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Bridging the Confidence Gap: Wisdom from Inspiring Women

Updated: Nov 20, 2023

Where does our confidence come from? Why is hard for women to gather that confidence and show up boldly? Is it fear, doubt, imposter syndrome? Maybe a bit of each? I want to break this cycle and see women show up with confidence in every situation.

I have had so many experiences where my confidence has faltered in the workplace. A new role, a seat at a new table, a new sphere of influence, and so on. And as much as I know that I was there for a reason, self-confidence still eluded me.

There were times, sadly, that I couldn’t get over the fear, and my voice was not heard. I was hard on myself for that. Over time I developed strategies to overcome that. Everything from “Take a deep breath and just hit send” to sitting up straight at a meeting and physically “pushing” my voice out into the space.

I’m always curious what other women leaders do to find their confidence in these situations. I’ve assembled wisdom from some leaders I have had the privilege to know and learn from. Here are their words:

I know that during times of uncertainty I use the tools that help me. For me I use the power pose of Wonder Woman, collect information, and over-prepare so I can ask the right questions.

Dianne A, Nonprofit Executive Director

“I choose courage over confidence because courage is feeling fear and doing it anyway. I focus on who I get to become by moving through it. I believe it’s a privilege to move through challenges.”

Cledra G, CEO and founder

“Focus on my own experiences and knowledge. Reach out to others if I have gaps and learn from them. Then, I got it!”

Diana M, Nonprofit CEO

“Learn from the people and organizations you admire and believe in - and in turn, you will admire and believe in yourself. After all, you learned from the best!”

Kat L, Business Owner

“Do it anyways. It always turns out well. Take a deep breath. It’s about preparation, review materials, and what my point of view. Lean into what you know to expand into new areas.”

Bonnie S, Business CEO

Of course, I will share mine too:

Remember what I bring to the table, be vulnerable and curious about what I don’t know. Listen, be open to all ideas, and then land where it feels right. Then take a deep breath and just do it!

In addition to these amazing words of wisdom, I also have self-coaching questions that I leverage to build myself back up:

  • What if this is exactly where I am supposed to be?

  • What if I fail? So what? What will I learn? How will I show myself grace?

  • What would my future-self tell me right now?

  • What thought errors am I having right now?

  • How do I want to show up for this?

Today I have more self-confidence than ever. I stay in the space of vulnerability, curiosity, and use these coaching questions daily. I treat failures as leaning moments without shame or embarrassment. And it’s becoming easier to be bold and get my voice out there. I guess practice really does make perfect!

As you can see, everyone has their own set of tools or mantras that help them achieve confidence. What tools do you use? I can’t wait to hear!

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