One sure-fire way to kill your confidence? Perfectionism. This need to be perfect keeps us from moving forward – it creates inaction – and it especially plagues women.Study after study has confirmed that compared to men, women’s confidence levels lag. As a motivational speaker niched in women’s leadership conferences, I continue to meet women who share their self-doubt following a presentation. Heck, I still question my own abilities some days!
We could analyze all the reasons why women lack confidence – socialization, hormones (high testosterone correlates to a penchant for risk-taking), brain structure (women have a larger anterior cingulate cortex, a part of the brain deemed the worrywart center). But regardless of the root cause, the good news is you can start to shed this curse and boost your confidence. How? Stop ruminating and take action. That’s right – rather than remain stagnant as you wait for everything to line up just so (and really, we both know it never will), do one small thing outside your comfort zone. And then another. And another.
Ohio State psychology professor Richard Petty, who has spent years studying confidence, defines it as “the stuff that turns thoughts into actions.” Clearly confidence and action are interrelated. So count to three and go!
And if it doesn’t work out quite as you’d intended, there’s immense value in the attempt. Psychologists believe that risk-taking, failure and perseverance are key to creating confidence. So start building yours today! My commitment: I’m going to use new humorous material at my next program. Share with me what action you will take.