The confidence gap - what it is and how to narrow it
You've probably heard people talk about the confidence gap between men and women, but what is it and how can we narrow it?
Research has shown that in general men are more confident than women. They have more self-belief and are willing to take risks.
The gap occurs because women are often held back by their own self-doubts and fear of failure or disapproval. I've found that this is most obvious in the workplace.
How do I know if I'm holding myself back?
The typical behaviours you'd be showing are:
- Feeling like a fraud, that you've got your role because of luck despite your hard work and experience
- Underestimating your abilities and think others are far better at the job
- Not going for new opportunities and finding it hard to make decisions
- Deferring to others opinions and finding it hard to speak up.
How can I narrow the gap?
- Remember that good enough is good enough. You don't have to achieve 100% or be 100% sure before you put your work out there
- Talk about your successes; it isn't boasting, it's about getting recognition for your work
- Step out of your comfort zone. Volunteer for new opportunities, take risks and speak up
- Get out of your own head. Avoid overthinking and ruminating on your insecurities; you won't find a solution and it knocks your confidence
- Take action. That's the quickest way to build your confidence, then ensure you celebrate the courage you showed.
You're not alone in struggling with the confidence gap and as women, if we all take a small step towards reducing it, work and life will be so much more fulfilling.
Here's a quote from Zachary Estes, a research psychologist:
'the natural result of low confidence is inaction. When women don’t act, when we hesitate because we aren’t sure, we hold ourselves back. But when we do act, even if it’s because we’re forced to, we perform just as well as men do’.
My question for you is what are you going to do today to narrow the confidence gap?
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About Joanne Painter
Jo is the leading UK confidence and career impact coach. She works with women to help them overcome their self-doubts and build their confidence and self-esteem, so they can achieve things they never imagined they could. Based in Bishops Stortford, Jo offers face to face coaching, Skype and telephone and also online coaching programmes.