Image Ability | Blog: Three women, one continuous thread
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As a child, I remember the morning race to the market on the 8th of March for the most excellent bunches of snowdrops, catkins, occasionally hyacinths and daffodils and the more exotic freesias. One common thing was the red and white thread which kept them together. A potent symbol of renewal – the white signifying the purity of the new start and the red, the fresh new blood and energy for the things to come.

This day is celebratory for the universe of ageless women: mothers, grandmothers, sisters, daughters, friends, and colleagues. I cherish the opportunity to be part of their story at various crossroads in their journeys. For me, they are a most diverse bunch of flowers tied by a red-and-white thread.  

If you think this piece is about age or appetite for things digital, it isn’t! As we live longer, we will likely experience more careers and various relationships with our work, taste, bodies, aesthetics, technology and confidence – in a nutshell, our overall image. Five skills fundamentally shape yours, and mine and everybody else’s: curiosity, creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and change management – and they are valid across generations (the ‘5C skills’, Susan Wilner Golden) 

So, which of the three multi-generational women are you now – and which one is your  ‘image forward’ to thrive in?

  1. The growing woman  [Growing SHE]

You spurt into growth; whatever happens around you, you are unstoppable. This is you as you have just started – or it may be you having already been experimented in at least one other role – undoubtedly also with fashion and trends! You do things, not only rant about what doesn’t work, you try, experiment, and share your wins, but you are also learning to fail.

The sooner you do the latter, the better you pick yourself up again – and, given a bit of time, you are becoming a powerhouse. Your energy and curiosity re-ignite you, making you stronger and wiser every time. Perhaps you don’t even notice that people are following you for how you project yourself.

2. The woman with identity [Identity SHE]

Your career is taking shape, and your family is growing nicely. 

You nurture them both while continuing to learn. Life is getting more settled; parenting is so unbelievably rewarding – and you are also growing your team and credibility at work. With grace and strength, you are learning to give care as you are now in a generational sandwich. But despite the sometimes-hectic days in and out, you feel safe (financially, at least) and respected.

You may have found the sweet spot of quality, fit and design – and your behaviour and taste may already make you a trendsetter. You don’t even realise how you have become a role model for others – definitely not by being beige or boring!

3. The woman re-explorer (Re-explorer SHE]

You have accumulated experience and skills and want to make the most of both. You thrive on long-life learning, healthy living and inspiring others to do the same – to make the world a better, albeit changing, place. But as it happens to a plant, your roots may have overgrown your pot – so get a new one. Now you can re-purpose your skills and wisdom and re-launch your new growth into what you have always wanted to do but never quite got all the ducks in a row. It is time to give yourself permission to set your new priorities and goals.

Your transitioning and re-crafting time are now, so give yourself the grace to get on. Spread your wings into new domains and at the edges of those you know about. Let unexpected innovation happen.  Do that while keeping your eyes on the bigger picture of your mission and partner with others to look after the details – and transition your legacy.

Interpret the trends and make them work for you. Your image is authentically aligned with your values, experiences and goals. You are cool!

So, have you found your identity amongst the three women with multiple crossroads – and each with image challenges sprinkled everywhere?

As your new goals emerge, it is natural to feel the need to re-frame what it means to have a good image (and style) from the inside out. But, if those new goals don’t emerge naturally, it means that you may be stuck in transition and could do with some help. Because irrespective of the change which happens in your body, mind, role, mobility, talent, or taste, you can grow, inspire, and fly higher.

Every woman is a potential powerhouse – if she allows herself to be. Whether you are at the top of your game – or not yet, clear about your identity or well-settled and happy in the old ways, re-exploration is an organic life stage. Wherever you are, you are both fuel and inspiration – so keep on doing the image literacy work for yourself, first and foremost. So many other mothers, colleagues, daughters, friends, and employers will thank you for the authentic you that you have become.

So, I’ll leave you with three things to do:  

  1. Identify which of the three women you are now, even by proxy…
  2. Imagine your next point of inflection.
  3. Set a goal imagining the woman you wish to evolve into – imagine and work on your image forward.

There is image support, an ability path, and a design toolkit to get you there.

And as new terrain conditions require new navigation, here is a treat for yourself on your very own day:

For a dollop of practical image literacy, start with Image Fundamentals.   And if you are struggling with change as a guide to a better you, join Image Growth in a Time of Change. And when you enrol in both simultaneously, you are in for more celebration. Just drop me an email at [email protected].

You are most welcome!

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