(and this is for guys too…)
As I was writing my recent series of blog posts on COURAGE, I also happened to be reading The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance – What Women Should Know, a book by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. The book is a fascinating exploration of why we women often struggle to act as confidently as we could and should. Given how much we have to offer in terms of our experience, expertise, and insight, by being so reluctant to speak up we not only do ourselves a disservice, but also fail to serve our companies and communities as powerfully as we could.
Part of our lack of confidence can be accounted for by genetics, hormones, and/or cultural conditioning, but I very much believe that we can still overcome our predisposition to shyness. And according to the book, the key is to TAKE ACTION.
When we muster our courage and speak out, we give others the opportunity to give feedback. If the feedback is positive, we feel encouraged to speak up again. If the feedback is – let us say – constructive rather than positive, it gives us the chance to learn, and refine our approach the next time around.
But if we sit quietly and don’t speak up, we stay stuck in our rut of insecurity. We continue to imagine that nobody is interested in what we have to say, while never putting that theory to the test.
Either way, we are setting up a feedback loop. That loop can either be taking us upwards in a virtuous cycle, where success builds on success and our confidence grows – not necessarily smoothly, but certainly trending upwards – as we continue to try and test our communications with those around us. Or the loop can be a downwards spiral into insecurity as we hold ourselves back, increasingly convinced that we have nothing to contribute.
And where is this taking us? Look at the world around you, run as it is mostly by those who have the confidence (justified or not) to step up and take command. Are you happy with where we are going? Or could it be better? Maybe even a LOT better? Why should the loud, the confident, the assertive get to run the show?
If you don’t like it, do something about it! The world needs YOU! It needs your thoughts, opinions, ideas and plans. And it needs them to exist not only in your head, but out there in the world where they can do some good.
So be BOLD! Be BRAVE! Be COURAGEOUS! Speak up, step up, contribute! Make the world a better place! We need you!
(And here endeth the exclamation points.)
If you would like some help building your confidence, remember that I’m here to help you. I’ve overcome lack of confidence and self-esteem, I’ve gone from having no idea to having lots of ideas, I’ve changed from being a follower to being a leader. If I can, you can too. Drop me a line and let’s talk.
And finally, if you’re missing the sound of my voice (!), here is a podcast I recorded recently with my soul sister, Deb Ozarko. We discuss all manner of things, including COURAGE, naturally!