What’s your over-the-rainbow dream?
The one full of love, fulfillment, and financial freedom? Do you have it in mind? Now… Where did you stop yourself in pursuit of that dream?
The Courage to Leap is Your Key
You know of my interest in growing confidence. I did some research and a lot of thinking for a talk at my Toastmasters Club about the Gender Confidence Gap. (The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know by anchorwomen Katty Kay and Claire Shipman is a resource I highly recommend.) I had one original thought in the mix that I’d like to share with you.
I won’t bore you with citations, but trust me, the reality as shown in numerous studies is that men report a higher self-esteem than women across both country and culture. In tests, women consistently underestimate both their competence and their performance, while men overestimate both (the actual performance being equal.) Women clearly suffer from a skewed self-perception.
This skewed self-perception leads to a reluctance to take action. In other studies, women fail not in their performance, but through being unwilling to try—through not putting themselves into the game. In applying for a promotion, women wait until they feel they have 100% of the job qualifications, while men are comfortable applying with 60%. Let’s call this quality in women risk aversion.
Skewed Self- Perception + Risk Aversion = No Action
Let’s come back to YOUR dream. Has your dream gotten stuck because of this same “confidence gap” created by skewed self-perception coupled with risk aversion? Have you stopped because “I’m not ________ enough yet?” Are you thinking you must get another degree, lose weight, meet the right people, or accumulate more experience first?
What if, (here’s my original thought!), men and women actually have the same amount of confidence, but through biology, upbringing, and cultural norms, we perceive our confidence differently? What if it’s like the “glass half-full or half-empty” problem?
If that’s the case, perhaps it’s not so much a need to race around doing everything you can to increase your confidence, as it is a need to get comfortable taking action before you feel confident. You have a choice—you can shift your interpretation of your confidence level. What you need is the courage to leap!
After all, nothing builds confidence like doing the actual thing we fear. Failure is a given along the way, but in the process, you’ll be learning to succeed and becoming more confident!
About that over-the-rainbow dream… what’s the next step you need to take? What’s the smallest aspect of that step you can start with? Now is the time. Feel your stomach rolling, your knees quaking, and summon the courage to leap!