I just read The Confidence Gap, an interesting article describing why women’s and men’s are so far apart.
What I find intriguing about Katty Kay and Claire Shipman research is that it helps me to see WHY I am the way I am.
The reasons WHY this gap exists really resonated with me. The authors share findings from Carol Dweck’s “Mindset” (one of my favourite books) for example, early on in school, girls get a lot of praise for being perfect and that we choose to avoid taking risks and making mistakes.
I was the girl being describe throughout the article.
I still remember the only time I was in trouble was in grade 2 when I stood up for a boy who was being falsely accused by the librarian!
But, knowing WHY we don’t Lean In, isn’t good enough.
What’s important is to figure out WHAT we can do about it, otherwise there’s a danger of this research turning into “Well, it’s just the way we are”, perpetuating more of the same behaviour and maintaining the gap.
If you’ve read the article, NO:
- we can’t go back and play more competitive sports.
- we can’t be more disruptive in school so we learn how to let criticism roll off our backs.
- we can’t change any of our childhood experiences that have molded us.
But YES we CAN CHANGE.
I have changed. I am no longer that girl.
What changed for me was when I realized I actually get to choose how I respond in every situation.
That I don’t have to accept my habitual responses, ‘as is’. My ‘old ways’ don’t have to be my ‘new ways’.
Far too often when I hear women talking about challenges at work or in life. We sit and agree with each other, validating the experiences essentially saying “it’s just the way it is” and nothing changes.
This is neither helpful nor productive.
Most recently, in a program I was facilitating with an intimate group of professional women, we were talking about compensation and negotiation. There were some common themes being shared, however when I piped in to hold a mirror up for the group to see that this discussion was just perpetuating status quo, it was amazing to see how the dynamic shifted into productive conversations about what they can do differently.
This open, authentic and supportive conversations allowed three of the women to enter into their review, promotion and a contract scenario with increased confidence, and they all came out with higher compensations than they would have had they not talked about and chosen to approach their scenarios differently and with confidence.
I have watched and experienced women closing the gap, one choice at a time.
So what can YOU do?
1. REDEFINE ‘CONFIDENCE’: Doing something with confidence isn’t about being bold, arrogant, obnoxious, etc…
What helped me was a new definition I recently came across that I use in my Talk “Getting Out of Your Own Way: How to Take Confident Action, Outside your Comfort Zone, to Generate Results” . In this definition, confidence is described as “A state of being certain that a chosen course of action is the best or most effective FOR YOU.”
Taking action, trusting that this one next step is absolutely what’s best for me, feels very different. It’s not about me wondering about other’s interpretations of my action, it’s about quietly knowing and trusting…and being willing to Fail Forward if necessary.
An example of a client who wanted a promotion comes to mind.
She knew she had to have a conversation with her boss, but was feeling very uneasy about it, definitely not confident. She didn’t want to come across as demanding or asking for too much. With this new definition of confidence, she was able to trust that having the conversation and asking for the promotion was truly the next best option for her.
The impact of not asking for it would have been far worse.
2. TALK about it.
If you know you are going into a pitch, negotiation, presentation, etc… and are feeling anything other than confident, find a friend, colleague, peer, someone you can trust to help you find new perspectives, tactics or ways to take action to get the results you want.
If you don’t feel like you have anyone in your network, maybe you worry about being judged, showing vulnerability, or for whatever reason, you might be interested in becoming a member of Your P.O.W.E.R Advisory Boards: Empowering Perspectives, Accelerating Results and Expanding Networks, Authentically™.
This is where 6-8 professional women are grouped in peer advisory boards to:
- give you the opportunity to talk about your challenges and realize that you are not the only one.
- benefit from hearing how others have navigated similar scenarios.
- hear new perspectives.
- shorten your learning curve and achieve better outcomes.
- But most importantly, to connect in a monthly, confidential and strategic meeting, facilitated by me to ensure the time you invest has an ROI.
This is my passion. To help women get out of their own way.
To be an outlet for women to create the change they need at work and in life to live their version of success.
We don’t know what we don’t know and there is so much value in learning from shared experiences.
If you are interested in learning more about becoming a member of Your P.O.W.E.R Advisory Board, email me at email@example.com.
I’d love to hear from you!
Here’s what other women have said about their program experiences:
“My most invaluable takeaway has been the power of my choices and the acknowledgment of what opportunities exist when I chose to step outside of my comfort zone.”
“There’s so much value in talking about the obstacles we face, reframing them in a manner in which you make yourself accountable to move forward. It is also beneficial to hear other perspectives on how they have handled similar situations.”
“I look forward to each monthly meeting and always learn much more than I expected.”