In support of Women’s Month in August, we hosted a Women’s Month Challenge where we encouraged women to step out of their comfort zone and do something different and something for themselves for the entire month. Women constantly underestimate themselves and feel the need to live within their shells because they don’t want to challenge the status quo. We believe that everyone should have the courage and the power to live their authentic lives and feel confident in everything they do.
Our hope was that every woman who took part in our challenge felt confident, empowered and free from judgement.
A little bit about the challenge
The challenge encouraged women to embrace who they are and embrace the women around them by choosing the following challenges:
- Wear red lipstick
- Power dress
- Wear heels
- Random acts of kindness
- Change your hair colour or wear a wig
The Women’s Month Challenge was aimed at helping women revolutionise their relationship with themselves and possibly helping them change their perception of the woman staring back at them in the mirror.
This article aims to explore the experiences that some of the challenge participants felt as they took steps outside of their comfort zone, showing all of us that we can empower ourselves and everyone around us in small ways.
Those that took the challenge on
Meet Ketsia, Cassidy and Tendi – three incredible women who took the challenge on for different reasons, this is what they had to say;
“I am an Executive Assistant and my job requires me to be on my feet most of the day. I wear comfy shoes most of the time which is why I opted for the challenge where I had to wear heels for a week.
Initially, I was a little stressed about the challenge, I thought I may look like I am doing too much or trying too hard. But interestingly by Day 3, I caught myself strutting into a room rather than strolling, my head held up, back straight – it was empowering.
I found this challenge interesting because I deal with a lot of different people on the daily and I felt that people seemed to take me more seriously while I was in my heels and in exchange I saw myself performing better in my duties.
This experience showed me that sometimes the smallest changes can make the biggest difference in your performance and the way you are perceived on a daily basis.
I would 100% continue to wear heels. I have found myself wearing heels on days where I have the most work to do and need to have my A-game switched on. I love the person I turn into when the heels are on and I think everyone should try and wear heels to work at least once.”
“As a 23-year-old woman in business, it’s sometimes difficult to be taken seriously. Throwing on some heels, a pair of slacks and a blazer can change everything though. Yes, I’m talking about power dressing. Even as managing director, I usually only dress up 2-3 times each week, other times I’m comfortable to throw on a pair of sneakers, some jeans and a cardigan – we have a very relaxed working environment at the agency which is conducive to this sort of attire.
During the Le Phénix Women’s month challenge, however, I decided to put in the extra effort and power dress every day, for a week – even on the weekend.
There’s a reason I only used to power dress 2-3 times each week – I am often exhausted in the mornings and have so much I need to get done for the day, that planning my outfits and making a major effort feels impossible. During the challenge, I forced myself to power dress and the most remarkable thing happened – after I was all dressed up, nothing felt impossible anymore. The saying seems to be true – when you look good, you feel good. Feeling good then overflowed into every other part of my day – my interactions with my team, my confidence to approach potential clients and my perception of how much I could get done in the day.
I have two takeaways from the experience, albeit a little cliché – image is everything and first impressions really do count. I felt myself being taken more seriously by everyone around me and felt little pressure to over-compensate for my insecurities about my age. I also realised that there is a major difference between just dressing up every day to look good and power dressing. When you power-dress, you’re dressing with intention to let the world (and yourself) know you’re a powerful, capable and confident #bossbabe.
I’ll definitely carry on power dressing – especially on the days where I don’t feel like it. There is, however, always a time and place for a comfy sweater paired with a messy bun and flats.”
“As a chief legal officer in a very relaxed working environment, I don’t usually dress up much. My usual work outfit is sneakers paired with a pair of jeans and a hoodie.
I decided to wear lipstick with a bold colour (which was red most of the time) and wear heels every day for a week. Going from a casual look to dressing up every day made a noticeable difference. Dressing up flowed into my work and felt a certain level of confidence. I helped me execute my tasks better and I realised I began speaking with a level of authority and it inspired me to work better. I felt truly professional. I interact with various people every day and I began to notice that when I was dressed up – there was a higher level of respect given to me.
I didn’t realise this before but the way we dress can really assist us mentally – we think these small things don’t matter but taking the extra time to look good will make you feel good.
There is no question, I would definitely do this again because I feel like it helped me put my best foot forward.
I would recommend anyone to wear heels, pop on a bolder lipstick or power dress, especially people who don’t have to dress up. It is something useful because when you look the part, you will act the part.
The psychological impact of what you do physically is quite profound.”
This challenge doesn’t need to be restricted to Women’s Month only. Take a look at our Instagram posts and see how you can challenge yourself in various ways every day. Feeling confident and empowered should not be a challenge and there are so many ways you can feel this way. Let’s take a stand together to remember how strong we are, how unique we are and to celebrate and embrace the raw magnitude of our beauty and strength.