For all women, that think they need more self-confidence
Last week I had to make a phone call that I was dreading. I had to call somebody about a subject I was not really an expert on. My colleague knew much more about it, but she was on holiday and someone had to return the phone-call. As soon as I picked up the phone, loads of thing happened; I got a dry throat, I felt nervous in my stomach and all of a sudden there were 10 different, “what if…. scenario’s” in my head.
After a while, I could realize what happened. As if I was looking at myself from a distance. In my head it was like: “ohh, interesting, apparently, I am anxious to make this phone call….”
As soon as I made this realization, I could also put it, metaphorically speaking, on the shelf. I did not take it that seriously. I made the phone call and as it turned out….. it was a nice conversation and not any of the “what if.. scenario’s” did actually happen.
A few days later, purely by coincidence, I read the article by Tara Mohr, titled “the Confidence Myth”. Where she describes these same kinds of “insecurity moments” and how to deal with them.
According to Tara, it is not about more confidence, to achieve more in your career, grab chances and put into the world, what you find is important. But, it is about knowing how to deal with your fears. It is not about “confidence”, but about “courage”.
It is about having courage to do exciting things, regardless of all the voices and fears that arise. To grab the invitation to speak, regardless that disapproving voice that comes up insides of you and says, “Do you really think that of all people, you can deliver an interesting and engaging presentation?”Who do you think you are?
Read down below, (an account of this article) and how other successful women deal with it and what you can do to improve your relation with your “inner critic”.
According to Tara Mohr a lot of articles and books on the subject “women and insecurity” have been published lately. In these books and articles women are urged to become more self-assured. But, after years of coaching women, to get the careers they aspire, she is convinced, that this is completely the wrong idea.
“It is about this, insecurity is part of the problem. But, contrary to what we expect, self confidence is not the solution”.
The solution is having a new relation with your own insecurity.
Take Cherry Murray, dean of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, who has published more than 70 scientifically articles and owns 2 patents. “If I sometimes think, that I am not qualified enough? All the time!”
How is it possible that this kind of women, write, speak, create and are leaders in their work field, but at the same time feel this insecurity? Dani Shapiro says: I hear this voice since ages. “You cannot do it, but at the same time, I make a choice not to listen to it”. Or as Twyla Tharp says about her fears. “If I would let my fears rule, I would suppress my instinct and this will probably close my creative source all together.
“It is not self confidence, which makes it possible for these women to succeed, it is the manner in which the relate themselves to their insecurity.
But, what does this mean in practise: to relate yourself in a new way to your insecurity?
According to Tara this is simple. The solution is not to start a discussion with your “inner critic” or getting angry at it. This will be like putting oil on the fire. The voice, will become louder and more persistent. What we need to do is simply to recognize it, when it speaks. (Often a sharp, repetitive, fearful voice) and learn to distinguish this voice, from the voice of your wise, calm spirit. ( “the voice of our best thinking”).
By simply recognizing it, we will start to observe the voice and we will have a choice on how to respond to it.
Secondly, as soon as we have identified the voice, we need to remember what it is. This “inner critic” is often a fear for failing, change or visibility. Using a very ingenious manner to attack us. Wanting to make us shrink and go back to our “comfort zone”. It is our instinct, to do whatever lies in its power to keep us in a “safe place”.
This is the reason our “inner critic” becomes especially loud, as soon as we want to take important steps to realize our deepest wishes. Our “inner critic” is like a strict prison guard of your “comfort zones”. As long as we remain within our safe comfort zone, the guard sleeps.
But, as soon as we find ourselves at the edge, this guard will awaken and will try everything in its power, to get us back, in a safe place. A place where we will be safe from possible painful criticism, failing or vulnerability.
If you can remember this, you can remind yourself that this voice is probably not telling you the truth, although another part of you feels that this must be the truth.
You can give a wonderful presentation, although your inner critic says that your idea sucks. You can start a new business, although your inner critic says, you are no CEO material. And you can send your CV to a challenging job, although your inner voice says, that they will never find you suitable.
And the more often you apply this, the more it becomes a habit, just as it works for the women like Dani Shapiro, Cherry Murray and Twyla Tharp.
“We need to learn to take action in the midst of self-doubt, and we can each begin practising today”!