Confidence Coaching for Women Over 40: A Complete Step By Step Guide

    Confidence Coaching for Women Over 40: A Complete Step By Step Guide

    Our milestone birthdays (30s, 40s, etc.) resonate with us. My theory is we experience the need to make a mental adjustment when we have a strong reaction to the internal and external changes these birthdays represent. 

    We can tell ourselves “Age is just a number”, “It’s who we are on the inside that counts”, “You are as old as you feel” etc. but if you don’t believe that (I mean truly on the inside) then your confidence can diminish as your age increases. 

    If you are someone who struggles with increasing age this blog will help you.  

    I know from both my clients and my own life, that age affects our confidence - more so when we get to 40 and above. I’m here to share a program of structured confidence-boosting activities that you can follow and benefit from.

    Before I go to the step-by-step part of this blog, I’m going to examine the three topics below. 

    • The challenge of navigating changing roles as we go into midlife
    • The pressure to conform to age-related stereotypes
    • Physiological changes associated with aging may contribute to a sense of vulnerability

    I believe having some understanding of why this phase is challenging will help us build a positive mindset. Having the right mental attitude is important on the journey back to midlife confidence.

    The Challenge of Navigating Changing Roles

    As we navigate through our 20s - a large part of our focus is on ourselves and building our lives. We are finding out who we are, what we are capable of, and what is important to us.  This journey is supported by those around us - our family, friends, teachers, and others.  

    We transition from a child/student role into adulthood. 

    Move forward a few years and partners often come into the mix. Many start having a family. We have added to our roles in life. We are now also a partner and mother. 

    All these roles, career person, parent, significant other, daughter, and other roles we may have, for example in our community.  mean it’s a busy time and we often run on autopilot.  Frankly, autopilot is often the only way we can successfully juggle all our roles and responsibilities and get things done. 

    In our 40s life is busy with work, home, and family. Then at some stage we have a more active role in supporting our elderly parents. Another role!

    The things we once used to pay attention to: what we want, and need to be fulfilled are now taken for granted.  We are at the bottom of the “take notice of” list.  

    So as we stop from time to time during this busy phase of life and take notice of how we are: maybe grabbing a little time for ourselves, it feels unfamiliar and uncomfortable. 

    One of my clients summed it up when she said “I don’t feel that my life fits me anymore”. 

    We’ve gotten out of the habit of considering ourselves in the middle of all these roles.  We are out of date with who we are and what matters to us.  

    Often when I ask my clients what they want their ideal life to contain - they have no idea. They only know what they don’t want, which is a good start, but it’s unnerving when you have no clue what matters to you as an individual. 

    What happens to our confidence?  Surely it’s logical? As we lose our sense of self, our confidence diminishes.   Things we tell ourselves we can do and have proven in the past we are good at, stop feeling possible. We can’t see ourselves in those roles, operating confidently. 

    Then menopause throws us a new challenge, Peri-menopause hits us - often at the same time as our kids are growing up, and don’t need us as much as they did before.  

    Here is this super capable, worldly woman in her 40s who feels lost and unconfident. 

    It’s time to take action. That means not just managing the transition between roles but actively looking for the newfound opportunities arising.  

    Our 40s and 50s are a golden time. A gift from life when we can search for personal growth and fulfillment.


    The Pressure to Confirm to Age-related Stereotypes

    Let’s be honest  - there are two sources of pressure here, external (what society expects people of a certain age to do/behave like) and internal (how our ageism plays out in our lives).  Age-related stereotypes (external and our own), place a huge burden on women over 40.  

    Ask yourself the following questions. Be brutally honest with your answers.

    • Do you think women should gracefully fade into the background as they age?  TIP:  think about your family, and those role models around you. What did they do? Have you - without noticing it - adopted their values? Are you unwittingly living someone else’s story? 
    •  Do you believe that a woman’s wealth of experience and vitality are as useful to the rest of society when she is 60 as they were when she was 30? . 

    What did discover when you considered these questions? 

    Are you aware that the pressure to conform to these stereotypes instills self-doubt in you? Do you believe your attitude to aging hinders the pursuit of your dreams and goals? 

    This section highlights, the importance of recognising societal expectations and stepping away from them. 

    Let’s be empowered together and embrace our midlife journey with confidence. Challenge any preconceived notions about what it means to "age".


    Physiological changes associated with aging may contribute to a sense of vulnerability

    The physiological changes that aging brings deliver a unique set of challenges. I remember experiencing a sense of vulnerability as I approached my late 40s. I have noticed this in the women I work with. We start navigating midlife, but often feel far removed from the once confident person we were. 

    The hormonal shifts taking place during the stages of menopause impact a woman’s metabolism and body composition. It’s perfectly normal for women to struggle with a changing body images, different energy levels, and other mental and physical challenges.  

    Isn’t this exacerbated by society's love of youthful looks? We only have to look at social media, the TV, etc. to see the value placed on anti-aging.  

    Knowing we are judged on how we look - by much of society, leads many of us to find self-acceptance difficult. 

    I certainly struggled with it. I dealt with it by trying to ignore it was happening. This is a dangerous path to follow because, in my opinion, it’s doomed to fail in the end. 

    I wasted all my energy proving to myself I was coping. Refusing to see or admit what was going on.  It was only when my mental health was severely at risk that I sought help. 

    Developing a positive body image and healthy mindset requires us to prioritise health over unrealistic idealism and celebrate the strength, wisdom, and opportunity that this new era in our lives brings us. 

    By recognizing and navigating these physiological changes, women can cultivate a sense of empowerment, focusing on overall well-being. 

    Ladies, it’s time to embrace the journey ahead with confidence.

    How to rebuild your confidence midlife

    Step 1: Redefine What is Confidence?

    Rebuilding confidence is not going to result in you feeling positive and comfortable all the time. It won’t permanently eradicate those butterflies in your stomach ahead of a difficult meeting, or a new experience, or stop you from getting sweaty palms and a racing heart rate when you move far outside your comfort zone. 

    Being confident means you have nurtured a willingness to experience all the above situations, and many others because you trust yourself to:

    1. Know if logically a situation/challenge is within your scope 
    2. Respond in that moment and do your very best. 

    In short, by redefining confidence we can move from a result-oriented confidence to an experiential one. This enables you to successfully navigate the unique challenges a woman over 40 faces. 

    I invite you to embrace a new definition of confidence that I summarise as:

     “I have faith in myself to make the right decisions and act to the best of my ability in any given moment” 


    Step 2: Take Action

    Doing is better than thinking. So start taking action straight away.

    Think of something you want to do but are worried might fail. Now re-frame it so that there is no failure - all outcomes are positive. Take a pen and a piece of paper and write it down. 

    TIP: Start with something that is not too scary. Don't run before you can walk. 

    Would you like to make some new friends? You could find a local book club or other interest group.  

    If you want to feel more confident at work here are a couple of ideas:  Identify a meeting where you can speak out (but start with something minor), or start setting boundaries - once a week promise you will take a lunch break or leave on time.  

    Be realistic. Expect these steps will make you feel uncomfortable. But don’t let that stop you. I promise you that this uncomfortableness springs from the thoughts in your head, and in reality it will be a much simpler that you imagine right now.  I am willing to bet you will be saying “That was OK, what was I so worried about”? 

    From there you can plan more actions and the more you do the more your confidence will grow. Plan something at least once a week and remember the key is to keep taking small steps.  As you gain momentum you can increase the frequency and just watch your confidence grow. 


    Step 3 Boost Your Self-Esteem

    Self-esteem is how you feel about yourself. Do an internal check now and find out if your self-esteem is low. Here are just some of the signs: 

    • Do you find yourself feeling shy - unable to say what you want for example?
    • Are you feeling demotivated or worthless? 
    • Have you stopped enjoying the things that you usually do? 

    The exercises below will help you rebuild your self-esteem. Don’t be fooled because they are simple. They are effective. Do them wholeheartedly. Do them because you matter to you. 

    And please remember you deserve to feel good about yourself. Not for any reason or as a reward. You are enough just as you are. 

    Make a list of your best qualities. Go to town and describe what you have done to demonstrate these qualities in detail. 

    Try imitating someone you know who has the confidence and self-esteem you want to have. Spend time analysing this person and when you have a good list: how they talk, the words they use, how they sit/stand, etc., try to imitate them. You are going to inherit their qualities. 

    Help yourself by wearing clothes that make you feel good. If you feel better with make-up on then go ahead and wear it even if you are at home on your own. Consciously seek ways to feel good about yourself. 

    Consider Your Environment whether it's home, home office or work. Come up with ways to improve your environment and this will in turn lift your energy levels and feed your self-confidence. Get a plant or hang up a new picture? Listen some music that lifts you? Can you give you space a little makeover. 

    TIP: Make sure you tidy your work desk at the end of the day.  

    Do Things You’ve Been Putting Off. When things are hanging over our heads, they weigh heavily on us. Making us feel useless, bad etc.   Start right now- make a list of the top 5things you have been meaning to do for ages and never got around to. 

    Work out how long each one will take, what will give you the best sense of achievement and then put some time in the calendar to get on with them. Start by picking the easy wins and as you feel great you’ll be motivated to get on with the more challenging tasks. This works for home and work. Make a plan and block out time in your calendar. 

    Turn Your Focus Outwards. Make an effort to smile at someone in the street. Pay someone a genuine compliment. Thank someone who has helped you. Actively trying to make someone else's day better will make you feel good too.


    Step 4 Do More of and Less of

    Lack of confidence can paralyse us. We become tentative, even afraid.  This exercise will break the pattern. 

    Start by considering something you do well. It could be meditating or gardening, baking a cake or at work maybe organising the team’s to-do list. Anything counts here no matter how little the thing is.  

    Now actively plant to do these things that you are good at more. Build in regular times when you do them. It’s an easy way to feel more confident.   

    Next consider what you want to do less of,  or stop. These could be behaviours (like never speaking up at meetings or saying yes when I mean no) or they could be things you do, such as a yoga class that you don’t enjoy.  It could be hanging out with a friend that makes you feel drained and bad. How will you action these changes.  

    Decide what you will do more of and what you will do less of. Make a list and action it. 


    Step 5 Remember your Successes and Achievements?

    When we lack confidence We downplay our roles in successes and forget what we have acheived. We stop being our own cheerleader.   It’s time to fix that.  

    Buy a nice new journal and a new pen.  We all love that new notebook moment. 

    Every day for the next two weeks write down one thing you have done (recently or some time ago it makes no difference). Add in all the details you can remember of that event. Emphasise your part in this.  Remember how it felt at the time. Write that down too. 

    By reliving the memories of good things you lock that confident feeling back into the front of your memory banks.  

    Once the two weeks are over notice how different you feel. If this exercise has worked for you then keep on doing it. It’s another easy win. 



    Not all these ideas and exercises will resonate. Be willing to try things and you will find what works for you.  Then it's over to you. Make sure those things that work become part of your every day life.  And remember the wins happen when you are:

    • Consistent
    • Committed
    • Observant (notice if they had a positive effect on you)
    • Organised (build them in every day). 

    When we are not feeling confident, we can accept and get used to feeling bad.  We can even decide it’s too much effort to find ways to feel better. In short we can't be bothered.  All these ideas are quick and easy for that reason.

    Try then all, some will work well for you and some won't.  Those that work are what you can do regularly. Remember doing nothing is a choice. Don't make that choice.

    I have a free eBook for you.  It’s part of my Compact Coaching Series of eBooks. Download your copy here

    I'm here to help if you are overwhelmed and need support. Click here to go to my calendar and book in your free 30-minute chat.

    Email me with any questions I'll always answer. sue@confidencefirstcoaching.com




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