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Feeling invisible after 50? 3 ways to get the attention you deserve

Deborah Hutton

6 minute read
woman with grey hair posing in living room looking at camera

Do you ever feel like you have acquired the superhero power of invisibility?

I’ve seen it happen. There one minute, gone the next!

And curiously, it seems to happen most often to women over a certain age. Suddenly, the waiter doesn’t hear them, the meeting goes on without them, the promotion goes to someone younger and they become the kitchen hand at their party instead of the host.

It could be because they don’t need the promotion, they can serve themselves and they enjoy being in the kitchen, but sometimes it’s a cloak that society has thrust upon them for being too competent, too giving, too reliable and too obliging.

For many women, it’s a rude shock when this first starts to happen. And sometimes, it’s so gradual that they don’t even notice it.

But, the good news is you don’t have to wear this invisibility cloak if you don’t want to.

Here are a few tips to get the attention you deserve.

1. Love the mirror to regain your confidence

My good friends and renowned life coaches Shannah Kennedy and Lyndall Mitchell, say the first step to getting the attention you deserve is to have a long look in the mirror.

Dubbed the ‘Thelma and Louise of Wellness’, between them Shannah and Lyndall have more than three decades of presenting and executive coaching experience across public and corporate sectors, and they say confidence is everything.

“Confidence is that centre point that people are lacking,” Shannah says. “Social media has just shattered a lot of people’s confidence. They’re comparing themselves to other people from the minute they wake up to the minute they go to bed.”

Shannah and Lyndall’s first tip for finding your confidence again is to redefine who you are and work on a little self-love.

“As we get older, we move away from the mirror, we have all the life events come into play and we lose a big connection with who we are,” said Shannah.

Lyndall says the mirror is a great tool to use to improve your self-acceptance and reconnect with who you are.

“How often do you truly stand in front of the mirror and notice yourself? Quite often we notice what’s wrong but how often do you stand there and notice your features?” she says.

“A simple exercise is to stand in front of the mirror and really notice what you see and find something positive for yourself – whether it’s one thing or ten things.”

Two woman posing for a photo at an outdoor family event

2. Stop playing it safe

Internationally recognised leader in human potential, Margie Warrell, says we are often living by default and now is the time to redesign your life, be brave and pursue your dreams.

“We fail far more from timidity than we ever do from over-daring. So if there’s an area of your life right now — your business, your body, your relationship status—in which you aren’t inspired about, set yourself a bold goal that really lights you up, even if it scares you a little too,” Margie says.

According to Margie, here are some of the other ways you can take back control of your life and dare to live bravely:

  • Say no to the ‘good’ to create space for the great

It’s very easy to fill your day being busy. The question is, busy doing what? If you are saying yes to the many ‘good’ offers, invitations and opportunities that come your way, you could be using up all your capacity to pursue the truly great things waiting for you.

  • Ask for what you want

If you find yourself frustrated that you’re not getting what you want or need, consider that you may not have asked for it. People aren’t mind readers, and expecting them to know what you want often just ends in frustration and resentment. If there’s something you want, you’ve got to be willing to ask.

  • Set boundaries

It’s a general rule of life that you get what you tolerate. If you tolerate someone overstepping your boundaries, making snide remarks or overlooking you for opportunities, you can generally expect more of the same. So stand up for yourself, teach people how you expect to be treated and refuse to cower to those who seek to intimidate you.

3. Become a trendsetter not a trend follower

A functional and fashionable wardrobe is life transforming. With a little effort and energy, your wardrobe can be filled with co-ordinated and easy-to-wear pieces saving you time and importantly, your hard-earned money.

The first step to becoming a trendsetter is to clean up your wardrobe. How long have you been holding onto those pants that don’t fit anymore or that yellow jacket that was in fashion for a millisecond?

It’s amazing what a new shirt and shoes can do for your confidence and therefore your visibility.

Stylist and fashion writer Esma Versace has the following tips to help you get started on this task.

Take each item out of your wardrobe and ask seven important questions:

  • Have you worn it recently?
  • Does it make you feel good when you wear it?
  • Does it fit comfortably?
  • Is it in good condition?
  • Can it be worn with other items in the wardrobe to dress up or down?
  • Does it suit your current lifestyle (work, leisure etc)?
  • Does it reflect who you want to be?

Once you’ve worked out what you want to keep and what’s missing, go shopping for a few new outfits or hire a stylist.

So what are you waiting for? Throw off that invisibility cloak and be your full, authentic self.

For more from Deborah Hutton, check out The Check Up’s dedicated section.

Deborah Hutton is a television presenter, former magazine editor, entrepreneur, author, speaker and Australian media personality. Facing 50 and the shock of being diagnosed with a serious skin cancer, Deborah spent more than a year assessing and redefining herself and realised along the way, women not only needed support but also wanted to connect and talk. As a result, she launched her digital media community ‘Balance by Deborah Hutton’ in 2011.

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