The Myth of Perfection Creates the Confidence Gap
Challenge Yourself and the Norms: Say YES and then figure out how to do it!
In baseball we have all kinds of statistics: number of at bats, number of hits and number of strikes. We also have statistics about women and work. Never were statistics more telling than those regarding gender impact on job applications and career advancement.
Confidence Strike One:
Studies show that a man will apply for a job even if he has only 60% of the skill set required on a position posting. Women generally do not apply for jobs unless they have 100% of the skill set listed on the requisition. What is that 40% gap? CONFIDENCE.
Confidence Strike Two:
Studies also show that men are promoted based upon potential and women are promoted based on past achievement. This creates a huge challenge for women who aspire to promotions and new projects because both they and our culture hold the false belief that if they’ve never done something, they can’t do it or are not qualified. As Henry Ford once said, “Whether you believe you can do it or not, you’re right.”
Confidence Strike Three:
Holding ourselves back still shows up when we’ve finally “hit the ball out of the park” and scored a personal or professional home run in some aspect of our life or career. When a man has an accomplishment or reaches a goal and those around him offer congratulations, he whole-heartedly accepts it and takes full credit. He is able to embrace and enjoy all of the glory of a job well done.
What happens when a woman finally reaches a benchmark achievement or accomplishment in her life? She either gives credit to the people who helped her or luck. This happens because she unconsciously fears the social penalty for being a confident woman. In order to cast off any perceptions of being conceited or self-serving, she gives the credit away. This helps her to avoid the “who does she think she is” backlash, but also re-enforces the confidence gap, because, once again, it wasn’t “her” achievement. She doesn’t update her personal score card to accurately reflect her abilities.
The Myths of “Past Achievement” Perfection and Competition routinely prevents us from moving up the corporate ladder. We focus far too much on our flaws instead of our gifts. We become complacent to avoid the risk of “failure.” We spend more time working hard to please others, than to please ourselves.
We need to consciously begin to see ourselves as the vastly resourceful and capable human beings that we are. We have to begin raising our hands and requesting the jobs, promotions and projects that we want even if we don’t have 100% of the skill set. Accomplishments create Confidence.
Challenge yourself to anything and everything that interests you. Live fully so that you never end up regretting the one thing you didn’t try because you were afraid to fail. Rely on your potential instead of your past achievements. Don’t strike out before you even get started!
Did you know awareness creates fairness? Learn more about the other Myths.