"How can women boost our confidence?"
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Posted by: Barbara Francella
By Trudy Bourgeois
So many women struggle with demonstrating confidence. How can we boost
our confidence at work?
Confidence is positive trait women think
they lack — but really don’t.
Webster’s Dictionary defines
"confidence" as "trusting or reliance in one’s own or another’s
ability." Think about that for a
moment. How do you develop the ability to trust yourself?
First, it requires that you understand
who you are. I’m not talking so much about your strengths, but more about your
character, your resolve and your personal convictions.
Most of us are more courageous and
confident than we think we are. The opportunity lies in understanding the
source of our confidence and then intentionally tapping into that internal
"How do I get candid feedback?"
Courage brings confidence to
action. While confidence is the mindset, courage is the motivation to face
whatever stands before you and believe that you can successfully manage it.
In her book Confidence, Rosabeth Moss Kanter states, "Confidence consists of
positive expectations for favorable outcomes. Every step we take, every
investment we make, is based on whether we feel we can count on ourselves and
others to accomplish what has been promised. Confidence determines whether our
steps — individually or
collectively — are tiny and
tentative or big and bold.”
In 2003, Susan Losh and Christopher
Tavini at Florida State University studied 4,000 students to measure
intellectual and social confidence, expectations for success, motivation to
succeed, past academic accomplishments, parental education and more. Many of the variables, of course, were interlocking.
But the study concluded that having a high expectation that you’d succeed was
the strongest predictor of actual high performance. Having the confidence to
expect your success builds the courage to actually walk it out. No matter the
A crisis of confidence
In the work environment, women are
often judged as "needing to develop confidence." While that may be
true, I look at it another way: Women need to find their innate confidence and
courage, locate their voice and embrace their own brilliance.
Have you ever been around a woman
who receives a compliment, but refutes that compliment? Or perhaps you’ve sat
in a room wanting share an idea, but sit silently until eventually someone else
serves up your idea.
If you have witnessed or
experienced these types of situations, you have seen a lack of confidence and
courage. It’s not that we are unable to engage as strong leaders, we simply
don’t believe in our own greatness as women. We don’t trust ourselves. And when
we don’t tap into the courage to trust ourselves, then we compromise, rather
than unleash, our potential.
So how do you tap into your courage
storehouse? You take action every day. The
more you practice these actions, the more courage and confidence you will
build, and the more success you will experience:
1. Look back on your life’s
history. Reflect on the challenges you’ve faced. Focus on and recognize
where your inner strength came from to cope and make it through those times.
2. Strengthen your mind. Practice affirmations. Make the decision
that no matter what comes to you in life, you can and will handle it. It’s your
3. Make a list of your convictions (i.e. beliefs, values and
principles). Decide now what is non-negotiable. This will help you when you
get into tough situations.
4. Practice makes perfect. Test your growing courage and confidence
abilities in situations that aren’t make-it-or-break-it. This will give you a
true internal sense of what you feel like when confidence and courage kick in.
5. Keep a journal of your
development. Reflect on and nurture your newfound capabilities. Celebrate
Dale Carnegie once said, "Inaction
breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to
conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”
Ask yourself a simple but important
question, "What I am going to do today to increase my confidence?” Remember, your future is connected to the
answer you choose. Choose action. Choose
courage. Choose success.
Trudy Bourgeois is founder and CEO
of The Center for Workforce Excellence and NEW Executive Leaders Forum
conference designer. She is happy to answer your career questions. Please email
them to NEW Communications Manager Barbara Grondin Francella.
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opinions of the Network of Executive Women or its Officers, Board members and
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