I’m reading The Confidence Code.
The latest book by bestselling Womenomics authors Katty Kay, anchor of BBC World News America, and Claire Shipman, Senior National Correspondent for Good Morning America has just hit the bookstores.
It is a fascinating read.
Katty and Claire examine why women lack confidence no matter how much they’ve accomplished, the ways self-confidence impacts their professional aspirations, and how women, daring to be authentic, can unlock the transformative power of a life on confidence.
Competence and confidence are discovered to be equally important to success, but, unfortunately, there is a disparity between the sexes that disadvantages females due to factors ranging from upbringing to biology.
The two authors highlight ways this gap is affecting women in the marketplace – from holding ourselves back from something as simple as answering a question to more vital assertive behaviors such as salary negotiations, applying for a promotion or even hesitating to seek out upwardly mobile opportunities.
One example uncovered how today’s highly educated and well qualified working women often fall short in a competitive environment by setting a perfectionist trap and obsessively second-guessing themselves, “Women applied for a promotion only when they met 100 percent of the qualifications. Men applied when they met 60 percent.” Katty and Claire point out that perfectionism is, of course, unattainable, so women who wait for perfection to enable their confidence will never be competitive.
The authors also offer practical advice and relatable stories to show us that we’re not alone in our self-doubt. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg told them a year before her Lean In book was published, “There are days I wake up feeling like a fraud, not sure I should be where I am.”
Most importantly, Katty and Claire identify the key to cracking the confidence code, becoming more self-assured, and closing the gap. They are emphatic that confidence does not have to be elusive, and leave us with encouraging studies confirming that, if we consistently take action and avoid courting our fears, we can rewire our brains to feel more self-confident, allowing our hidden competence to visibly shine.
Well, it’s got me thinking…
What you wear on the job affects your self-confidence too.
I know I certainly feel more empowered to tackle my fears and share my ideas when what I am wearing authentically reflects my personality, flatters me, feels comfortably good, and is appropriate for the occasion. I also know, when I feel self-assured with the image I am presenting on the job, I behave more confidently and, in turn, my confidence resonates with my peers and positively impacts my career.
And I figure, why not use every available tool?!
Have you ever had an experience where what you wore gave you the confidence to speak up, take charge, or facilitate problem-solving? Please share!
Image credit: Nifesimi of SkinnyHipster. Graphics by Kristina Moore for Corporate Fashionista.