Busting misconceptions about Confidence in women
“Wow, she looks confident.”
“I’ve never been a confident woman.”
“I’m not confident enough to say that.”
Confidence is a word used extensively in life and business, but it is in fact a far deeper topic than many realise.
There are a lot of misconceptions about Confidence:
> The myth that Confidence is reserved only for extroverts
> The myth that only successful women are confident
> The myth that Confidence has to be ‘verbal’
> The myth that Confidence is fixed or guaranteed
> The myth that you can fake Confidence (more on this in a future blog)
But most of all:
The myth that Confidence is a personality trait.
I hear it often: ‘You’re either a confident woman or you’re not’, but that’s not true.
The truth is it’s part nature and part nurture.
In their 2014 book The Confidence Code, the science and art of self assurance – what women should know, authors Katty Clay & Clair Shipman brought this to my attention – and quote:
‘Another disturbing finding is that some of us are simply born with more Confidence than others. It is, it turns out, partly genetic.’
I know, mind blown right?
Very few of us will invest in our own genetic testing, as these Authors did when researching and writing The Confidence Code, but that’s OK because you don’t need to.
From what I’ve seen with women in my coaching programs, my previous 15-year corporate career, and in my own life, Confidence is a very individual journey. Your level of Confidence is influenced by your upbringing, surroundings, culture and more. That’s why Confidence itself is a deeply layered topic.
Regardless of your ‘Confidence genetics’ I am a firm believer that Confidence is more built than born.
So now that you know it’s part nature and nurture, what is the right mix to ‘activate’ and master the skill of Confidence?
The first step required to build your Confidence – no matter who you are – still comes down to a choice. A decision that you are going to believe in yourself and take action.
And the women who are committed to growing their Confidence and practising daily do gain advantages in life and in business.
I would even go so far as to say Confidence is a super power because it can open doors and unlock opportunities that education and/or competence alone will not.
Which is why I want to help you develop a deeper understanding of Confidence, so you too can master the skill and use it to your advantage.
Think of Confidence like a muscle.
You can train it.
You can build it.
And if you don’t use it, you can lose it.
Commit to daily practice and growth, and before you know it, your new Confident self and vibe (backed up by your actions) will become your default, because you’ve put in the work.
Confidence is also situational, not static
No woman feels confident all of the time; it grows and changes as you or your circumstances do.
A woman commands the stage in a gripping expert presentation, but she shrivels into a corner when you meet her 1:1.
Conversely, a woman speaks confidently in a meeting with strangers, but she seizes up when she speaks in front of a larger audience.
They’re looking at each other, wondering “Why can she do that, but I can’t?”
> Some women are most confident at work
> Some women are most confident in their relationships
> Some women are most confident with public speaking
> Some women are most confident leading a team
> Some women are most confident as mothers
> And some women struggle with Confidence across all of the above
But the higher your Confidence ‘baseline’ the faster you push through or bounce back from situations that dent it momentarily.
The good news is YOU have the power.
You can choose to act, or you can choose to let the Self Doubt, Fear or Imposter Syndrome win.
The choice is yours alone and that is true power in your hands.
So take a quiet moment, look in the mirror and tell yourself YOU CAN.
So that’s the truth about Confidence, but why is it so important?
Having high Confidence or a lack of Confidence has a profound effect on your life and career.
Simply put, a lack of Confidence holds you back from living the life you want.
And the lower your Confidence, the easier it is for Self Doubt, Fear or Impostor Syndrome to take over and for your self esteem and self worth to plummet.
A lack of Confidence stifles your potential to achieve great things. It stops you from saying YES, from speaking your mind, and from putting yourself forward.
On the flip side, high Confidence is a superpower. One that propels you forward and hands you greater control and influence over the outcome you’re seeking.
Confidence can literally be the difference between winning and losing.
Now…I want you to think about the value and impact that Confidence can have on YOUR life.
If you were more confident, what would you do differently?
> Apply for your dream job?
> Take the lead on a challenging project
> Say NO – without apology – when you don’t have capacity
> Stop comparing yourself to others
> Make decisions without agonising over imagined outcomes
> Voice your opinion in meetings
> Say goodbye to a toxic relationship/friendship
> Start your own business
> Manage your Imposter Syndrome feelings better
Better yet, let’s flex our Confidence muscle:
Grab your journal or blank paper and set a timer for 5 minutes.
Imagine you were the most confident version of yourself.
Journal on these questions:
- What does your career look like?
- What does your personal life look like?
- What daily habits make you successful?
- What would you say? Who would you say it to?
- What’s the first goal you would set for yourself?
At the end of the exercise, choose one thing from your list and schedule it this week.
Once you’ve completed your action, pat yourself on the back and celebrate it.
You’ve just exercised the skill of Confidence.
And each time you do this, you’re one step closer to your goals and aspirations.
Because the truth about Confidence is it’s a mixture of nature and nurture but there is only one thing that activates it – no matter who you are or where you’re from – and that’s the decision to act.
Each day I encourage you to choose YOU. Choose Confidence. It will change your life.