They (whoever ‘they’ are!) say confidence is one of the most attractive things you can wear. And it’s true.
Some people just seem to have ‘it’ naturally.
The X factor, the gravitas, the ‘je ne sais quoi’ that makes them stand out in any room. The thing that makes them unafraid to take risks and make things happen.
It’s not competence, folks. It’s confidence.
AND, even more than that, it’s about being BRAVE. And it’s available to all of us.
In preparation for my upcoming talk at SHRM next week (I’m delivering a mega session to 2000 people… EEK!) I’ve been doing more research recently about confidence and bravery ~ what it is, what it isn’t, what kills it, and what builds it.
I came across an amazing book, The Confidence Code, written by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, who share some incredible insights.
It turns out both nature AND nurture affect our confidence.
Some fascinating research exists on the fact women and men’s brains are actually wired differently, we produce different hormones, and we each have an individual genetic make-up – and all of these play a role in terms of how confident we are naturally.
And, there are also thoughts and behaviours that are learned through our experiences, upbringing, and society. (Did you know that in a Harvard study looking at gender effects on performance, girls who had to write out their gender on a math test before completing it, performed more poorly than those who did not have to write it out?!? Crazy!)
There are also ‘bravery killers.’ And that’s where I want to dive into today. Because, as it turns out, I’m noticing some of my own bravery killers that I admittedly employ on perhaps too regular of a basis.
A study showed that women want to have approximately 85-95% of the qualifications on a job requirement before submitting an application. Versus men, who apply when they identify as having 15-25%!
We wait until there is very little likelihood of failure before taking action.
We also tend to over-prepare, if anything… in wanting to ensure we get things right, we look good, and we avoid looking bad.
We want to be perfect, appear perfect, and perform perfectly, all too often. And because it’s an ideal that doesn’t exist, we often feel bad about ourselves when we fall short.
Or, we live in perfectionist paralysis, and don’t put ourselves out there at all.
Yup, I still do that, too.
Now in my defence, women have a more active hippocampus in our brains than men do, and so are more wired for connection and empathy. While this can be looked at as a good thing, we also have to be careful. It’s a proven fact women are more interested in being liked than being respected, and as a result we often care too much about what people think.
At times our behaviours are more motivated by not wanting to ruffle any feathers, or by wanting to be liked, instead of doing what is right for us.
Procrastination and/or P-a-u-s-i-n-g (and over-analysing!)
Sometimes tied to perfectionism, the idea here is we tend to spend FAR too much time thinking and analysing. Waiting to feel ready or good enough or for the perfect moment to arrive before taking that first or next step.
We hesitate. We pause. We ruminate. We procrastinate.
And when we get too caught up in our heads, we tend to imagine worse-case scenarios, listen to the negative voices in our heads that tell us we can’t, we’re crazy, or our idea will never work.
And as a result, we often don’t take any action at all.
Okay, so how do we move past these bravery killers?
Awareness, Insight, Action.
First, you need to identify what killer is coming up for you in the moment.
Gain awareness, and get real. Are you taking on a behaviour or an action because it feels right to YOU? Or because you are trying to get someone to like you?
Are you finding an excuse as to why you’re not taking on a behaviour or an action because you’re stuck in your head? Are you listening to those negative voices? Are you wanting to be PERFECT before you even begin?
Notice what is happening. And examine why it may be happening for you. Look inside yourself. Insight brings clarity.
And finally, it’s time to take ACTION!
The only way to build bravery is through action. PERIOD.
You’re not going to think your way into feeling more confident. Instead, you have to choose to get into actin before you feel ready. That’s what it means to be brave.
Action builds your bravery muscle, even if the action isn’t related to the area you may be lacking it.
And action is contagious. That first, small brave move is all you need to take!
If you were even braver than you are right now, if you were even more confident than you are right now, what one small action would you take?
And WHEN are you going to take it?!?
Today seems like a pretty good day to me! Go ahead, I DARE you!
You don’t need to learn any more, get any more qualifications, do any more prep work.
I truly believe each and every one of us is here for a greater purpose. And when we are holding back or letting our confidence killers get the better of us, we’re not showing up in the biggest version of ourselves. And we’re not going to make the biggest impact we can make.
Which bravery killer holds YOU back the most? And what is that one small action you are going to take (maybe even today?!?) to move you forward?
I want to hear from you in the comments below.
Have a FAB day!