I managed to get through high school and college never taking a second language, even in the ’80s this required advanced maneuvers through the academic handbook. Why would I do this? Was I against taking a language?
Nope. I desperately wanted to take a language, but I lacked confidence.
The only language offered in my high school was Spanish, and I wanted to take French or Japanese (it was the ’80s).
Later, when I went off to college, my 17 year old scholarship self, decided I would be unable to keep my required GPA taking a language, given I was already four years behind.
Recursive logic indeed, especially when you factor in the fact that I had an above average memory and a crazy serious work ethic [seriously, I was so much older then…]. Looking back on this with the benefit of hindsight, I can say confidently, that the odds of me not being able to handle the rigor of a 101 language course was exactly 0.
So when I read that women have a confidence gap, looking for perfection in themselves before putting their hands up for consideration for professional opportunity, I recognize we need to take this seriously. Especially when we look at the incredibly slow pace of progress for women in senior leadership in the west (in retrospect maybe I was onto something by not taking Japanese).
So what to do?
I think it comes down to recognizing the need to have a strategy for being confident. Being angry at men for being better at this than women, completely misses the point.
Confidence is a critical skill for professional success. Odds are you could be better.
Work on it.
Some useful suggestions
- Get your body and your mind helping you by improving your inner monologue and Power Posing
- Get someone with perspective to help you compare your qualifications more objectively
- Do a better job recognizing that the fact that you are skeptical of your own qualification, is a sign of your competence
Don’t let a lack of confidence get in the way of your success, practice more, work harder, figure it out.
You can do this!