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Woman Returners – tips to help you back to the world of work

You’d like to get back to work but you don’t know where to start or if you’d be any good…

Nadine Shenton is a London-based confidence coach and runs one to one sessions for women looking to get back to work with confidence. Here she shares 5 valuable tips to get us back to the future we deserve.

Take three women from different backgrounds, from three different cities and with three different careers.  All have taken time out from their corporate roles to focus on their families but they have one other thing in common too.   They all lack confidence when it comes to returning to work.

This fear is commonplace and it can be utterly crippling.  But confidence is a skill not just an outlook and it’s something that can be honed and overcome.

My advice is always the same – you can do this!

It’s vital to remember that you are still the same person and actually you’re a person with more insight, having raised your children and dealt with the juggle of childcare and life.

So here are 5 habits to develop to help get you back to your future.

1) Every day have only positive thoughts – the importance of mindset

“Yes I can”, “yes I will”, “yes I want”, “yes I’ll do my best”.

Every time you enter any fixed mindset (which is a negative thought), turn this around and ‘stamp on it’. You’ll then learn to become aware of changing your mentality into only positive thoughts, which will in turn boost your confidence.

2) Strike a pose – the importance of posture

Yes, posture is really crucial to how you view yourself and how others see you.   We know that people make up their minds about someone within 7 seconds so make sure you start to take on the look of a confident person.   In order to feel confident give these regular exercises a go.

  • Stand in front of a mirror – knees soft and shoulders down. Look straight ahead and relax your mouth. To relieve stress, raise your shoulders up then drop them down. Roll your head in a relaxed fashion both ways and let your mouth drop open when your head is at the back.
  • Breath slowly and deeply making sure your shoulders do not rise. Be aware of the diaphragm and ribs swinging inwards and out.
  • Be aware of standing in parallel and try to not cross your legs or turn your feet in or out for that matter.
  • A welcoming smile, good eye contact and entering a room with energy and pace instils confidence both in yourself and also in the person you’re meeting.

 3) Homework isn’t just for the kids – the importance of preparation

It sounds obvious and it’s something we tell our children daily, but being prepared makes such a positive difference to the way in which we approach our day.

It might that you’re meeting an old colleague to discuss your options, it may be an interview you’re preparing for.  Whatever the situation, do a checklist the night before.  Know your route, check if there’s parking.  And just like we tell our children, pack your bag the night before!  Have the correct articles, items and any other information relevant for the day ahead packed up and ready.  It’s amazing how many people leave things until the last minute, which makes us more stressed, edgy and less focused on the actual task in hand.

 4) Believe in yourself – the importance of visualising

I always find this works wonderfully for many of my clients. If you feel uneasy about new surroundings, visualise how you would like your day to go.  Visualise how you want the day or situation to work out.  Being, and remaining positive, is totally key.  So don’t doubt yourself and be your worst critic, this only undermines what you are trying to achieve.  Engage all your senses when you visualise confidence.

  • What does confidence sound like to you – is it someone telling you you’ve done a great job? Ask yourself, what sounds make you stand tall and make you hold your power pose?
  • What does confidence look like? Perhaps it’s a colleague listening attentively, smiling and giving you an encouraging nod of the head when you speak.  What is your image of success?
  • What does confidence feel like? Is it the feel of the leather handbag that you’re carrying to make you feel in control?  If you could touch confidence, what would you experience?
  • And what does confidence smell like? Is it a strong coffee on your way into work or your favourite fragrance?  What is the flavour of confidence for you?

5)  Know your worth – the importance of value

You have a duty to yourself to know the power that lives within you.  Nurture it, accept it and be aware of how great that power and worth is.  And yes, this is about accepting that you have weaknesses – we all do and we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t have them.  And more than anything base your worth, your value, on you.  It’s so easy to compare yourself with other people.  Don’t!

Above all, I truly believe that one of the best ways to build your confidence is to find people who know how to encourage you, support you and build you up.  Find those people and work to help each other.

Tap into your family and your friends.  You really don’t have to do this alone.

Nadine Shenton works with many back to work women who have mastered their profession yet for one reason or another have lost their confidence and need a little boost to help once again achieve their full potential.  A former Royal Shakespeare Company actress, Nadine is an award-winning voice over artist for national and international clients. Her clients include public organisations like the NHS and HM Prison Service, charitable entities including BBC Children in Need and the UN World Children’s Relief and Volunteer Organization, and blue-chip companies such as The Times, Bupa, Trivago, BMW, Volkswagen and Amazon.

More information about Nadine’s one to one confidence sessions for women can be found here.



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