Today, I wanted to share three stories that I’ve collected on what it can feel like to be a woman or person of color in my field – architecture. Names and identifying details have been altered, but the basic structure of these stories is true—and they are recent. They are not from the 1950s or 1960s, they are from today.
Today I’m sharing with you a confidence hack from a woman who recently took my Build Yourself Workshop.
I’m excited to share with you some confidence hacks from real women who have put Build Yourself suggestions into practice, or created their own. Today’s hack comes from Kelsey who was struggling with anxiety at networking events and put a Build Yourself ‘hack’ into play–she pretends that she’s a host of the events she goes to, and approaches people with that mindset in place. From the outside–it just looks like she’s a friendly and confident person.
Today we’re going to do a little quiz. Have any of these situations ever happened to you?
You are in a job that isn’t challenging you. You:
- Believe that there’s nothing better out there and you need to put in your time to learn from your situation in this job.
- Think about switching jobs and end up applying for equally unchallenging jobs.
- Apply to new jobs including some that feel like reaches.
- Apply to a number of jobs that you don’t feel fully qualified for, knowing that women consistently underestimate their value. Prepare for any interviews you get with mock interviews and practices that build up your confidence. Recognize that if you get rejected, it’s not a statement that something is wrong with you—you’re just not there yet.
You have a client that always asks for more than they paid for. You’ve finished the last revision round for them and they’ve asked for more changes. You:
- Feel that you need to keep the client happy at all costs and so you just swallow it, cancel your plans that night and make the extra revisions.
- Get pissed off about it, tell all your friends you hate this client and then do it anyway.
- Tell them you can’t get it immediately but you’ll do it.
- Let them know that the revision period is closed as per the contract, but you’d be happy to discuss adding the extra work for extra pay. You know you’re of value and upholding your boundaries only helps the client respect you more.
You have a new junior employee that you are supervising. You:
- Feel awkward about telling them what to do and avoid it.
- Hold back constructive criticism and do too much of the work yourself instead of delegating it.
- Give them assignments but find yourself expressing them in tentative language and upspeak… “Could you maybe make these revisions by the end of the week…?”
- Give them assignments but find yourself spending tons of time overexplaining what they need to do so that you are not a bad or disappointing manager and you don’t make their life or job too hard.
- Give them assignments in a firm but friendly way, make yourself open to questions but ask them to use their resources and intelligence to do whatever they can on their own, and give them honest constructive criticism that they can grow from.
These are real stories.
These are real situations that have happened to real women. What they share in common is that they illustrate the confidence–real inner confidence–is about more than just the hair flippin’ and swagger. Inner confidence is about having the mental state that allows you to address every situation that comes into your work life from a position of power.
Confidence is the #1 thing I see holding women back. For this very reason I created an inexpensive mini-course to help women deal with their inner critic and loosen its death grip on your happiness and growth.
Introducing Defeat Self Doubt
Defeat Self Doubt is a five-day audio course that will help you manage your inner critic and put it in its place. Designed for busy women, it comes with daily audio lessons (ten minutes or less!) and short daily exercises that integrate into your daily life. Defeat Self Doubt is the five day journey that helps you break through your doubts and unlock your potential, confidence and energy.
What women are saying about Defeat Self Doubt:
“During the course, I had hit a slump while working on a new project. Reflecting and acting on how my confidence was affecting my work made me realize that I still had a lot to offer and a lot of experience that I shouldn’t discount. I turned my negative energy towards asking for what I was worth, and I secured my first client! I also reached out to partners and now have meetings scheduled with them. One big takeaway was that we all go through the questioning and doubting ourselves so I wasn’t alone in thinking or feeling that way. It’s how I acknowledged these thoughts and took new actions that made the difference.”
“I really really enjoyed this course! I was fairly amazed at how easily I could pin-point my inner critic and it felt really empowering to be able to notice that that voice “sounded authoritative” but that it was essentially a pathological response. I found that I could ease up on my anxiety just by noticing what was happening and using the strategies you suggested. Thank you.”
Ready for the change yourself? Get the course now.
When I first started my business, I found myself staring down an empty work calendar. I was totally unbooked–except for one tiny little workshop gig. I didn’t know how to get work, I didn’t know what I what I was selling. I had no clue what to say at cocktail parties.
I felt like an impostor.
If you looked in Jae’s closet, you would have seen a scene straight out of those movies where the main character needs to loosen up–rows of the same shirts, pants and jackets–all in black and white.
I’ve written to you before about how I see issues of confidence as the #1 thing that holds women back from their full potential — no matter where they are in their career — it just shows up in different ways.
For that reason, I’ll soon be releasing Defeat Self Doubt, a mini course that I’ve created to help you put self doubt to the side. It will help you rewire your brain for more confidence and ease. Rewiring your brain is all about little hacks that help you build a new reality that you first start to live–then start to believe. Over the next few weeks I want to share with you a few hacks that I used to do that for myself, especially when starting my business–which was imposter syndrome central for me.
I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions.
New Year’s intentions–well that’s another thing.
Welcome to my book report! Today we’re talking about techniques to communicate powerfully and get what you want.
Think of these book reports as cliff notes to best books on a topic–I read them and pull out the most useful information for you, so you can apply it to your own life. And if you’re intrigued–feel free to nab a copy for yourself.
A view from my solo road trip last October.
I didn’t get my driver’s license until I graduated from college.
I grew up in a city, and didn’t have a parent who wanted to teach me, and so I just never got around to it.
But in the spring of my senior year I suddenly had to learn to drive: I’d accepted a job in California, and driving the company car was part of the gig. “No problem!” I said, because who doesn’t have their license at the age of twenty-two?
And so then I needed to learn how to drive, and fast. I persuaded my college friends to take me out for the kind of driving practice you do when you’re fifteen–I still have memories of swooping around circular highway off-ramps with my friend Jeff, and thinking, “Holy crap, will this curve never end? This is a lot harder than a video game.’
I was terrified.
Driving phobia runs in my family–my grandfather started teaching my mother to drive by reminding her that “a car is an instrument of death.” Yikes. And so when I got behind the wheel, I was bringing in all that history and baggage, as well as a little bit of shame that I was behind the curve, and of course, the time pressure to figure it out–and fast. This turned into a lot of self pressure, performance anxiety and more–every time I got onto the road I was setting myself up for even more runaway anxiety and fear.
And then I had a realization that changed the driving game for me. And it’s helped me with performance anxiety ever since.
“Stupider people than me do this ever day.”
People get into their cars every day, and while accidents do happen, the majority of people who drive every day in America do not kill themselves or others. Of course, getting behind the wheel is a serious responsibility (I’m sorry, I know I sound like an outdated DMV manual here) but I had to just be a bad driver until I became a good driver, otherwise I’d never be a driver at all.
Also, just in case you were wondering, ‘stupider’ is not actually a word. Which just goes to show that you don’t have to be perfect to get what you need.
There are things in our lives that we are not ready for. That we’re not good at yet, that we might even flop at.
We need to do them anyway.
And sometimes when we look around, we realize that maybe the bar isn’t as high as we thought it is in our minds, that the level of polish, service and sophistication we hold ourselves to as a standard we can never meet, is not actually the standard out there in the world. It happens to me all the time with client-based work, and I’m learning to understand better what the bar actually is, so I can spend my time and my client’s resources more intelligently, and to fully own when I think the standards need to be higher, instead of falling victim to that persistent voice in my head.
Confidence is a verb, not a noun. You build it by doing it. Behind the wheel or behind the podium, or even behind your computer monitor.