In addition to the old familiar gender pay gap, it seems we women workers are also hurdling a confidence gap. Most of us suffer from self-doubt and replay an inner narrative - stories we tell ourselves about our workplace unworthiness or other insecurities - and the more we say it the more we believe it. We underestimate our abilities and men, through no fraud of their own, overestimate their abilities. It's not that men are unfamiliar with feelings of self-doubt, but when they feel this way, they typically use it as motivation to suit up and doubly prepare, as if going to work is somehow like going into combat, and they are preparing, determined to win.
Women, in fact, when trying to get ahead or change the trajectory of their careers, tend to only apply for positions if 100% qualified; men decide to compete at less lower levels - if they meet about 60% of the job qualifications, they compete, knowing that OTJ training works - that they can learn the rest of the skills as they go, on the job! Men are better at risk-taking, which includes risking failure. Women would be wise to think on this.
We get high marks, of course, for being compassionate beings. Not so much, apparently, with self-compassion. This book encourages the tendency of kindness and compassion that we show others - to ourselves. So instead of the inner dialogue of "I am a failure" replace that with "Yes, sometimes I fail, we all fail sometimes, and that's okay."
All of this and so much more is described in this fascinating new book - and the Atlantic's May cover story - The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman:
Quick takeaways: Confidence matters. Stop apologizing. If you can't see it, you can't be it.
For more info and an insightful video: http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/04/the-confidence-gap/359815/
How confident are you? Take the 5-7 minute quiz found here: