Coaching many women lawyers and professionals, I am consistently struck by the common threads I hear over and over that are, frankly, distressing.
To set the stage, a typical coaching intake session consists of learning about the clients’ present business generation efforts, whether they are “fishing in the right ponds” and if they have a written business plan, how they are implementing it on a regular basis.
During the course of this process, I learn so much more. I learn about the clients’ perceived obstacles, weaknesses and a ringside view of their challenging day-to-day. Almost without fail, I learn very personal details about their lives, which may include the state of their closest, most intimate relationships, how they feel about their work and their life circumstances.
Mind you, I am not a trained nor licensed psychologist, counselor or social worker though I function as a sounding board, sideline cheerleader and business coach.
Among the insights clients, usually female, share with me is how much they struggle with their physical health in the sense of staying physically fit with their grueling professional schedule. This in evidently leads to some version of “I’m dissatisfied with the way I look” to the point that these negative feelings hold them back from targeted networking and from proactively reaching out to targeted qualified prospects.
On occasion, the narrative devolves to “I can’t stand my body”“; I’ve gained so much weight, I have no confidence and feel so insecure”, until I bring the conversation to the agenda.
To me, it is tragic that women, highly accomplished, seemingly confident and certainly competent, suffer such body image issues that it impedes their professional prosperity.
To define clearly body image, it is:
- How you see yourself when you look in the mirror
- What you believe about your own appearance
- How you feel about your body including your height, shape, weight
- How you feel IN your body, not just how you feel ABOUT your body
Positive Body Image is:
- A clear perception of your shape
- Appreciating your natural body shape
- Proud and accepting of your unique body and refuse to spend an unreasonable amount of energy worrying about food and weight
- Comfortable and confident in your body
Negative Body Image is:
- A distorted perception of your shape
- Feeling self-conscious and anxious about your body
- Feeling uncomfortable and awkward in your body
According to a recent NEDA (National Eating Disorder Association) study, approximately 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies and only 5% of women naturally possess the body type often portrayed by Americans in the media.
So what now? In our next installment, I’ll list actionable change strategies to help shift body image mindset to liberate your mind so you can enjoy being you, just as you are!