Confidence isn’t something you have, or not. It’s a skill you can develop, and build. I recently had a great conversation with Globe & Mail columnist Leah Eichler about the topic. Here’s an excerpt from her article:
Ann Daly, an Austin, Tex.-based author and career coach devoted to the advancement of women, defines confidence as the ability to put yourself forward, in this case in the business world. Dr. Daly, a former associate professor at University of Texas, also views confidence as a behaviour, which men and women learn differently.
“Our culture loves to keep men and women in their place by differentiating them,” she said, adding that the gender-specific approaches to confidence are instilled early in a child’s education.
Girls, she explained, internalize the lesson that they need to get everything right to reach the top of the class, a phenomenon she refers to as “the gold star syndrome.” That early emphasis teaches girls that advancement requires perfectionism.
“Perfection is the enemy of the good, and it’s the enemy of confidence,” she said. “Women who focus more on the process, the work, rather than the gold star, tend to have a greater capacity to put themselves out in the world.”
To illustrate her point, she referred to a Hewlett-Packard study, cited in a McKinsey Quarterly report, which found that women believe they must meet all the requirements of a job before applying for it, while men feel they only need 60 per cent of the requirements.
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