INTERNATIONAL WOMENS DAY
Three Practical Things You Can Do To Make A Difference & Close The Confidence Gap
I can’t believe it’s a whole year since I shared my last international women’s day post, all about closing the confidence gap, at the time of writing that post confidence was a really important topic for me as I was in a situation (I had been short listed as a Women of Tomorrow by the IPA) where I could see how my confidence has held me back from going forward for industry recognition and how still there was a huge element of self doubt within me, despite knowing I had achieved so much.
The confidence gap is still a huge issue for women, even the most extrovert, senior and seemingly confident of us can suffer moments of self doubt, low esteem or just anxiety around situations, perhaps feeling we’re not good enough. Women at every level in industry can and does admit to moments like this, but rather than share more moments that I know you’ll relate to, I wanted to share some tips instead.
Some tips about how YOU can make a difference on international women’s day, tips to help you close your own confidence gap, and importantly tips to help you help & raise others up around you and get rid of the confidence gap all together.
THREE PRACTICAL THINGS YOU CAN DO TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
BE EMPATHETIC TO FEAR
Firstly, be conscious of the confidence gap, how you are feeling or how those around you are feeling, but don’t let it stop you. Accept it, soothe it and find a way to overcome it in whatever situation you’re faced with. We all have a chimp on our shoulder, and sometimes that chimp is all about why you can’t, shouldn’t or won’t be able to do something … have a quiet word with yourself, often that’s all you need to take a deep breath and that first step forward. Within your workplace be aware and empathetic to those around you, and whilst on the surface things might seem a-okay, be aware of and support those who you know may need some encouragement or help to face a challenge.
Feeling nervous, anxious or slightly out of your depth isn’t bad, it’s about how you help yourself and those around you overcome those feelings that really matter.
We’re a bit afraid of feedback in the UK, but at the heart of companies like Facebook and Google is non stop feedback, post every meeting, post every piece of work delivered or presented, and on a regular and ongoing basis they issue feedback. It’s a culture we too have tried to embrace within my work and having spent a week on ‘upping your elvis’ creative training one of the key areas of focus is on feedback. And I don’t just mean ‘you were great’, I mean constructive feedback (positive and constructive to help you / people around you be their best): ‘I really felt you took control of the room and garnered attention when you stood up to speak’, ‘you delivered the piece around tech evolution so articulately, everyone seemed to be on the journey with you’ and I also don’t just mean positive, it’s really important to make constructive feedback more ‘normal’. Delivering constructive feedback must be done with empathy and with the single goal of helping the person improve in whatever way, for example ‘I think next time, you could take a moment to pause between each of your key points to make sure they really land’, ‘One of your presentation slides could be streamed back as there’s a lot to take in during that section’ … it should be specific and focussed.
The point of this though, is to help yourself and those around you be the best they possibly can be, to help boost their confidence as they know where they’re delivering great and where they can improve, and to generally help raise everyone up.
RAISE THOSE AROUND YOU UP
One of the most motivating, self esteem boosting and overall joyful things to receive is praise. Often we can become so focussed on our own journey we can forget to raise those around us up … if we want to celebrate women we must raise them up with us (and men for that matter too). We should be sharing praise to those who deserve it and letting their line management know how well they delivered, we should be putting people forward for opportunities that provide a step up, some exposure or just a great opportunity to learn, we should be bringing people in and sharing the limelight for a when a project has been delivered together. There is absolutely nothing in raising people up with you, that will negatively impact your journey.
The more we do it, the more it’ll happen, and whether your a man or a woman, having the support of those around you is the ultimate way to tackle that confidence gap.
I’d love to know whether you found these tips helpful. International Women’s Day is all about celebrating the huge achievements we’ve all made in life (men too), but what’s important is that we don’t stop celebrating, supporting and raising those around us up outside of this day. Use today as a moment to reflect but also to set yourself some goals for how you are going to support yourself and those around you to achieve their goals and stop their chimp / confidence gap from holding them back moving forward.