On the BBC site Katty Kay, The BBC's world news anchor shared her views on The Confidence Gap in the lead up to the BBC 100 Women Challenge.
As a Style and Confidence Coach I am naturally intrigued by any study, report or article related to confidence. Our confidence is a valuable resource and is one that we can strengthen and improve everyday. When we are without it, life can feel challenging and restrictive especially in the workplace.
The subject of women's confidence is getting more and more coverage but there is still a long way to go.
I've created a guide on the confidence gap, how we can recognise it and most importantly what we can do to eliminate it.
What is the confidence gap?
- The relationship between the confidence that men bring to the workplace versus the confidence that women bring. Evidence shows that women are less self-assured than men.
- Confidence and competence go hand in hand to be a success but they are not the same thing. Women often prioritise competency over confidence at work.
- A lack of action, confidence in your own voice and self- doubt that is holding back women in the workplace to succeed as much as their male counterparts.
How do you know if you are suffering from it?
- Downplaying your achievements by attributing your success to factors outside of yourself; luck, contacts, how you look etc
- Thinking you don't know enough, despite depth of experience within your field. Feeling like a fraud, like an imposter, like you'll get found out.
- Frequently underestimating your abilities and capabilities and thinking those around you are more qualified for the job.
- Deferring to the men around you for more than just support but for the answers.
- Lacking certainty with your thoughts or struggle to put those thoughts into action, you often pull back.
What you can do to reduce the gap
- Let go of perfection, allow yourself to make mistakes.
- Work at not clinging to critisism and failure and move on from it.
- Take action, confidence comes from developing your thoughts and creating action from it.
- Be honest about your abilities, don't undervalue them in fact be proud of them.
- Accept and encourage new challenges, frequently step outside of your comfort zone. Take a risk!
- Don't take the blame if it wasn't your fault.
- Be conscious of your body language, posture and eye contact, keep it positive, strong and open.
To summarise in Katty Kay's words 'The confidence gap is due to a noxious stew of perfectionism, risk aversion, fear of failure and over thinking'.
The good news is we are not alone and there is something we can do about it as Zachary Estes, a research psychologist illustrates: 'the natural result of low confidence is inaction. When women don't act, when we hesitate because we aren't sure, we hold ourselves back. But when we do act, even if it's because we're forced to, we perform just as well as men do'.
This is not a time for complacency, this is a time for action, for asserting ourselves in an elegant yet powerful way. I ask you, who's with me?
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