Is self-confidence different for women comparing to men?

Is self-confidence different for women comparing to men?

My grandma always used to say, Steliana, you can become anything you want, even a Prime-Minister if you like it. At the age of seven I thought Prime-Ministers were boring men with their grey and dark-blue suits. The only woman politician I saw on TV, Elena Ceausescu, the wife of the Romanian president, was a rather scary lady. I wanted to become like Surya Bonaly, an extraordinary French girl who was the first woman of color to win the world title for artistic skating. She wore happy feminine colors but she was courageous and strong. For me she was and still is a symbol of self-confidence.

I chose to write about self-confidence this week because I realized that what I see as common sense, it is not per se common sense by others. You only notice your self-confidence when you lost it. There were three events that triggered me to reflect on self-confidence over the last period.

The first one, was a remark from one of my interns, who interviewed women and men entrepreneurs for her final thesis. She discovered that all women entrepreneurs talked about their experience and credentials humbly reflecting on their improvements areas while the men entrepreneurs always spoke highly of themselves when reflecting on their challenges.

The second event was a question I received during my engagement with the Renault HR team. One of the ladies in the audience asked me if I ever doubted my self-confidence about delivering on new projects when I had to learn new skills. My answer shocked me: I never did. It isn’t the arrogance of being invincible, rather the conviction that I can learn anything if I can put my head into it. The danger with my approach is that if I don’t ask for help from others, I end up exhausted due to the dedication and passion for learning. I only mastered the skills of asking for help in time with my second child.

The third piece of evidence that made me wonder whether self-confidence to ‘just do it’ is perceived differently by women versus man was a remark made by a driving instructor from London. He said:’ I am really surprised to see so many foreign women who used to drive day-by-day in their home-country, sometimes in tough places like India or Pakistan, coming to me for driving lessons. The women take lessons because they think their driving is not good enough for the London traffic, while their men enroll themselves as taxi drivers from the first week.

So, why do us, women feel the need to get a diploma or a training certificate before starting a new paid profession, while men demand to be paid for their work and their learning process from Day 1?

A part of me hopes that I am generalizing and that most women demand the right pay for their services and their effort but unfortunately the gender pay gap, reinforces my perception. I like to think that we women, want a certificate and need to tick all the boxes on the job requirements because we respect quality and appreciate credibility and reliability for building trust. The other part of me wonders whether we women, and especially mums, tend to loose our appetite for taking risk after becoming a parent.

What is your view? Do you see that self-confidence shows up differently for men and women as well?

I would love to hear your opinion in the comments.

TGIF: Say no to misery. Welcome sun.

TGIF: Say no to misery. Welcome sun.

Friday is again here. Hurray!  I can see that smile emerging on your face😊

There is hope on the horizon that the weekend will liberate us. It will liberate us from our screens, the zoom calls and the invisible chain to our desk chair. Welcome outdoor activities, sports, family and  friends  time or …Netflix movies, new dates and adventures.

This week was a rainy one here in The Netherlands and I knew about it last Sunday. Now, as most of you who know me will tell, I have quite a strong inclination towards extroversion, if I don’t get to see the sun or other people for too long, I end up walking around  the house like this pale-faced, moody working mum cursing the kids for being messy.

Desperate moments call for drastic measures. So, in fighting autumn rain depression and home-working cabin fever I did, take some proactive actions. With the help of my dear family, I did 3 things (Tips for fighting misery!)

1. I remodeled my Home office to get maximum sun and color

I decided I need it my new office in a happy corner of the living room, with my beloved brainstorm whiteboard and post its next to it. My dear husband, who never ceases to impress me, managed to surprise me and he did all the set up on Sunday afternoon while I was at the gym.

 2. I adapted my meeting agenda to make it more interactive and ALIVE😊

Like most of you, my Monday was packed with back -to back meetings: client calls in the morning, onboarding meeting with a new team member, a workshop design brainstorm and administration filing. Sunday evening, I had the idea to invite my team mate for a brainstorm at my home so that we can brainstorm at a social safe distance and also tackle the admin. She assured me that she is healthy, but out of paranoia, I suggested we wear face masks.

(Ok, I know that in the current COVID situation face -to-face meetings are banned but if we learn to wear masks during our work meetings our life will become easier. The entire Europe, wear mask, I don’t know why, we Dutch are resisting it still.)

3. I stopped fighting the inner MISERY and low energy when the rain poured down my face while dropping the kids at school on Tuesday morning.

Since   April I started a new digital coaching program on positive intelligence and while I learned a lot while doing the 6-weeks practice exercises, I am learning even more now that I teach it myself. Anyways, one of the best 4 min recordings is on… how to accept misery. It felt counterintuitive to me, but apparently the neuroscience proves that:

 ‘the more our brain tries to fight the misery, the worse it gets. The pain in itself is less than our effort to fight it.’

 If you didn’t come across positive intelligence yet, check out their free saboteurs’ assessment.

Now, if you think, that this is just another letter telling you how great Steliana is and all the things she does, then you must have guessed two of my inner saboteurs, the Hyper-Achiever and the Restless.  However, I must tell you in full confidence that the idea of writing Friday TGIF letters comes from the Sage version of me, the one that knows that only through  being courageous and vulnerable and you can dream big and  help others take action on their dreams. So, my dear friend, this is an invitation for you to sharpen your pencils and to start writing.

 I am convinced that there is a book in all of us, or at least a letter or… a blog article.

 Don’t postpone it, the world is waiting.

I hope you are as excited as I am to begin the weekend.  

Career is only one part of one’s beautiful career.

Sincerely,

Steliana

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