Women’s History Month/ Confidence
Want To Smash The Glass Ceiling? Confidence Is All You Need
Posted on March 6th 2020 by Laura Armstrong
“I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women's Rights” is the theme for International Women’s Day on March 8 2020, part of Women’s History Month.
We have come a long way towards gender equality, but there is still more to be done.
“Today, not a single country can claim to have achieved gender equality.” - UN Women.
Yet men still progress quicker and get paid more. Why?
Certainly, motherhood can play a part. Even with countries like Finland introducing equal parental leave, the bulk of the responsibility for raising children still falls to the mother. However, our maternal instinct is not the only factor.
What about women who do not have children? They are still faced with the same setbacks in pay and progression.
Could confidence be the key?
Social psychologist Brenda Major has been studying the differences in self-perception between men and women for decades. She has consistently found that men overestimate their abilities and performance, and women underestimate both. There is no difference in the quality of their performance.
Are men more confident than women?
Women are more likely to be perfectionists than men. An internal report by Hewlett Packard found that men apply for a job when they meet 60% of the qualifications while women will only apply if they meet 100%.
Katty Kay and Claire Shipman found women do struggle with greater feelings of self-doubt and self-criticism than men, following extensive research and interviews for their book The Confidence Code.
Men experience self-doubt too, but the difference is that they do not let their doubts stop them as often as women do.
That lack of confidence is the key to what is holding us back. “Belief without talent can take you further than talent without belief. But when you have both, you’re unstoppable,” says pioneering therapist Marisa Peer.
We need to step away from the belief that we need to be better or more accomplished before we strive for our goals. The good news is, you have the power to be more confident.
Below are tips on how to increase your confidence and unlock your full potential.
Focus on your strengths
The Hewlett Packard study demonstrated that men tended to focus more on their strengths. They knew they met more than half of the qualifications and so went for the job. They did not worry about what they did not have.
Think about what you are good at and write it down. Refer back to your list of attributes every day - read them out loud so you can hear them. Know what you have to offer, whether it is at work or in a relationship, and make that your focus. Be driven by what you are good at, not what you lack.
Even hugely successful women like Oprah Winfrey have struggled with self-doubt. Oprah has gone on to be one of the most successful women in the world after overcoming her limiting beliefs. You can do the same.
Accept compliments not criticism
How many times do you reject a compliment? When someone says you look nice, is your immediate reaction to say “Oh, I’ve had this for ages” or “Really? I don’t think so”? In doing so, you are rejecting the compliment.
We are socially conditioned to downplay our achievements. Acknowledging our talents is seen to be arrogant and this makes many of us uncomfortable with accepting compliments.
When we have low self-esteem it can be even harder to let in praise from others, but you need to start. Practice accepting compliments graciously by smiling and saying “thank you”. It does not make you look arrogant but it will boost your confidence.
Also, practice not letting in criticism. While we are quick to reject compliments, we are even quicker to believe our critics. People who criticize others do it to make themselves feel better and you do not need to accept their opinions as fact. The next time someone criticizes you follow Marisa Peer’s advice and say “thank you for sharing that but I’m not going to let that in”.
Change the way you talk to yourself
“It is the stories we tell ourselves that influences our sense of self, worth and the world around us,” says Marisa Peer.
“Every thought you think causes a physical reaction and an emotional response within you. First you make your beliefs and then your beliefs make you.”
By changing how you talk to and think about yourself, you can change the way you see yourself and your behaviors. You can do this by repeating the statement of truth “I Am Enough” every day.
The statement is simple but incredibly powerful. “I believe the common denomination of almost everyone’s issues is that, somewhere along the way, they learned they weren’t good enough. Not loveable enough, successful enough, talented enough, perfect enough.” Marisa explains.
By repeating that statement, your mind will accept it as true.
This method has worked for thousands of people, including celebrities like Nicole Sherzinger. When she was younger, Nicole struggled to feel comfortable in her own skin. When she began to tell herself “You are enough. You are worth it,” she truly began to believe it.
Marisa Peer is so passionate about the power of ‘I Am Enough’ that she has written a best-selling book on the subject. In it, Marisa explains how you can massively increase your sense of self-worth so that you like yourself, feel good about yourself, and believe in yourself. When this happens you can live a happy, motivated and confident life, not just sometimes but all the time.
It is time to smash that glass ceiling.