forward was backed up by a solid business case. I was never unprepared for the questions that I knew would come.” – Sandra Rowlands

10. Because she has achieved a healthy work / life balance

Any working person strives to achieve the elusive work/life balance. When an independent woman achieves this, it is usually because they have successfully juggled the dual relationship of running a home and a business at the same time. It is often difficult to achieve; however, 78% of American mothers who use the Internet are convinced that it is possible to be successful in their career and in parenting. One of the secrets of their success is that they concentrate on running an efficient home, rather than a perfect one.

“I have set clear boundaries around family and work, and I get home for dinner with my kids. Most important, I am present when I am home with my kids. It’s the quality of time, not just the quantity that matters. I know there is always more I can get done at work, but I will never be able to redo these years with my kids!” – Jessica Herrin, CEO and founder of Stella & Dot.

Let us know in the comments how independent women have inspired you to be successful.

Featured photo credit: She’s in Fashion/Lauren Hammond via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on January 16, 2020

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

The way you feel about yourself greatly influences how you live and interact with others. If you are confident about yourself, you tend to see yourself positively and actually enjoy spending time with and around people. You don’t feel self-conscious or awkward around others, and that allows you to live your fullest and happiest life.

However, if you’re drowning in a sea of self-doubt, hesitancy and shyness, you often withdraw and isolate yourself from others and avoid interacting and connecting with people. That anxiety you feel in the pit of your stomach when you are around people is holding you back greatly and it is not good for your emotional health and overall well-being. You need to do something about it if you are low in self-confidence or have friends or family members who are not confident.

“Confidence isn’t walking into a room thinking you’re better than everyone, it’s walking in not having to compare yourself to anyone” – Anonymous

Here are simple, practical tips to boost your confidence right now and make you feel and act your best.

1. Stop labeling yourself as awkward, timid or shy.

When you label yourself as awkward, timid or shy, you sub-consciously tell your mind to act accordingly and psychologically feel inclined to live up to those expectations. Instead of labeling and entertaining negative self-talk, visualize and affirm yourself as confident and strong. Close your eyes for a minute and visualize yourself in different situation as you would like to be.

Be your own cheerleader. Experts believe that positive affirmation and good mental practices like picturing yourself winning or achieving a goal can lead to greater feelings of self-assurance and prepare your brain for success.[1] As the saying goes, “seeing is believing.” Picture yourself as confident and soon enough you will begin to manifest behavior that gives evidence to this new ‘fact.’

2. Recognize that the world is not focused on you (unless, of course, you are Kanye West).

That means you don’t have to be excessively sensitive about who you are or what you are doing (or not doing). You are not on the center stage; there is no need for preoccupation with self and perfectionism. As rap music star Rocko sings, “You just do you and I will do me, aight?”

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Forget about trying to please everyone or being perfect. Trying to be perfect and being a people-pleaser puts too much pressure on you and creates unnecessary anxiety. Besides, people are too preoccupied with their own issues to pay much attention to your every move unless, of course, you are a mega famous, super celebrity like Beyonce or Kanye West.

3. Focus on other people as opposed to yourself.

If you are low on confidence, self-conscious, nervous and shy in social situations, focus your attention on other people and what they are saying or doing instead of focusing on your own awkwardness.

For example, think about what it is that is interesting about the person who’s the centre of the party or the guy or girl you are talking with. Prompt them to talk more about themselves and be genuinely curious and interested in what they say. You will instantly come across as confident and warmhearted.

People generally want to talk about themselves, be heard and understood. They will love it when you’re eager and willing to listen to them and really hear what they have to say.

This habit of focusing more on what you love in others as opposed to what you dislike in yourself will not only help you become more assertive and comfortable in virtually all social situations, but also instantly make you feel great about yourself.

4. Know (and accept) yourself for who you are.

Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu, author of the internationally acclaimed book The Art of War, said, “Know yourself and you will win all battles.” Even in the battle with lack of confidence, you will need to know yourself to win.

Knowing yourself starts with understanding that people are not all the same, neither are all social situation suitable for everyone. You might not be confident in large gatherings, but you could be bold and confident in one-on-one and small group interactions. We all have our own unique gifts and unique ways of expressing ourselves. Embrace yours!

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Introverts, for example, have a quiet confidence that is, unfortunately, often confused for shyness. They are naturally low key and prefer to spend time alone. However, this natural disposition affords them certain unique gifts, such as an ability to listen better than most people and notice things that others don’t.

Your uniqueness is where your strength and advantage lies. You won’t be comfortable and confident in all situations all the time. Albert Einstein said,

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

5. Crack a smile.

If there is one sure way to instantly boost your confidence, it’s cracking a smile. Christine Clapp, a public speaking expert at The George Washington University, says that flashing those pretty, pearly white teeth will immediately make you appear both confident and composed. But, the effect of smiling is not just external. Studies show that smiling can also help nix feelings of stress and pave the way for a happier and more relaxed you.[2]

Not a bad return for something seemingly so trite, wouldn’t you agree?

6. Break a sweat—with exercise.

Working out is another great way to make yourself feel amazing and confident. Science has shown that exercising increases your endorphins, helps reduce stress, tones your muscles and makes you feel happy and confident.[3]

And hey, all you have to do is take a walk a few times a week and you’ll see the benefits. What seems to matter—as far as your confidence goes—is whether you break a sweat, not how strenuous your session is, which is pretty cool. Start working out now.

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7. Groom yourself.

This might seem mundane, but it’s amazing how much of a difference a shower and shave can have on your confidence and self-image. And when you spritz on a scent, the boost on confidence and self-esteem is incredible. As it turns out, your favorite fragrance does more than make you smell oh-so-nice.

A study found that a fragrance can inspire confidence in men. Interestingly, the study also found that the more a man likes the fragrance, the more confident he might feel. Another study found that 90% of women feel more confident while wearing a scent than those who go fragrance-free.

8. Dress nicely.

Another one that might seem trite, but it works. If you dress nicely, you’ll instantly feel good about yourself and give your confidence a real boost. That is largely because you’ll feel attractive, presentable and sometimes even successful in nice clothes.

While dressing nicely means something different for everyone, it does not necessarily mean wearing $500 designer outfits. It means wearing clothes that are clean, that you are comfortable in and that are nice-looking and presentable, including casual clothes.

9. Do activities you enjoy.

Whether it is reading a book, playing a musical instrument, riding your bicycle or going fishing, do what you really enjoy and what makes you truly happy often. It will boost your self-esteem, soothe your ego and allow you to identify with your gifts and talents. That will in turn bolster your self-belief and grow your confidence exponentially.

You might not become popular for doing what you love, but you might not even want to be popular at all. Being popular doesn’t make you happy; doing what you love does.

10. Prepare for the possibility of rejection / setback.

Late World No. 1 professional tennis player Arthur Ashe said, “One important key to success is self-confidence. A key to self-confidence is preparation.” You need to prepare for the possibility of rejection and setback.

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Why?

Everybody suffers rejection and setback at one point or another. You are not exempted. The question on your mind, therefore, should not be if you will be rejected, but how you will handle rejection when it comes.

Prepare yourself adequately in every situation to minimize the risk and effect of rejection and so that your confidence is not broken. For example, learn public speaking and rehearse what you are going to say beforehand if you have landed a public speaking engagement. That way, you are sure of yourself and confident you have what it takes to hack it. If you are rejected, don’t take it personally.

Rejection and setbacks happen to the best of us. Take it as a learning experience. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

11. Face uncomfortable situations square in the face.

Don’t run away from uncomfortable situations. Running away from people or situations because you feel scared, shy or timid only confirms and reinforces your shyness. Instead, face the situation that makes you uneasy square in the face. For example, go ahead and talk to that person you are afraid to approach, or go straight to the front of your yoga class! What’s the worst that can happen?

Prepare and be ready for any eventuality. The more you face your fears, the more you realize you are stronger than you thought and the more confident you get. This simple, yet admittedly courageous, act makes you unstoppable. You get comfortable being uncomfortable and begin to feel like you can take on the world. And that is the hallmark of someone destined for great things.

12. Sit up straight and walk tall—you are awesome!

Yes, sit up straight and believe you are awesome. Don’t slump in your chair or slouch your shoulders. Experts say the right stance can not only keep your self-esteem and mood lifted, but also lead to more confidence in your own thoughts.[4]

The way to sit is to open up your chest and keep your head level so that you look and feel poised and assured. And when you get up, stand tall and walk like you’re on a mission. People who sit up straight and walk tall are more attractive and instantly feel more confident. Try it now: you’ll feel fierce and confident just by sitting up straight and walking tall.

Featured photo credit: Freshh Connection via unsplash.com

Reference

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