Lack of Confidence is Hurting Your Career Goals More Than You Think

how to be a more confident woman

I’m feeling frustrated this week.

Everywhere I go, I see and hear women asking for permission to do this and that.

“What’s the right way to ask for a raise?”

“How can I sell my product without being annoying?”

I’ve been there too, and I’m not an exception by any means.

I think as women we feel the need to ask for permission for many reasons. We’ve been raised to be polite and nice and not ruffle too many feathers.

And though there’s been a lot of attention on women and confidence these past few years, I still feel lack of confidence is so deeply rooted for some of us, that we don’t even know it’s our biggest roadblock to getting what we want.

I recently realized that if I’m going to constantly ask for permission to grow, I won’t get very far. Yes, this means pushing against everything I’ve been taught about being “polite.”

In today’s article, I want to talk about how to be a more confident woman so we can achieve the career and life we want. 

What does it look like to not ask for permission?

Ask any of your male colleagues and they’ll tell you.

But for me personally, it looks like this:

  1. Risking rejection every day. This means reaching out to companies who have never heard of Work Bigger, or putting myself out there to share my voice. Rejection sucks, but I’m bigger than the rejection.
  2. Keeping to my boundaries and saying what I feel honestly even if it means being disliked. How others perceive me is not my business nor is it my problem.
  3. Creating the career I envision for myself and trusting that all my efforts will lead to a fantastic outcome and all outcomes are fantastic in their own way. The trust is within me not outside of me.  

What does not asking for permission look like for you?

How can you cultivate confidence and push past your emotional triggers?

What I see happening is that we’ll have a certain goal but in the process of pursuing that goal, we’re triggered. Again, maybe our goal requires us to make a cold call or put ourselves out there in another way, but our internal alarm is going off saying “You’re going to come off annoying!”

Here are four steps to help you build your confidence so you can push through these emotional triggers.

Build your self awareness

Often times this is the biggest hurdle. We don’t even know it’s lack of self confidence that’s getting in the way. We think it’s that we don’t have the right tools.

For example, I’ve heard all too often, “What’s the right way to ask for a raise?” I know when women ask this they’re looking for a script. A script is valuable. It can give you something tangible to work with. But don’t stop there. If you can, dig deep to understand why you need a script in the first place…

  1. What could happen (aka go wrong) if you don’t have the script?
  2. How would it make you feel?
  3. What would you feel like without the script?

Answering these questions may give you some insight into what’s holding you back – permission, fear of what others may think of you, or something else.

Invest in you self actualization

I used to approach personal growth as a sporadic investment that I’d need to make here and there when things got bad or when I reached a breaking point. I realize this perspective is why so many of us waste days, months, years feeling stuck and frustrated.

Investing in personal growth should be like investing in your health. As humans it’s what we crave – growth. So why is it seen as an added expense, something we don’t have time for right now or can’t afford?

A few things I’ve tried out that have worked wonders are Rapid Transformational Therapy (which is hypnotherapy to help you tackle a specific issue), different levels of leadership coaching, and participating in certain events within the spiritual and consciousness community.

Cultivate faith

It doesn’t matter if you’re religious or not. (I’m not religious. I grew up in Albania where we weren’t allowed to practice religion.)

Growing up I dabbled in Christianity and Buddhism. I had a lot of questions about God and life and death.

As an adult, even though I still haven’t found a religious practice, I have found spirituality.

It doesn’t matter what your faith looks like but it’s important you find it.

When things get really tough and my ego is really bruised from all that rejection, I remember that this work isn’t about me and we’re all connected. Someone’s words don’t define me because I’m so much more than that.

Let your guard down

I think it can feel incredibly lonely when we have questions about how to do things – how to negotiate that salary or how to move up at work – and we’re navigating the career space alone.  

One of my goals with Work Bigger is to cultivate a safe space to talk openly about issues around self esteem. I think once we can be vulnerable and speak openly about what we’re feeling, the negative feelings and fear lose power. 

Vulnerability allows us to show up as our true selves and it turn gives others permission to do the same. 

In Conclusion: To Be a More Confident Woman

It won’t feel easy to dig deep and tackle your deepest fears. Start with understanding what confidence looks like for you. Is it pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to stop people pleasing? Or is it something else?

After that, build your awareness around your thoughts, feelings and actions. What do you need to do to invest your in self actualization, cultivate faith and be comfortable with vulnerability?

We’d love to hear from you! Is lack of confidence something you’re struggling with? What’s one thing you can do right now to work on it?

We’re also discussing this more in our Facebook Community. You can join here.

Belma McCaffrey

Author Belma McCaffrey

More posts by Belma McCaffrey

Join the discussion 4 Comments

  • Leah Noumoff says:

    WOW – What a great article Belma! This stood out for me specifically:

    “I think once we can be vulnerable and speak openly about what we’re feeling, the negative feelings and fear lose power. ”

    This has rung true for me time and time and again. If I’m deep in depression, or anxious about a meeting, or feeling triggered by a co-worker – bringing it up in conversation, in a way that isn’t necessarily bringing the other people down or into my own shit, helps every single time!

    It makes the problem seem less huge, can reduce any anxiety surrounding it, and talking it through with other people can often help to point out all of the irrational fears I’m holding onto, surrounding whatever it is that’s bringing me down.

    I have noticed too though, that, remembering to call upon my tribe can often be the biggest hurdle. “What if I’m bugging them?” “I don’t want to drag them down too.” “What if they have their own shit going on?” ETC.

    But pushing past those fears and simply opening up is ALWAYS healing <3

    • Belma McCaffrey says:

      Thank you so much for sharing this Leah! This specific point was inspired by our conversation a few days ago. I hear you on calling on the tribe being the biggest hurdle. I agree! I think in those moments is when the detachment can help remembering that reaching out isn’t about what others think of you but that it’s an opportunity to grow. Thank you again for sharing so openly!

  • Twinkle says:

    Thank you. I’m struggling with community and a sense of belonging right now. Gotten to the point where I recognize that it is better to stand on my own, than be around people who don’t get me just so I’m not alone. That’s even lonelier. and it triggers people pleasing. Learning and growing all of the time. Love the idea of investing in self growth *all* of the time.

    • Belma McCaffrey says:

      Thank you so much for your comment! I’m so sorry to hear you’re going through a rough time. You’re definitely not alone, and community is such an important part of that. (You should join our community on Facebook if you haven’t already!) Also – so happy to hear the idea of consistently investing in your growth resonates with you. 🙂

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