I am always amazed when seemingly confident women confide in me how frightened and insecure they really feel about one thing or another and the negative self-talk that drives their insecurities. People I respect tremendously who seem to really have it together reveal that intrusive thoughts and beliefs still creep into their psyche as unwanted guests. It seems to me that they are still fueled by the need to prove themselves worthy on some level either to themselves or to others. Clearly the human condition unites us all! Strangely I find that somewhat comforting and disturbing at the same time.
A fabulous book came out a few years ago called, The Confidence Code: the Science and Art of Self-Assurance written by journalists Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, which I highly recommend. Having studied what determines success, they reported that one of the reasons men were hired and promoted more often than women is that they felt and exuded greater confidence. Where women often didn’t feel they were skilled enough to apply for certain high-powered jobs, men somehow figured they would learn how to do the job once they were hired. Are we surprised?
The fear of not being good enough or being too good really holds women back. What if we could just ride through the fear and go for it? It reminds me of my trepidation about taking the plunge into cold water on a hot day. Toe in, toe out, maybe I’ll go but maybe I won’t, until the tension between indecision and desire becomes too much to bear. Constantly fighting ourselves rather than asking ourselves what is this indecision really costing me in terms of my joy and future possibilities? And more importantly, am I going to respect myself in the morning? Holding back from jumping into a refreshing pool is one thing, but holding back from going after that heartfelt desire or career choice can really derail us from our life purpose when insecurity and fear hold us back and zap our confidence.
Here’s a thought: What if we women were able to put our insecurities into a rocket and ship them to the moon and focus on what we’re good at? What if we were to lovingly appreciate those things that make us who we are rather than target those areas within ourselves where we feel we fall short? How about feeling compassion for those shadow parts of ourselves and our self-identified weaknesses and accept that they make us human and are part of our birthright?
Why I ask are we so hard on ourselves? What if we were able to become our own best fans, laugh at our foibles and stop taking ourselves so seriously? How freeing and amazing would that feel!!!
I’d like to challenge all of us to acknowledge and accept all our parts whether or not we love them or would like to leave them. To gauge how confident you really are, go to theconfidencecode.com and take the Confidence Quiz. Your participation will contribute to research on women and confidence.
Leave a comment and tell me about a time you were able to let go of fear by leaving your comfort zone.