“The most common way women give away their power, is by believing they don’t have any”
A study by the International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics showed that women are better at decision making, particularly in difficult situations. Nobody ever knew that this would become so evident in the situation that we are living through. 193 countries in the world and only 10 led by women! Reports from many important journals around the world have highlighted the success of female leaders who have minimized deaths from Covid-19 in their countries inspiring the support of their communities by leading with empathy, compassion, preparedness and the ability to collaborate and listen before making policy decisions. Although a limited sample, this way of dealing with the current crisis shows that women have certain abilities to be good leaders, and yet women remain underrepresented in top leadership positions – private and public – globally.
We constantly hear of gender inequality; that the best roles are given to men, they get better paid, and that men often prevent women from climbing the ladder as “the biggest fear of men – whether they know it or not – is that women will outshine them”; a statement from Dr. Joe Dispenza, author of “Evolve your brain”.
I am the 4th of 5 daughters; I grew up in matriarchy and my circle of friends has been mostly female. I have supported many women in different parts of the world in their journey to self-discovery and creating a better version of themselves. Recently I collaborated with a project supporting women with STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine & Maths) background . Women between 25 – 60 years old, very highly qualified in professions mostly dominated by men, some with double masters or doctorates, with many years’ experience in their fields and still not sure if they are capable of succeeding. While I was collaborating in this project, I was wondering how many degrees, how many years of experience will be necessary for women to feel worthy to lead an organization, a country? The truth is that many women want to lead, but something is holding us back and is not men, not family or kids, but sadly it is simply as self-confidence.
According to the KPMG Women’s Leadership Survey lack of confidence affects many activities that are needed to get into leadership positions. Here are some shocking numbers:
- 9 out of 10 women are not confident asking for a sponsor, or an executive advocate to help them to be promoted
- 56% do not request a new role or position
- 65% do not ask for a pay raise
- 69% do not request a promotion
- 76% do not ask for access to senior leadership
- 78% lack confidence to ask for a mentor
Jordan Peterson, Canadian clinical psychologist, says that most of these problems relate to “not speaking up”, which is a direct result of low self-confidence, not believing that what you have to say matters… This is something that most women were trained to do in many cultures, as it was the case in the Mexican culture where I grew up being told “calladita te ves mas bonita” (be quiet, you look prettier). With this and many other limiting beliefs I am not surprised that many women have problems expressing themselves. The good news is that women can build the self-confidence needed for a powerful career, achieving that dream you always wanted…
So what is self-confidence and how do we build it?
One definition of self-confidence is “an individual’s trust in her own abilities, capacities and judgements”. Is a process and it can’t happen overnight. As such, energy and determination is needed. Some steps to work on your self-confidence:
- Take responsibility for yourself and your success as nobody else can do it for you. Stop blaming it on others and giving power to other people over your life. If you wait for serendipity to provide the good fortune, you might be waiting a lonnnng time.
- Discover the wonderful person that you are. You are unique, unrepeatable. There is nobody like you. And you have something wonderful to offer to the world
- Focus on your strengths and manage your less dominant areas. Stop the self-criticism of what you cannot do and celebrate where you excel.
- Seek and accept help/ support from other people; get a coach or a person that can help you believe in yourself. You are not alone…
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – if you don’t make any, you’re not trying hard enough – but do learn from them and adapt as you go. Either you win or you learn…
If we want more women leading in the world, it is paramount to concentrate more on ourselves and stop blaming others. Believe in yourself and the power within will help to climb the ladder and lead not only organizations, but communities and countries.
Feeling you need support to re inventing and start believing in your self? I might be able to help you. Drop me a line, and let’s discuss your amazing future.