Turning Confidence Upside Down!

Oh mercy! How tired are you of reading article after article about how women fail to reach the top, can’t handle both work and a family, how we need to gain confidence, and more. It is becoming blah, blah, blah, and I make my living off of these subjects.

But for some reason the latest Forbes article – Companies Do Better with Women, But Women Need More Confidence just set me off.  Although the content was good the title of the article immediately made me feel small, and after reading it, the author failed to provide any tips or solutions to the issue: something noted before.

Ladies, female leaders, and all of the powerful women out there,
let us band together to solve this gap, dilemma, perception and anything else they choose to call the strife of women in business. I figure, if we women can solve the problem, the conversations will have to go away, or at least change; maybe to the fabulous things women and companies are doing around the world.

Answer the following questions for yourself, without a simple Yes or No. Actually think and explain your answer to yourself and decide for yourself if you indeed possess confidence, and if not, what you will do to change it. It can be very enlightening.

When was the last time you spoke out in a group of your peers or superiors?
When was the last time you were actually heard?
How did those around you respond to your point, idea, question, debate, etc.?
How did you feel after you did, based on the response you received?

  • For those of you who do not shy away from speaking up and out, sit with the question and really consider your response. Your response could help someone else.

When was the last time you asked for a new challenge, project, role or responsibility?
What talking points did you cover with your partner or spouse about the pros and cons and potential changes of a new assignment?
Was that new challenge or project on par or more challenging than your current role?
What was the last major risk you took at work?
On a scale from 1-10 (1 being the lowest), how risky would you say that risk was?
How did you respond once having taken the risk?
How did others respond?
And how did you feel about their response?
What were the last three successes you have had?

There could be more…but this is a good start.

I have found that the women who lacked so called confidence, really lacks clarity, understanding, and no-how. Certainly not about the task or job at hand, but more so:

  • Belief in themselves that they are deserving or are capable of a bigger challenge, project or leadership role.
  • Clarity of what specifically is involved in a new project or assignment: saying no or not even asking, before they know the detail.
  • Lack of understanding and know-how as to how to do it, since; since they have not engaged the business and personal people around them
    • It’s one point Sheryl Sandberg was making in her book, Lean In. Women leave business before they need to, and not ask for new risks and challenges, because they assume they can’t have it all (don’t other articles tell them that). Instead, Sheryl talks about allowing the people around you to help you make it work, or at least decide if changes for everyone would allow for you to do it. But don’t, not ask!

Confidence comes from self-belief, experience, and all of the missteps and successes one encounters. But one has to acknowledge all of it, honor it, and then, be willing to step out and do it.

If after answering the above questions, you look at them and find you are not leaning in, stepping out, jumping off, or speaking up, decide how you can change that. It is just a matter of doing it and the confidence will follow.

LEADERtip – if you learn something from your own self-discovery above, share it with another woman or group, and together we can rid the world of degrading article titles and content about women in business and life.

ARTICLES:
The 10 Best Companies for Women in 2014
Companies Do Better with Women Leaders, but Women Need More Confidence

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