I work with high-achieving women, but still, every female client I serve struggles with career confidence to some degree. Despite their hard-earned success, these women carry with them an underlying sense of self-doubt.
Why Aren’t More Women In Leadership Roles?
They are not alone. A 2016 survey revealed 63% of women enter the workforce with confidence they can rise to senior management; however, by mid-career that percentage drops to 57%.
What erodes a woman’s confidence? What prevents women from achieving leadership?
Early messaging is a significant factor. Research associates the lack of self-confidence women share to childhood where more emphasis was placed on compliance than on self-efficacy, to replace risk with a relentless pursuit of perfection. Let’s break this down:
Overcoming Risk > Self-efficacy > Confidence (Look what I can do!)
Compliance / Being Agreeable > Perfectionism > Approval Seeking (Did I do it right / Okay?)
As they mature and enter leadership roles, women’s growing self-awareness prompts questions like, “How do I position myself in a way that allows me to look and feel more confident?” And they are turning to new strategies to strengthen their belief in themselves.
One of those strategies is readily accessible: keeping a confidence log. Such a log forms the basis for changed behavior.
Why And How It Works?
Logs bring to the surface real, underlying issues and allow you to practically and systematically find solutions. Actions change behaviors, and the log will lead the way.
To begin, identify and log what is compromising your confidence. Is it a person who intimidates you? A particular situation that incites self-doubt? If weekly meetings sap your confidence, ask yourself, Why? Take time to think about the reason. Sense your body’s response. Where does doubt show up in your body?
Once the log helps you identify the reason and the trigger, you can begin to initiate change. Sit with each instance you logged and establish a plan.
For example, if the weekly meeting drives away your confidence because you don’t feel like your report matters or compares to others, now you can address the deeper issues.
For one, stop comparing. You need to approach this as your own contribution. Make it as shiny as any other piece you’re proud to put out there. Spend time beforehand prepping and practicing, even if it’s a two-minute answer.
Focus Equally On Confidence Builders
It’s also important to chart situations that create or initiate confidence. What makes you come alive? What causes your confidence to surge? These are channels for growth toward more confidence and better performance.
Reflect on how you can position yourself to do more of the work that boosts you. Do you need to use your voice and express that you’re the go-to person for those projects, or lay claim in meetings?