Shattering the Myth of Appearance-Based Success

body confidence for leaders body image breaking the rules my life my way podcast simple tools May 16, 2023

Shattering the Myth of Appearance-Based Success


This empowering episode tackles the unrealistic expectations that society imposes on women leaders, life coaches, and entrepreneurs and best of all, it has some of the most powerful prompts for you to discover and anchor in who you really are and what matters to YOU.


Here's a quick summary of the key points we discuss:


  1. The four appearance-based myths we need to shatter
  2. The importance of embracing our true selves and focusing on our values, passions, and strengths
  3. Redefining professionalism in a diverse and ever-changing world
  4. How to build resilience against external criticism and judgment


Listen to the full episode here!






Welcome everyone to Self-Guided season two, episode five “Shattering the Myth of Appearance-Based Success” 


Today's topic is one that's close to my heart: the societal pressures we face to have a "perfect" image, and the impact these pressures can have on our professional lives.


Let's have a heart-to-heart about the societal standards and pressures we, as women leaders, life coaches, and entrepreneurs, face to have a "perfect" image. We're constantly bombarded with images of what a successful woman should look like. You know, the airbrushed photos, the flawless skin, the perfect outfits, and the seemingly effortless confidence that comes with it. But the truth is, these images are often unrealistic and unattainable for most of us oh and they’re fake.


I understand that many of us in these leadership roles might feel like we need to look a certain way to be successful. But remember, my friends, no one is perfect. We all have our unique features and characteristics that make us who we are. And that's something to be celebrated, not hidden away.


Picture a talented life coach who has made a significant impact on her clients' lives. Yet, she struggles with body image issues and feels like she doesn't "look the part" of a successful coach. And please can someone tell me what a successful life coach looks like? I’ve met hundreds of life coaches all at different levels of success, all the way to millionaires and they all look VERY different. Listen, this mindset holds us back from pursuing opportunities and reaching our full potential.


This pursuit of the "perfect" image can actually hold us back from achieving what we truly desire in life. It can get in the way of personal growth, because instead of focusing on developing our skills, passions, and strengths, we're consumed with the idea of looking a certain way.


And let's not forget about career development. When we're preoccupied with our looks, we might hold ourselves back from taking on new challenges or pursuing leadership roles, simply because we don't believe we "fit the mold" of what a successful leader should look like. I’ve said it before, this can result in missed opportunities and hinder our professional growth.


But here's the empowering truth: we can break free from these limiting beliefs and embrace our true selves. It's time to shatter these appearance-based myths and unleash your true potential as confident women leaders. 


Let’s get to shattering shall we?


Shattering Myth 1: Worth is determined by physical appearance


Host: My dear friends, let's tackle the first myth: the belief that our worth is determined by our physical appearance. This misconception can hold us back from truly embracing and loving ourselves. But the reality is that our worth is determined by our actions, values, and character – not by the way we look.


A. Let's dive deeper into the reality that our worth comes from who we are and what we do. Think about a life coach who has helped countless clients overcome their fears, develop new skills, and achieve their goals. This coach's worth is not based on her dress size or the smoothness of her skin; it's based on her ability to empower and support others in their personal growth. The life-changing impact she has on her clients is a testament to her true worth.


Similarly, as women leaders, life coaches, and entrepreneurs, our worth will always be so much greater than what our appearance could ever afford us. Are you dedicated, are you willing to keep at it until you succeed, are you committed to making a difference in the lives of those around us? Those are the qualities I want my worth as a leader to be measured with.


B. To thrive as authentic leaders, we must focus on our beliefs, passions, and contributions. Journaling can be an incredibly powerful tool to help you reflect on your beliefs, passions, and contributions. Here are some prompts to help you explore what you want your worth as a leader to be based upon:


  1.  Reflect on your core values: What are the key principles that guide your actions and decisions? How do these values shape your leadership style?
  2.  Identify your passions: What causes or issues are you deeply passionate about? How can you channel your passions into your leadership role to make a greater impact?
  3.  Recognize your unique strengths: What are the strengths that set you apart as a leader? How can you leverage these strengths to empower your team and drive success?
  4.  Consider the impact you want to make: What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind as a leader? How can you work toward creating that impact each day?


By engaging in self-reflection through journaling, you can gain a deeper understanding of your beliefs, passions, and contributions as a leader. This process will empower you to decide for yourself what you want your worth as a leader to be based upon, and it will help you build a strong foundation for authentic, values-driven leadership. I hope you’ll give it a try!


Shattering Myth 2: Successful leaders must have a certain "look"


Now, let's address the second myth: the belief that successful leaders must have a certain "look." This idea can be incredibly limiting, especially for women who feel pressure to conform to an unattainable standard. But the truth is, great leadership has nothing to do with appearance – it's about skills, adaptability, and vision.


Let's debunk this myth with real-life examples. Think about some of the most successful and influential women leaders of our time, like Malala Yousafzai, Maya Angelou, and Michelle Obama. These women come from different backgrounds and have different styles, but they all share one thing in common: their ability to inspire and lead others. Their success is built on their unique strengths, their vision for the future, and their unwavering dedication to making a difference – not on their appearances. I think we can all agree that their appearance has changed over the years and their position as leaders remained.


It's crucial to understand that effective leadership is about so much more than 

having a certain "look." Great leaders possess a range of skills, such as communication, problem-solving, and empathy. They adapt and learn from their experiences, and they have a clear vision for the future. These are the qualities that truly make a leader successful, regardless of their physical appearance.


As we work towards becoming authentic leaders, it's essential to address any body image issues that may hold us back. While developing leadership skills is crucial, overcoming negative perceptions of our physical selves can significantly impact our confidence and effectiveness as leaders. Journaling can be an invaluable tool for self-discovery and reflection on the importance of overcoming body image issues. Here are some journaling prompts to help you explore your reasons for wanting to overcome these challenges:


  1.  Envision your ideal self: How would you feel if you were free from body image issues? Describe the confidence, self-assuredness, and resilience that would come from loving and accepting your body as it is.
  2.  Connect with your values: How do your body image issues align or conflict with your core values? How can overcoming these challenges help you embody your values more fully in your personal and professional life?
  3.  Define your reasons for change: Why is it important for you to overcome your body image issues? Consider the personal, professional, and emotional benefits that may come from embracing a healthier relationship with your body.


By using these journaling prompts to reflect on the importance of overcoming body image issues, you can gain a deeper understanding of how these challenges affect your leadership journey. As you work to address these concerns, you'll be better equipped to become the authentic, confident leader you aspire to be.



Shattering Myth 3: A "perfect" appearance guarantees success


Our next myth is the belief that a "perfect" appearance guarantees success. This idea can be incredibly damaging, as it places an undue emphasis on external factors rather than the internal ones that truly matter. But the reality is that success is built on a growth mindset, consistent repeated action, and fully living your work.


Let's break down what it takes to build a successful career. Success requires a growth mindset, which means believing that you can learn, grow, and improve over time. It requires consistent, repeated action – the willingness to put in the work, day in and day out. And it requires fully living your work, which means aligning your passions with your career and bringing your full self to the table.


It's important to understand the limitations of a polished exterior. While it's certainly true that a professional appearance can be important in certain industries, it's not the be-all and end-all of success. In fact, research has shown that a person's appearance has little to no correlation with their job performance or success. The truth is, what matters most is the quality of your work, your dedication to your craft, and your commitment to continuous improvement.


Actually, I want to make a special note about looking “professional”. 


The notion of looking "professional" is often dictated by societal norms and expectations, which can be limiting and restrictive. It’s important to recognize that this concept is subjective and has evolved over time. As authentic leaders, we have the power to redefine what "professional" means for ourselves and break free from traditional constraints.


In today's diverse and ever-changing world, "professional" can encompass a wide range of styles, appearances, and attitudes. It's time to challenge the status quo and create a more inclusive understanding of professionalism that allows for individual expression and authenticity.


  1.  Reevaluate your definition of "professional": Take a moment to consider what "professional" means to you. Does it align with societal expectations, or does it reflect your unique values and beliefs? By redefining this concept for yourself, you can create a more authentic and empowering vision of what professional success looks like.


By dismantling the concept of looking "professional" and redefining it for ourselves, we can create a more inclusive and empowering vision of success. This allows us to embrace our true selves and become the authentic leaders we aspire to be.


Shattering Myth 4: Value is tied to others' perception of you


The final myth we'll tackle today is the belief that our value is tied to others' perception of us. This misconception can make us overly concerned with external validation and prevent us from embracing our true selves. However, the reality is that our self-worth comes from our beliefs, passions, and contributions – not from the opinions of others.


It's essential to recognize that our self-worth should be rooted in our beliefs, passions, and contributions. When we focus on what truly matters to us – the causes we care about, the impact we want to make, and the legacies we want to leave behind – we become more resilient in the face of external criticism and judgment. We can stand tall knowing that our value comes from within.


The problem with choosing that others decide our value is that we become powerless, at their mercy. People will have opinions but opinions do not make it a fact about you. It’s much more representative of their own self-judgement than it is of your actual value. In fact, it shows us their ability to see your value, not your actual value. I hope that is becoming clearer as we come to the end of this episode.




We've shattered four Appearance-Based Success myths: that our worth is determined by our physical appearance, that successful leaders must have a certain "look," that a "perfect" appearance guarantees success, and that our value is tied to others' perception of us. 


The truth is, our success as leaders will be determined by our impact, and that impact will be greater once we overcome what holds us back, in this case, an overemphasis on appearance as a basis for success that is unnecessary.


I encourage each and every one of you to share your stories, your struggles, and your triumphs as we work together to break free from these limiting beliefs. By sharing our experiences and offering support to one another, we can create a powerful network of women who uplift and inspire each other on this journey.


So, here's your call-to-action: I want you to head over to Instagram and share with me which myth you are ready to shatter starting today. Let's start a conversation that empowers and unites us all in our quest for authentic success.


Thank you for joining me today, and I look forward to connecting with you soon! Until next time.

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