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How to Be Your Badass Self

Discover why you’re never too old to step up your game with this excerpt from Not Done Yet! How Women Over 50 Regain Their Confidence and Claim Workplace Power


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I was a badass kid. I was so confident and precocious that my constant desire to be in the spotlight may have made my parents proud, but it pissed off my older brother. I unconsciously upstaged him by simply being me. Here’s a good example of badass Bonnie: my love for ballet started at four years old when I first took lessons, and it seemed so natural for me to take my ballet shoes with me everywhere and offer to dance. When I was six, I asked the band leader at my cousin’s wedding to clear the dance floor so I could dance in front of the 125 guests. No kidding. If you’re an older sibling, I’m sure you can empathize with my brother.

I’m not sure where my badass attitude came from but I do know this: it didn’t last. It probably started to wane when I was in middle school. That’s when I became very aware of my looks and whether or not I was attractive to boys. Although I had always wanted to be a good girl and tried to earn praise from my parents and teachers, pleasing and appealing to others was now my priority. The result? Any badass attitude was totally gone by high school. Over the course of my adult life and career, that mindset has emerged then retreated in cycles. Now I intentionally nurture my confidence and challenge myself to step up and play bigger: to be a badass.

I’m not going to make a sweeping statement here that all women over 50 have similar stories. But I do know from coaching and speaking to many women in this demographic about this topic that the story is familiar, despite our own unique histories. Whether or not you were a badass little girl, nurturing that attitude now and showing up at work and in the world as your authentic, powerful, talented, amazing self are essential.

They are essential because as we age, we don’t exactly have the support of society and we certainly don’t have support from the workplace. Our age works against us, as does our gender, and we can’t take this shit lying down. I, for one, am not ready to roll over and play dead because I’ve passed 50 and others may believe I’m over the hill. And I hope you won’t either. You’ve got too much value to offer your company and society. That’s why nurturing your inner badass is critical at this stage of your life and career.

Staying connected to your inner badass gives you the courage to advocate for yourself, speak up, stand up for what you know is right, and not back yourself into the shadows and out the door.

How do you nurture your inner badass? First of all, you need to take back control of your life and work by putting yourself front and center. I know this may be challenging if you have always taken the back seat and lost yourself in the process. But now is your time to love yourself, find joy, and rediscover what you may have lost over the past couple of decades: that you’re a smart woman who still has years of valuable contributions to make at work and in the world.

Katie Couric defines a badass woman as someone who “stands up for herself, is confident, and is not afraid to challenge the hierarchy, the patriarchy, or conventional thinking.” That’s what I’m talking about, girlfriend. Be proud. Stand tall. Be a badass.

Excerpted from Not Done Yet! How Women Over 50 Regain Their Confidence and Claim Workplace Power

For more on reclaiming your workplace power, join us at the Well Defined Women in Leadership Summit, where Bonnie Marcus will be speaking on the topic.

About The Author
Bonnie Marcus

Bonnie Marcus is an author, executive coach, and podcast host. She has written The Politics of Promotion: How High Achieving Women Get Ahead and Stay Ahead and Not Done Yet! How Women Over 50 Regain Their Confidence and Claim Their Workplace Power. With more than 20 years of sales and management experience, Marcus has an extensive business background, including serving as CEO of a ServiceMaster company, vice president of sales at Medical Staffing Network and two other national companies in the healthcare and software industries. She has also held executive positions in startup companies and Fortune 500 companies.

An award-winning entrepreneur, Marcus is well-versed in how ageist assumptions can hold women back from reaching their goals. Today, Marcus’s passion is helping other women to embrace their talent and ambition and to step into their full potential and workplace power. She shares her message globally through speaking engagements, live and virtual workshops, blogging, and her popular podcast, Badass Women at Any Age.