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Do You Have FOSO? How to own your value in midlife

It’s a thing - and you might have it.

The most accomplished women we work with in their 40s, 50s, and 60s have FOSO – fear of standing out. It’s a term EvolveMe coined after seeing women in midlife miss out on opportunities because they lacked the confidence to share their gifts and talents with the world.

Here’s how to figure out if you have it too…

You’re among friends. Let’s get real. Which of these are holding you back from showing your worth?

  • No one wants to hear from me - I’m not relevant anymore.

  • No need to promote - my work should speak for itself.

  • I don’t want to brag.

  • Team players shine the light on others, not themselves.

  • I have no idea what to say.

It’s ok if it’s all of the above! EvolveMe is here to help!

One thing we can tell you is that your work can’t speak for you - only you can! And you DO have unique ideas to share. Think about it. Your perspective is unlike anyone else’s because it’s YOU. And it’s not bragging when you spotlight yourself to add value and contribute. 100%.

Where are you right now? Are you…

  • Thinking about a career change?

  • Considering starting a business?

  • Contemplating a return to the paid workforce?

  • Struggling to feel valued in your job?

  • Positioning yourself for a raise?

Getting comfortable with taking pride in your achievements and sharing them with others will boost your confidence and get you farther, faster.

After all, it’s no secret that self-promotion is linked to career advancement. If you can speak compellingly about your accomplishments, you’ll have a better chance of being hired or promoted, getting a raise, or making a successful career change. But no one teaches us to promote ourselves.

In fact, conventional gender stereotypes call for women to be understated rather than “show-offy.” And studies show that women don’t self-promote as much as men. Why?

According to research, when women are assertive about their skills, they're liked less, which impacts their self-esteem. Many girls are given the message that to be accepted, they need to keep their accomplishments to themselves. And this can be soul-crushing and damaging for their future careers.

On top of that, women often lack the vocabulary to speak positively about their professional achievements.

It’s no wonder we shy away from self-promotion. But we can learn to “brag” in a way that feels good to us. Grow it like any other skill in your professional toolbox. Remember, you're the only one responsible for your own career success.

Let’s turn bragging into a positive — a way to own your value and make your knowledge, skills, and aspirations known. (Doing a good job won’t get us to the next level if no one knows about it!)

Don’t miss out from standing out. Let’s get rid of FOSO - together!

It’s time to shine. Especially when the world of remote/hybrid work is constantly changing and we’re all recasting how we connect. Take it from a woman in the EvolveMe community:

Linda and Judy - I wanted to let you know that my LinkedIn post featuring the #40over40 on your site got well over 3x as many views as any of my other recent posts -- 1400+!...I really appreciate the opportunity it gave me to make a piece of my story more visible. -- Michelle

When you invest in your visibility, others will start investing in you, too. How to take the first step?

#1 Start by aligning past achievements with your current goals. Then think about being proud, not bragging. For example:

When I was at ___ company, I was proud of…

Better yet — ask the other person what they’re proud of, too, so it’s a conversation. In this way, self-promotion becomes a benefit to others, too.

#2 Feel like it’s hard to tap older networks? Use sharing your accomplishments as a jumping-off point to renew connections.

When you make “bragging” a way to share what you’re excited about, it gives the other person an opening to help you.

Only when others know what you’re capable of can they figure out the best way to support your goals. Try:

“Recently I _(accomplishment)__ and I’m considering _____,” and then ask questions such as: Do you have any feedback? Do you know anyone else I should connect with?

#3 Make it a habit! Like any new skill, it takes time and practice to grow your self-promotion muscle (21 days!). If talking about yourself isn’t your strength, adopt a growth mindset, and know you can grow at any age or stage.

Start by sharing with yourself first. Write down one professional accomplishment each week. Then share with one person in your network who you know is rooting for you to succeed. Or become self-promotion accountability partners and exchange weekly achievements!

Practice this with all your wins, big and small.

If you get comfortable with “bragging,” you’ll make it easier for the next woman to do it.

And then you’re bravely changing the game for ALL women.

Are you thinking about relaunching or changing careers? Check out EvolveMe’s Get Going! Guide for career reinvention. This free resource starts you on the critical first step to successful professional change - the step we see hundreds of women skip over - gaining clarity about who you are now and what you want in your career.

Get ready - with us - to share what you’ve got. Don’t go at it alone! We’re better together.


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