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coffee-apple-iphone-deskAre you a woman who knows you have excelled professionally from your fabulous capabilities and full confidence? Looking back over your work life, are you content with all you have achieved? If your answer is yes, then please read no further. However, if you are a woman who realises that you have held yourself back from furthering your career because you haven’t taken the risks required to progress. You might feel that there is always someone else who could be better for the job. Or maybe you believe you need to learn more before you are suitable for progression. Please continue reading. You are not alone!

In a society where it is the norm for women to be working, and more and more mothers are returning to work, the inequality gap in the workplace would be assumed to be reducing. However, there is still a huge disparity between men and women in the top jobs “In 2010 women made up only 12.5% of the members of the corporate boards of FTSE 100 companies.” Of course, this inequality can be connected towards sexism within the workplace. But there is also another story connected to this gap because there are many reports that women are not putting themselves forward for the top jobs. Why is this?

In a recent study, it has been shown that universally, women show a pattern of lower confidence and self esteem than men, which has an enormous impact on career choices and progression. Confidence is connected to your belief of how well you can do things, whilst your self esteem is all about your self worth. So it is easy to understand how these can be central to your professional progression. When your self confidence is low, it will naturally stop you from taking risks and grabbing opportunities that might place you in a vulnerable place of failing. With low confidence you might find yourself holding back opinions and ideas in meetings, thinking that no one would be interested or they will laugh at you. Unless you make yourself seen and heard, promotion is less likely. It can also be hard to accept compliments and positive feedback, meaning you only hear the thing someone wanted improving or what you perceive as wrong and miss anything that they appreciated about your capabilities.

Most of my clients I see with low confidence/self esteem, report an inner critic in their heads. Their inner critic is a constant companion, comparing them to everyone and everything around them. This comparison can be about anything – appearance, success, capabilities, achievements and so forth. The one consistency is the comparison is always to the detriment of the listener. The inner critic isn’t offering a positive outlook- quite the opposite. It’s constantly saying “You’re not good enough” “Your nose is too big” “You don’t know enough to apply for that job because someone else will be better than you are”. “They don’t like me” “Be afraid of failing” “Don’t speak or you’ll look like a fool.” These words can freeze you or make you hold back on fully expressing your true potential.

So what can be done about this? Take a moment to consider what those words would be saying with good confidence and self esteem. You’d be hearing phrases such as “You’re good enough for this. Give it your best shot!” “If you don’t try, you’ll never know” “Your opinion is a good one and needs to be heard.” “There’s no such thing as failure. Just feedback.” And if that inner critic was to start whispering those negative words again, you could recognise the words for what they are and ignore them.

I wonder how differently you would find yourself responding to your professional path with improved confidence? Experiment with it for a whole day. If you have an inner critic, take a chance and turn those words into something more positive and give new things a chance. Because if you don’t try, you’ll never know!!

Giselle Monbiot is the Women’s Confidence Coach and creator of “The Seven Pillars To Good Confidence”. She works with her clients 1 to 1 and in groups to transform their life with renewed confidence and self esteem.

 

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