It took me three years to launch my own business as a marketing coach, not because of lack of finances or ideas (on the contrary, I had too many ideas!) it was my lack of self-belief. Actually, to be completely honest (and vulnerable) with you, it was my lack of self-worth that I believed I deserved a successful business, and that I have the brains and the balls to do it.
It isn’t a foreign word. And if you’re a female entrepreneur or dream of being one I’ll bet my 5kg jar of Nutella that you have wrestled with understanding this concept, feeling it and, even more so, living it. And there isn’t much I’d gamble that jar of heaven on!
In my ‘I need inspiration to launch my own career’ reading crusades I came across my confidence bible called the ‘Confidence Code’. Two female journo’s (Katty Kay and Claire Shipman) launched a crusade of their own and researched the scientific origins of confidence with a focus on the difference between female and male confidence. I was surprised, though mostly relieved at their discovery.
They found that our confidence is indeed partly influenced by genetics, yet it is something that we can intentionally change. Praise the Lord!
And it gets better. Contrary to what I’ve read countless times over, you won’t shift confidence by thinking positive thoughts or by standing tall and faking it. You’ll find confidence by making an intentional choice to find it. What does this look like? Well, it means less worrying about people-pleasing and aiming for perfection and more about taking action, risk taking, and fast failure.
In their research they found these common confidence mistakes women make AKA mistakes we should aim to avoid!
- We think too much. We think a lot more than men and this excessive rumination stunts our confidence to take action.
- We believe failure is a failure. Oh em gee, I. Hate. Failing. Yet, when I think about it, I’ve made a lot of mistakes and still standing strong. And failing is in right now, you know? That’s how you get a head of the game — try something you (or anyone) have never tried and learn from it!
- We carry criticism around with us far too long. Why is it men can brush off criticism and women can’t? Well, we can if we intentionally toughen up, let it go and remember that criticism doesn’t define who we are.
- We never leave our comfort zones. Screw perfectionism! Sh*! I can’t believe I wrote that but it’s so damn true! Remember, in order to shift our confidence we must take action. Get to it or else it will never get done and your confidence won’t grow.
- We won’t speak up, and too often, we use upspeak. Katty and Claire describe it as a habit we all recognise: “raising the tone of your voice at the end of a sentence in a way that suggests a question rather than a declaration. Try these: “I think we should go with the on-line marketing strategy.” “I think we should go with the online marketing strategy?” One professor told us he thinks women use upspeak in an effort to seek approval. Lose the questioning tone, and boost your confidence.”
If there’s one thing I want you to takeaway from this is jotting down or reading one of my favourite quotes out loud:
Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t as all. You can be discouraged by failure – or you can learn from it. So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because, remember, that’s where you will find success.
~Thomas. J. Watson