When you think back over your accomplishments in life…
The job successes, the achievements, the triumphs…
How many of them do you attribute to luck?
You were in the right place at the right time.
You had a great team around you.
You couldn’t have done it without support.
And all that’s true, right?
But what’s ALSO true is that you were pretty amazing.
You worked hard. You had great ideas. You had the skills and talent to see it through.
In an ideal world, you’d feel no guilt talking up your accomplishments and tooting your own horn.
But in the real world, women tend to be really, REALLY bad at doing that.
(And there’s even a course on how you can stop diminishing your ideas and accomplishments—more on that in just a bit!)
The Confidence Gap
Journalists Claire Shipman and Katty Kay traveled around the U.S., asking successful women how confident they felt.
What they discovered was that even powerful women doubt themselves.
They wondered whether they were up to the job. They worried about letting everyone down. They lay awake at night, going over their mistakes.
Women from all walks of life tended to underestimate themselves.
They didn’t ask for the raise they deserved. They didn’t apply for that high-powered job. They didn’t want to overreach themselves.
Men didn’t have that problem.
Men could see themselves occupying the most powerful role in their company. They applied for jobs they wanted, even if they weren’t qualified. They owned their successes and bragged themselves up.
If anything, the men were overconfident…
And the women were underconfident.
Shipman and Kay set out on a quest to discover why women weren’t more confident…
And what we could do about it.
Confidence Is Not What You Think
When we think of confidence, we often think of self-esteem.
Surely being confident is a matter of believing in yourself.
If you don’t believe in yourself, you should fake it ‘til you make it.
But Shipman and Kay found that confidence was something else entirely.
Confidence was more like competence.
Confident people know they can do what they set out to do.
Which explains why you can be confident in one area but not another.
You can be confident at work, because you’re good at your job. At the same time, you might not feel very confident on dates, because you’re out of practice.
The secret to confidence, then, is to work towards mastery.
Work on getting better at whatever area you want to become more confident in.
Practice a lot. Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t overthink things. Cultivate resilience.
See confidence as a matter of building your skills, so that you know just how much you’re capable of.
Build Your Confidence Skills
JoAnn Lauterbach is the founder of VATE Communication Training.
She helps women own their confidence at work.
A confident presence helps you nail presentations, command attention, and impress over Zoom.
Confidence also communicates authority and leadership.
But many women sabotage themselves.
They don’t want to be seen as bitchy or bossy, so they play down their confidence.
They use self-diminishing language and weak body language.
Do you know if you play yourself down?
JoAnn offers a quiz to find out. Take it here.