A lack of confidence can keep you from stepping out and living your best life. Maybe you don’t take that vacation to a new place, maybe you decide not to speak up at a crucial moment in a meeting, or maybe you pass on a project because you aren’t confident that you can do it well enough.
Do you struggle with not feeling good enough, getting in your own way and not allowing your best self to shine?
Many women spend their entire professional lives paralyzed by doubt and fear. Afraid of the possibility of failure and criticism, they shy away in situations when they should speak up and stand out. They see glimpses of their true potential in moments of brief success, but those moments of excitement and possibility quickly fade as fear and self-doubt creep back in.
What stands between many women and the life they deserve is the ability to negotiate life’s challenges from a core of strength and confidence.
This lack of confidence results in procrastination, low energy, little passion and scattered focus. Life becomes a series of ordeals to manage. Instead of moving forward, you feel like you are just getting by. You’re unable to experience one’s life fully. Or as Joan Chittister says, come to the fullness of one’s self.
Thankfully, confidence changes things. With confidence, you can value yourself, focus on your strengths and achieve your life’s purpose. But confidence does not come easy: you need support, tools and a strategy. (My prescription is the support of other women).
Can you imagine a world where, for many women, fear (false evidence appearing real) and failure (feedback) were not to be frightened of? Where women felt rock solid in the way they show up? Where women’s voices would be heard; where they would take ownership for their accomplishments and present their ideas with authority and persuasiveness? Where they feel confident and comfortable in their own skin and abilities? Imagine women feeling consistently grounded, happier and having a better-balanced life.
Can you imagine what all our lives and the world would be like as completely confident women?
85% of what we worry about…never happens. So how can you stop worrying? Watch to find out.
Taking care of yourself is an important ingredient for confidence. Sometimes, taking care of yourself might seem like an indulgence. It’s not. Watch the video to find out what “splurge” I advise making part of your regular routine.
The phrase “baby steps” is an analogy for slow, steady progress. But our response as adults to actual baby steps provides us with a key to adulthood confidence and success.
The new year will be here before you know it. The year-end holidays and events have a way of making time fly by. So it’s a great time to do this one thing that will help boost your confidence now and in the new year.
“I just didn’t think I had enough experience,” she replied.
What! Elizabeth Warren!?!
I was shocked. But why? Women are notorious for being cautious about going for the next challenging goal for fear we may not be fully qualified. Men, on the other hand, barely give qualifications a thought. Former President Barack Obama served in the Senate just over two years before announcing his run for president. At the time, if she had decided to run, Elizabeth Warren would have served over three years.
According to a recent Harvard Business Review,
men apply for a job when they meet only 60% of the qualifications;
women apply only if they meet 100% of them.
In my decades coaching leaders, I have worked with countless women who are otherwise successful but fail to achieve all their potential and/or desire would allow. What is holding them back? Yes, sexism, ageism, racism, misogyny are all factors. However, the greatest roadblock of all is the self-sabotage caused by lack of confidence.
When you think about a less than confident woman, you may imagine a shy, shrinking women who does not speak in meetings and walks around her office barely visible. You certainly do not think of Elizabeth Warren as someone who lacks confidence. I don’t either. Let’s be clear, there are degrees and levels of intensity. Nevertheless, lack of confidence in women is far more prevalent than is healthy.
Why do women hold back? After all, we are just as smart, experienced and in many cases, more educated than men. The answer is complicated and requires far more discussion that we can handle here. A more important question is if and why you hold back. Check out the following questions:
- Fear that if you speak out you will sound stupid or self-aggrandizing?
- Feel like a fraud (one day they’ll figure out I’m not that good, deserving, etc.)?
- Lack a boldness your peers/leaders seem to possess?
- Worry you are not smart/capable/deserving enough to compete at the highest level of your company?
- Feel less than comfortable when asking for what you want?
- Work hard then watch others get promoted over you and paid more?
- Discount your accomplishments, e.g., refuse compliments, minimize your work?
If you answered yes to 3 or more of these questions, you likely are not experiencing as much success as you could.
What should you do? A first step is to deal with the issues above. Work with a coach, a good friend, a mentor or join our Kick-Butt Confidence course.
In addition, consider the following three steps to building confidence:
- Establish Supportive Relationships
- Engage in Healthy Self-Talk
- Develop a Structured Development Plan
Now identify specific actions you can take to move beyond your current comfort zone toward your full potential.
When athletes have confidence in their abilities, they play better and sometimes deliver extraordinary performances. It is well understood that talent, skill and a winning attitude are important but confidence can provide the winning edge. In a highly competitive workplace, confidence is your winning edge, your competitive advantage.
Recently, I gave an online training about women and confidence.
If you struggle in this area and want to grow your confidence, watch this video. It’s free!
Simply submit your email address, watch the webinar, and go kick butt!