Look around and you may notice that there is a growing pool of female founders and women-owned businesses all around us. You’ll see it in your friend who’s building an empire, or in your colleague who plans on being the next Michelle Obama, but according to a recent report, the modern woman isn’t just ambitious and driven, but wracked with some insecurities too.
A finding from the Hewlett Packard report finds that men apply for a job when they meet 60 percent of the requirements, but women only apply if they meet 100 percent of them. Career and executive coach and author of The Career Book Jane Downes reckons imposter syndrome and the inner critic could be to blame. “Some women careerists suffer from imposter syndrome, i.e. the feeling they are just not as good as some of their male counterparts,” she explains.
“Your mindset and how you approach work can hold you back. You can move into comparison mode where you compare yourself to others as opposed to choosing role models that inspire you and drive you forward.”
Downes believes self-esteem plays an important role in why women may be less likely to go for roles that stretch them. “Sometimes women can focus too much on the deliverables, instead of keeping track of their accomplishments and logging their success. They often default to the role of “dutiful fulfiller” and undervalue themselves.”
All is not lost if you believe your inner critic could be holding you back in your career. Downes says corrective action is needed to manage these feelings. Here is what she advises:
Boost Your Worth By Learning
“Be open to learning,” Downes encourages. “This increases your worth within work and when you learn you become more personally effective as it increases your knowledge and know-how and helps you to stop second-guessing your ability. It doesn’t need to be an all-consuming MBA; short courses can really help the time-poor careerist.”
If you’re feeling bogged down by negative self-talk, Downes says the first step is to become more self-aware. “Engage in regular mental detoxes to remove any toxic sludge. This will give you the mental space you need to work on becoming more self-aware,” she explains. “People who know their worth are usually self-aware. Understand your behavior and the style you are adopting within the workplace.”
Change The Way You Communicate
“To show your worth and put a value on yourself you need to communicate with others with this in mind,” explains Downes. “We convey our worth by the very act of how we communicate. Learn the art of asserting yourself nicely and saying ‘no’ when appropriate. This will get you respect from others and add to your worth bank.”
Keep A Success Journal
Getting all your achievements out on paper may help you see all that you’ve accomplished. “Start a work journal or worksheet,” Downes advises. “At the end of each week write down what you accomplished, completed, or even just tried.
“At the end of every month, look back and take it all in. When you begin to notice the quality of your performance improving, you will naturally be motivated to commence a dialogue with your employer and place a value on getting the rewards you deserve without second-guessing yourself.”
When you put all these tips into practice, Downes says your perception of yourself will start to shift. Your inner critic won’t be just as loud, your courage will grow and you’ll have the confidence to keep moving forward.