Learning to Shine Your Light
Women have difficulty developing self-confidence. Because we tend to focus on everyone but ourselves, taking the time to develop our self-worth doesn’t come naturally to us. Also, girls are encouraged to be passive, and not too daring or confident. We wouldn’t want to threaten the guys!
But when we don’t live in accordance with what we know to be true for us, we incite a war inside of ourselves.
After decades of mentoring women through career transitions, work promotions, and launching or growing businesses, over and over I’ve seen them struggle with self-confidence. I have observed clear and common patterns among women of all ages and across cultural and educational diversities.
Women are less likely to take risks. They don’t start things, even when they feel ardent about it. They don’t want to do anything if they aren’t sure they can do it perfectly. Or they get blocked from even taking the first step because they believe they aren’t smart enough. Or they try and when they fail, tend to give up. After all, if we can’t do it perfectly, it will confirm that we aren’t good enough!
Women don’t consider themselves competent in their work.
Women tend to avoid conflict. We view “keeping the peace” as one of our roles.
Women compare themselves with other women to confirm the beliefs they have about not being good enough. Or they seek approval from an outside source for their worthiness.
Women are more likely to take criticism personally.
Women tend to apologize, even for things that aren’t their fault.
Women are less likely to speak up in groups and share their opinions.
Women don’t express their needs in relationships – they tend to assume that their significant others will know what they are feeling and what they want and need. Then when they don’t get their needs met, they tend to feel resentful and unappreciated, even abandoned.
Women don’t ask for help and support and try to shoulder everything alone. They don’t want to be a burden to anyone.
Women put themselves last, taking care of everyone and everything else before themselves.
Women argue with compliments and downplay praise
Women are taught to be good girls.
Merriam-Webster defines self-confidence as “a feeling of trust in one's abilities, qualities, and judgment.” An article in The Atlantic about The Confidence Gap between men and women, explains the research establishing that women demonstrate less confidence than men.
Why do so many brilliant women lack a feeling of trust in themselves?
Culture shapes us. For generations, women have been taught to be silent, obedient, kind, and helpful. To take care of others. Girls are taught to be nice while boys are taught to be brave. Exploitive advertising attacks our self-confidence, leaving us feel like we aren’t good enough. Billions of dollars are made from our lack of confidence.
The biggest hit to our confidence isn’t culture though. It’s the way we limit ourselves, by the thoughts we have about ourselves. The lies we continue to believe about how we aren’t good (smart, thin, young, old, rich or anything!) enough to do what feels difficult and new so we wait until we feel perfect enough to put ourselves out there. Or until someone gives us their approval.
Richard Petty, professor of psychology at Ohio State University has studied confidence for years. He says, “Confidence is the stuff that turns thoughts into action.”
Taking action bolsters the belief in our capacity to succeed. Yet if we don’t act, then how will we ever build our confidence? Through trying, through success and even through failure, we build our confidence. So, it starts with trying. But trying at what? Where do we begin?
Start right where you are. Express your opinion. Stand up for what you need at home and at work. Make self-care a priority. Take the risk to try something new even if you don’t feel ready. Ask for help. Accept a compliment. Stop apologizing for who you are.
We build courage and confidence by stepping out of our comfort zone and doing what feels scary.
With the “Women’s Wave,” history was made this year with a record number of women running for office and a record 110 women winning seats in the House of Representatives. Women are working to end violence against women, stop sex-trafficking and gun violence, offering aid to refugees, fighting for peace, equality and diversity. Women are launching businesses and nonprofits. Women are raising their daughters to be brave and their sons to be sensitive. More women are earning college and graduate degrees than men. Our competence is obvious.
I bet you have a vision for how the world could be. The wisdom and compassion of women are the answer to the world’s problems. The creativity of women is what we need. Your unique genius should be in the mix. Turn your ideas into action.
When we live our lives from the social construct of being “good,” holding back our creativity, we have put our true selves, the selves we were born to be, in a box, hidden away in the garage and collecting dust. We aren’t giving ourselves to the world the way we were meant to. Bringing our vulnerable selves out for the world to see, in all of our messy pain and honesty, is what will change our own world first. We need to do this for ourselves first and foremost.
Take a stand for your confidence.
Take a stand against the way the culture has conditioned you.
Take a stand against the way you are limiting yourself.
I believe in you.
BEGIN THE IMPORTANT WORK OF YOUR LIFE:
Schedule a free 30-minute consult. Are you ready to live into your full potential? Let’s talk about what needs to change for you to do that. Schedule a complimentary 30-min consultation here: Schedule Your Discovery Session
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Quieting the Inner Critic
Overcoming Being a Good Girl
The Significance of Your Brand: The Impact You Are Making Through Your Work
The Self Integrity of Boundaries: Honoring Your Own Values
Creating a Culture that Changes Lives
What are the Next Right Steps When You Feel Afraid or Unsure?
I would love to hear from you. In what ways are you holding yourself back? Please share your comments below or email me directly at email@example.com
Tricia Acheatel has been supporting women in their personal, professional, and entrepreneurial growth for over 30 years. She teaches women how to access their inner wisdom, develop self-confidence, and create with conviction – to shape a life of meaning. Her unique approach blends inner work with practical mindset and business development tools that teach women how to find the courage to live their authentic and brilliant lives.
From her combined experience – as a corporate executive, business owner and coach, herbalist/healer, life coach, author, life designer, success team leader, and teacher – Tricia brings wisdom, intuition, compassion, and clarity to her work. Her clients and students access newfound clarity, resilience, freedom, inspiration, and the knowledge necessary to launch their dreams.