Women, Master Your Confidence!

Woman smiling in sweater

Why do so many women lack confidence?

If you ask those around you, you might find similar answers to that question. They feel like frauds, like they aren’t good enough, they don’t possess the skills and abilities, they are they compare, they are perfectionists.

Everyone is different and all facing unique challenges, but as a whole, why do women let their confidence sink so drastically?

From authors Claire Shipman and Katty Kay of The Confidence Code:

For years, we women have kept our heads down and played by the rules. We’ve been certain that with enough hard work, our natural talents would be recognized and rewarded.

Would you say you can relate to that statement?

The problem is, keeping your head down and always playing by the rules leaves little room for standing up in the boardroom presenting your ideas. Meek does not command a room.

Women need to start taking action and changing what has been ingrained in them for so long.

First let’s address 3 vocabulary no nos.

Stop saying “sorry,” “can’t,” and “just.”

“I’m Sorry.” I wrote an article on this that you can find here. Basically, by always saying “sorry”, you portray you are not confident and unsure about your expertise. There is no need to start sentences with “I’m sorry” unless you are actually sorry for some sort of wrongdoing. Communicate with confidence.

Communicate with confidence.

“I can’t.” That is one quick way to diminish yourself and your abilities. Stop telling yourself it can’t be done, that you can’t accomplish x, y, and z. Replace “can’t” with the word “will” and notice a change in your mindset.

“Just.” This is another subtle word that undermines your confidence. It is also a filler word. It takes up space, has little value, and weakens your message.

The Comparison Trap.

Very dangerous territory here. Have you heard the quote, “comparison is the thief of joy”?

In the right context, comparison is helpful, but an unhealthy amount will only rob you of many joys, one being confidence.

Focus on your strengths. On your skills. On your successes. If there is an area you need to make improvements on, find ways to do so. Redirect the energy spent comparing yourself to others and use that time to develop yourself.

Recognize comparison triggers. Are you comparing your current professional status to a peer? Why? Do they receive recognition from others that you would like as well? Ask yourself why, then dissect your answer. Get to the root and once you have that answer, find a solution. Your coworker is constantly getting praised because of their successful business practices, so what best practices can you start incorporating?

Not Good Enough.

You might even feel it right now. That you aren’t good enough.

More than 80% of women believe they aren’t good enough. That is a high percentage.

There is usually an underlying reason. Digging to the root of that can be time-consuming, and as I have stated in previous articles, I am by no means trained in psychology, but what I can offer is expertise in handling this feeling.

Figure out why you feel you are not good enough and write out the details. For example, let’s say you feel you are not good enough to deserve a promotion because you don’t think you have mastered all the areas of your current position to move up to the next level. Write out what the requirements are for that position you want. Next, write down what skills you currently possess. Then, evaluate the two. Chances are, your fears of not being good enough will be squashed once you see you are good enough, or better.

Change feelings of inadequacy into facts. Get real with your thoughts of doubt. Take back the control.

Stop living in not good enough. Be confident.

Quick Confidence Boosters.

Need a quick boost? Try these, because they work!

  1. Celebrate small wins
  2. Revisit past successes
  3. Power pose
  4. Dress nicely
  5. Think positive
  6. Focus on solutions
  7. Smile
  8. Exercise

For more on this, read 7 Steps to Take When you Feel Like You are Lacking Confidence.

Confidence is allowed.

There are ways to take back your confidence. There are ways to have personal breakthroughs. I have seen it. I coach it.

You do not have to apologize for being a confident woman.

You are good enough.

You can.


I would love to work with you. Contact me at TheClarks.Consulting@gmail.com.
CC close up

You Don’t Have to Settle for a Job. Here’s What You Can Do.

Woman talking in group of people sitting on couch

Job shaming.

Job shaming is real. People complain about their jobs on a daily basis and it’s not thought to be abnormal.

There are some who are very fortunate to be doing what they love to do. But don’t neglect their hard work. The perfect job doesn’t just fall into your lap, and even if it did, you must put forth effort every day to keep yourself on the correct path.

Successful people don’t coast along. There are many early mornings and late nights. There are failures along the way. There are doubts. But the point is, they keep going. They don’t give up. They don’t say “I can’t.” And neither should you.

You are not stuck in your current situation. Your mind is stuck. Change your mindset.

“If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can’t…you’re right.” -Henry Ford

Don’t believe me?

J.K. Rowling – Before becoming the world’s first billionaire author, J.K. Rowling’s literature was rejected several times. She was a divorced, single mother on welfare. She was diagnosed with clinical depression and contemplated suicide. She didn’t surrender to her situations, she persisted.

Madonna – A college dropout, she moved to New York with $35 in her pocket. It was her first plane ride and first time ever in a taxi. She worked as a waitress at Dunkin’ Donuts while she actively engaged in singing and dancing gigs on the side. She faced challenges head on and didn’t give up.

Ursula Burns – Ursula was raised by a single mother in a housing project in Manhattan. Both of her parents were Panamanian immigrants. She didn’t let her circumstances dictate her future, she made her future.

Mediocre is good enough.

Most individuals choose mediocre over pursuit of fulfillment for many reasons. Fear of the unknown, embarrassed to fail, or the most common, comfort and convenience.

So even though their current job is satisfactory at best, most people will opt for staying rather than making the changes necessary to lead a more gratifying life.

“If you’re too comfortable, it’s time to move on. Terrified of what’s next? You’re on the right track.” -Susan Fales-Hill

People fear what they don’t know, so they decide to stay at a job simply because there is no risk, however, we all know that a job can come and go in the blink of an eye. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself to go outside of your comfort zone. Be afraid of becoming complacent and having no backup plan.

“I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow.” -Marissa Mayer

Is it really that easy?

Yes and no.

No because it requires change and we all know change is not easy. There is a good article written by Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D. about why we don’t like change. Basically, subconsciously people associate change with unreliable.

I get it. When you have people relying on you and your paycheck to feed them, changing careers is a scary thought. When you are barely making ends meet, the very idea of starting over is the last thing you can handle.

But…what if on the other side of those fears lies a better life for you? We humans spend a lot of time at our place of employment. The average person spends 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime. Don’t you think you should spend that time doing something you find enjoyment out of? Life is not meant to live for your next day off.

And now the yes part. Yes, it is really that easy. You replace the word “can’t” with will. You will find a way to make it happen. You will come out on top. You will be happy. Once again, mindset.

Easier said than done? Not necessarily.

The only thing that is difficult is changing your belief. That is what you will have to break through. I am not a licensed psychologist, so I am not going to even start getting into how to train your brain to start thinking differently. What I am is experienced. I have learned many lessons along the way and want to share some successes with you.

Here are 5 tips I find helpful when you are ready for more:

  1. Replace the negative. Who are those influencing the world around you? You become like the 5 people you spend time with. Pay attention to their outlook, how they speak, what they think. Replace the negative with logical encouragement.
  2. Know what you want. Don’t just say you want a job with perks, define what those perks are. Know exactly what you want and write it down.
  3. Never stop learning. Ever. Never ever. Did I mention never?
  4. Baby steps. If you aren’t ready to take the full plunge, start small. Get yourself some small wins under your belt. Keep going.
  5. Embrace failure. I will leave this last step in the hands of Ekaterina.

It seems that failure tends to be more public than success. Or at least that’s what we perceive it to be. We fret it, we try to avoid it, and we question ourselves every time we have unconventional ideas. But the simple truth is – no great success was ever achieved without failure. It may be one epic failure. Or a series of failures – such as Edison’s 10,000 attempts to create a light bulb or Dyson’s 5,126 attempts to invent a bagless vacuum cleaner. But, whether we like it or not, failure is a necessary stepping stone to achieving our dreams. –Ekaterina Walter

Don’t just wish your career was better and continue typing away in your cubicle. Your situation won’t change due to good luck and fortune. You must make things happen.

So, what are you doing about it?


Contact us me TheClarks.Consulting@gmail.com.

CC close up

Constructive Criticism is Great! Here is What You Can Learn.

Woman looking at man while he talks to her and points at laptop

Constructive criticism: helping to improve; promoting further development or advancement (opposed to destructive)

Why is constructive criticism hard to hear, even when you ask for it?

Maybe because deep down, you secretly wish others would say you are perfect and doing everything right.

Being made aware of faults is tough but trust me, the alternative isn’t all that glamorous. If you aren’t being given feedback, that isn’t a sign that you’re perfect, that is a sign of a much bigger problem.

Respect those who give radical candor – they want you to improve and succeed.

In an article written by Amber Shiflett, she made some great points about receiving constructive criticism. She mentioned how it increases insight and perspective and how it can cultivate a trustworthy workplace, all of which are true.

There needs to be a mindset shift. Criticism is inevitable. So instead of becoming defensive, use it as an opportunity to learn. Chances are you have received feedback before that was unpleasant but necessary. And chances are that feedback helped you make improvements. So, what can you learn now?

There is benefit in receiving feedback.

As noted above, there is benefit in receiving feedback. You gain insight and perspective you didn’t have before. You see situations with new lenses. You become stronger and more confident. When feedback in the right form is given, the opportunity for unbound development is invaluable. Think of it as adding gains to your portfolio.

What to do when you receive constructive criticism:

  1. Relax. Relax and listen respectfully. View the feedback as an opportunity for improvement. Remember, there is benefit in getting feedback.
  2. Don’t take it personally. A common reaction is to become defensive or emotional. Radical candor is meant to help, not harm. Realize those speaking with you only want you to achieve success.
  3. Take time. Allow yourself time to process the evaluation you received. Give yourself time to reflect and digest the information.
  4. Ask questions. Take notes during the conversation and follow up with questions so you can fully understand what was discussed. Ask for specifics and make sure you understand what was communicated.
  5. Thank you. Thank those individuals for taking time to discuss these items with you. Be appreciative for their time and candor.
  6. Solicit help. How do you use the information provided to make necessary improvements? Ask for recommendations on what your next steps should be.
  7. Follow up. Follow up matters. Use the suggestions given to make the necessary changes and be consistent.

What’s next?

Now it is time to put it into practice.

Have a list of the areas you need to focus on and arm yourself with tools to achieve success. For example, if you were told that your approach to email communication is lacking a respectful tone, make the necessary changes. Learn from others how they compose respectful emails. Use the power of the Internet and find examples of properly composed messages. Continue to seek feedback and guidance. Be consistent.

Knowing your strengths and areas needing change is immensely helpful. Keep a list in your planner, save notes on your hard drive, write down reminders on a sticky note, find ways that work best for you to achieve success.

This is your path, you are in control.


For more suggestions or comments, email me at TheClarks.Consulting@gmail.com. I look forward to working with you.

CC close up

 

Self-Awareness – Why It Matters and What Steps You Can Take

Woman walking in front of yellow background

What does self-awareness mean?

NOUN

conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires.

Do not confuse this with confidence. Confidence is a feeling or belief; self-awareness is being aware of those feelings and beliefs and why.

Why does it matter?

Many people throughout life have been told to “trust their instincts” and act on a gut feeling. While trusting your gut is an important intuition to have, allowing feelings to overcome logic is not always the best route.

Just because a feeling is strong, that doesn’t mean it is correct. The key is to step back, assess the situation, examine yourself, and determine if what you are thinking, and feeling is logical.

Being self-aware matters because it allows you to evaluate your current situation and what adjustments can be made to improve – and you should want to make improvements. Chances are, there is an area in your life that could use an adjustment. Being self-aware gives you the opportunity to correct misguided courses and realign yourself with your goals.

Confident woman standing in street smiling

I want to remind you, this is not a once and done sort of practice. It is a continual and learn as you go process. The important part is that you make the choice to evaluate regularly and make changes necessary. Please note, changes might not always be easy, but incredibly significant.

What next?

As mentioned, this is not something that is done overnight or once and done. Self-awareness is a continual check-up. The wonderful thing is it can be done at any stage in your life and at any time.

Finding out what makes you tick will always be powerful. There are countless personality tests out there that can help you find your areas of strengths and weaknesses but those are only tools and a small piece of the puzzle. There are many other steps to start (or continue) the journey.

5 suggestions:

  1. Start now!
  2. Write down goals
  3. Seek feedback
  4. Discover destructive impulses and successful best practices
  5. Practice and repeat

Let me know what you think and if you have anything you would like to add. Comment or contact me at TheClarks.Consulting@gmail.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

CC close up

7 Steps to Take When You Feel Like You Are Lacking Confidence

Confident woman standing in street smiling
Repeated mistakes.
Drop the ball.
Failure.

Sometimes you just can’t seem to get it together. And for some, you stew over these missteps and errors. You start to feel inadequate, you start to feel less confident.

What do you do when you feel like you are lacking confidence?

Confidence is a key component in your day-to-day activities. If you are feeling less than confident, it shows. The way you act, behave, and even your posture. You project what you feel.

Luckily, there are some easy steps you can take to give yourself a boost.

  1. Celebrate small wins. You might have missed the mark on a recent big project, but don’t let that one misstep overshadow your smaller victories. Set little marks along the way and as you achieve them, be proud. Small wins along the way are building blocks and they can really boost your confidence.
  2. Revisit past successes. You aren’t always going to fail at all your endeavors. Want proof? Revisit your past successes. Look at your track record.
    Quote by Jenny Foss about confidence
  3. Learn from the failure. Increase competence. What did you learn from the experience? Great, now, how can you improve? Determining where you went wrong is ineffective if you do not learn and grow from it. Failure leads to success. You learn from mistakes and you learn about yourself. Top CEOs failed before they became successful. Does Bill Gates ring a bell?
  4. Clear the clutter. Get rid of hindrances. Messy workspace, procrastinating a task, constantly checking social media? Rid yourself of needless distractions and get to work. Stop making excuses.
  5. Dress nicely. Stand Tall. Your appearance has an impact. Not just on how others perceive you, but how you perceive yourself. One of our previous articles (Dressing For Success) spoke on just that. How you dress matters. And so, does your posture. Adopting a commanding posture can immediately help you feel confident and empowered. Stand tall. Sit up straight. Hold your head high.
  6. Empower yourself. Arm yourself with tools to improve. Read. Study. Learn from others. Gather as much as you can get your hands on to catapult you to the next level.
  7. Think positive. Good things cannot come from a negative mindset. You control your attitude. Get rid of negative outlooks. Envision great things that are yet to come.

Confidence definition from dictionary


What has been helpful for you? How can I help? Contact me at TheClarks.Consulting@gmail.com or connect with us on social media! I look forward to hearing from you.

CC close up