“Confidence is not something you’re born with — it’s a muscle we have to use,” talent leader Grace Killelea told online attendees during the year’s third NEW Summit Speaker Series webinar, March 8, 2017.
Killelea, CEO and Founder of The GKC Group, shared strategies for taking risks and assuming leadership roles with self-assurance during the one-hour session, “The Confidence Effect.”
Fueled by common misperceptions — such as “wanting a family” means “disinterest in career” — a leadership gender gap occurs early in the talent pipeline, Killelea said. “We aren’t going to solve the leadership gap today, but we can talk about what we do, as women, that keeps us from careers we deserve,” she said. “Confidence is about telling yourself you deserve to be there. It’s about qualifying in and not qualifying out.”
Killelea offered advice for building and sharing confidence:
- Ignore the nay-saying in your head. “You’re here for a reason,” Killelea said. “You’ve got this. Do what you have to do. Move yourself out of that inner critic.”
- Push through fear. “Doing the things that make you uncomfortable flex your confidence muscle,” she advised.
- Speak up in a non-apologetic, powerful way. “Don’t say things like ‘I know this is a stupid idea, but …’ or ‘I know I’m just an admin,’” Killelea cautioned. “We socialize girls and women to be nice and apologetic, but there is no link between apology and accountability.”
- Don’t let errors decide your fate. “Confident people don’t keep throwing their past mistakes in front of them and call it their ‘future,’” she said.
- Do remember your successes. “Confidence requires having a memory of what you’ve already done,” Killelea said.
- Suit up. “Confidence does have an external component to it — there’s a physicality to it, but there’s also how you dress.”
- Support other women. “Let’s compliment each other on our accomplishments, more than the external packaging,” Killelea advised.
- Think of confidence positively. “Confidence and happiness go together,” Killelea explained, “and confidence and arrogance are not the same thing. Arrogance is based in negativity.”
- Aspire to be your own best self. “Don’t use somebody else’s mirror to look at your own reflection.”
- Start where you are. “There’s no place you can be — in your career, in your personal life, wherever you are — that you can’t change how you show up and be more confident in the world.”