Recently, I’ve had some really thoughtful conversations with women about their confidence and what they can do to improve it. This is even more challenging if you are an introvert.
I’ve been speaking on this topic for years and started speaking about it more regularly recently.
This is such an important topic for women who struggle with how they can improve their confidence to ask for what they want, go for the promotion, and get the opportunities that they rightly deserve.
I’ve been really fortunate in the last 15 years to work with women who are in mid-careers and starting their journey into entrepreneurship. Highly qualified women with great credentials and professional experience, and yet speaking about their successes and accomplishments makes most of them uncomfortable.
It still amazes me that women who have advanced degrees, have worked in high profile positions and at high profile companies, are still not comfortable leveraging their backgrounds.
It’s a fact that women apply for positions only when they are 100% or early 100% close to matching the job descriptions, while men apply on average when they match just 60% of job qualifications.
We can’t complain then when John gets the promotion and Sue wonders what happened when she was more qualified.
I often say it’s not competence but confidence that prevent women from achieving their highest goals.
Some of the best conversations I’ve had with college women, young professionals and mature women is that the responsibility and work begin with us. Don’t make any assumptions that your good work will speak for itself – you have to tell your story to be heard.
If you can relate to this, here are some ideas to help you build your confidence;
- Commit to 3 things each week that take you out of your comfort zone. This can be applying for a job, asking for a networking meeting or asking for more visibility at work.
- Write 3 goals at the beginning of each month that you want to achieve and make them stretch goals. Are you thinking about going back to school, changing careers, volunteering with an organization that appeals to you? Make a commitment to make progress on your goals.
- Write your Business Narrative and leverage your 3 E’s-Your Experience, Expertise and Education. You should have an updated resume already, but focusing on your 3E’s will help you build your own story of why you are the right person, with the right qualifications.
- Keep a portfolio of your work and update monthly. Nobody knows better than you do about your great work and accomplishments. Your portfolio of your work is the evidence of why you are the right person for a promotion or ready for more responsibility.
- Show up early to meetings and take your seat at the table. Contribute to the conversations. Don’t ask if you can ask a question first – ask your question. Take credit for your ideas and re-state them more than once if you have to.
Get comfortable being uncomfortable.
My best successes in my career have been when I’m bold, being a risk taker and willing to be uncomfortable.
It’s a journey to build your confidence and your credibility and you can begin that journey today.
To your success!
About the author;
Mary Jacobs is founder of The Women’s Excelerator. Mary is a strategist, educator and consultant who has a passion for working with women entrepreneurs. Her focus is on sales strategies for launching and building sustainable businesses for women starting professional service firms. Learn more about Mary at www.thewomensexcelerator.com.