Three Gifts for a 20-Something (159)

Every time I interview a 40-something woman for 40:20 Vision I ask them what three “gifts” would they give a 20-something if they were a “Forty-Godmother”. Herewith, there wishes to help you get a head start on perspective and gain confidence making decisions that are right for you.


1. Pass on the fruits of your battles…make it easier for the next woman to get where you are today.

I think in the past the sentiment from women at the top was, ”It took me all these years of blood, sweat and tears to get here and I’m not make it easy for you to get here.”  So now we have this perception that women don’t help women. They realize that they occupy a very exclusive space and they don’t want that space being crowded by other people like them because then they’re not special anymore. I think that is changing. It’s difficult sometimes. I mean men can be difficult to work for and women can be difficult to work for…but it’s glaringly true that it was much harder for the woman to advance at the top rungs. So…I’m going to make it easier for you to get here. I don’t mean you don’t have to put in hard work…but I’m not going to put up any false barriers based on ego or gender. That then becomes part of my success. That’s how I feel special.

2. Find a powerbase.

Women have to do a better job of helping one another and create powerbases for themselves.

3.  Dress with respect for yourself and others.

Go with what makes you feel strong, whether that is high or low or short or long. But ask yourself,  “Why are you putting this on? What is it that I’m trying to actually accomplish?” Is it because you feel comfortable in it and feel confident? Then go for it. On the flip side if you are trying to make up for not feeling confident by focusing attention on how you look  – then you are just undermining yourself.  Whatever you choose – make sure it doesn’t distract you from what you need to do and what you need to get across …that will distract the whole dynamic of the meeting.

 — 40-somerthing, Washington DC

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