Taking action. Risking. Doing. These things generate a belief that you can successfully perform a skill, and that directly generates confidence. That, in turn, stimulates further action, and the cycle continues.
Start with these actions:
1. Stand up with confidence
Knowing that a substantial part of confidence is a choice can free you from the myth that you’re stuck at the level of confidence you feel now. As ambitious women, we can choose to expand our confidence. Starting now, you have to put yourself out there. Force yourself if you must, begin small if that’s what it takes, but you must act. Action breeds confidence.
Stop brooding and doubting your abilities. End your self-sabotaging thoughts, and start taking action and taking risks. Once you see that you can do something, it bolsters your ability to take another action or face another risk.
2. Speak up
If you have an idea or disagree with what’s being said, speak up. Shut down mansplaining and manterrupting and stop allowing men to appropriate your ideas as their own. When you are speaking, do not yield, and call out any man who interrupts you. If necessary, bluntly say “Stop interrupting me and let me finish.” When you talk, make sure to use empowering language that exudes confidence.
Never apologize before you speak. The word “sorry” should be banished from your vocabulary. Do you ever hear a man apologizing? Similarly, never caveat what you are about to say with prefaces such as “I’m not sure but” or “I might be wrong but.” If you discount what you’re about to say, good luck having the men take you seriously. Use direct, forceful language.
Male speech patterns are more assertive, direct and succinct. Women’s speech patterns are perceived as weak, unassertive, and tentative. Use short sentences. This makes it harder for people to interrupt you.
3. Show up
Display your true grit, a combination of mental toughness, courage, hard work, and sometimes sheer stubbornness to keep going until you reach a goal. Reaching that goal is usually a marathon, not a sprint. Demonstrate the tenacity to continuously prove yourself.
Seize the next challenge and keep achieving. Push back against those who deny you what you need.
4. Smarten up
Focus on earning respect, not popularity. As women, we tend to be people-pleasers and hyper-sensitive to nuance. Don’t obsess over being “likable.” “Most men aren’t worried about being ‘likeable,’ so you have to get over it. If you’re good enough at your job, it doesn’t matter. Understand that success is not a popularity contest. Women have to learn to withstand disapproval and criticism and, when necessary, to take hard, contrary positions.
The most likable people are not regarded as leaders. Instead, to achieve success be respected, decisive, and inspiring.[…]
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