3 Ways To Close The Self Confidence Gap
Speaking of confidence, Take The Lead is pleased that Claire Shipman, journalist and co-author of the blockbuster book, The Confidence Code, will generously give her time to speak and answer questions at our July 10 fundraiser, 6:30 pm at the Phillips Club, 155 West 66th Street in New York City. Click here for full details and to register. A few spaces remain, so if you haven’t bought your ticket yet, hurry and do so.
Women’s confidence gap is making headlines. We face a society that says we can’t do it as well as our own inner voice.
This flies in the face of the facts. Women have leadership chops and the skills needed to build and scale businesses.
- Zenger Folkman, a leadership development and corporate training company, has compelling research showing women are more effective than men on 12 of 16 competencies used to measure leadership. Men excelled in only two. (The others were a wash.) “Many assume that it would be in the area of collaboration, teamwork, building relationships, and developing people. The data says that is correct, but the biggest differences are that women display more initiative, follow-through, and are more focused on producing good results,” said Jack Zenger, CEO and cofounder of Zenger Folkman.
- Feminine skills and competencies such as empathy, flexibility, openness and collaboration are coming to the fore, not just as nice-to-haves but as business imperatives. John Gerzema and Michael D’Antonio revealed this finding in their book, The Athena Doctrine: How Women (and the Men Who Think Like Them) Will Rule the Future, which was based on research conducted among 64,000 people surveyed in 13 nations.
- Mounting research from Dow Jones VentureSource, Illuminate Ventures, Kauffman Foundation and the SBA Office of Advocacy find that women-led companies outperform their counterparts.
Still we have self doubt. Some women close the confidence gap. How do they do it?
Forget the Glass Ceiling: Build Your Business Without One, my new book, provides lessons on how 10 awe-inspiring women closed the gap. They include:
- Erika Bliss, CEO of Qliance, Seattle, WA
- Mandy Cabot, founder and CEO of Dansko, Chester County, PA
- Luan Cox, founder and CEO of Crowdnetic, New York, NY
- Liz Elting, Co-CEO of TransPerfect, New York, NY
- Kara Goldin, founder and CEO of Hint, Inc., San Francisco, CA
- Lili Hall, president and CEO of KNOCK, Inc., Minneapolis, MN
- Paula Long, CEO of DataGravity, Nashua, NH
- Kourtney Ratliff, partner, Loop Capital Markets, Chicago, IL
- Danae Ringelmann, founder and chief development officer of Indiegogo, San Francisco, CA
- Nina Vaca, founder and CEO of Pinnacle Technical Resources, Dallas, TX
As its foundation, the book uses Gender-Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index (GEDI) Research of High-potential Women Entrepreneurs — the first diagnostic tool that comprehensively identifies and analyzes the conditions that foster the development of high-potential female entrepreneurs.
Here are three ways these women — all leaders of high-growth businesses — have done it. These 10 women exemplify what researchers have found: overcoming self doubt leads to success.
1.) Use purpose to move you past self doubt.Successful women are more likely than successful men to own a business so they can pursue a personal passion and to make a positive impact on the world. When you’re on a mission, you can move mountains. Use purpose to move you past self doubt. Ringelmann received about 90 “nos” from potential investors before she and her cofounders heard “yes.” Now the money is flowing. They’ve raised $56.5 million, including $40 million in January, 2014, in the largest venture investment for a crowdfunding platform.
2.) Seek role models, be a role model“You can’t be what you can’t see,” said Marie Wilson, founder and president emeritus of The White House Project. Knowing other entrepreneurs plays an important role in directly enhancing the aspirations of women who want to start their own businesses, and supporting their growth by providing access to ideas, opportunities and resources, according Gender GEDI.
When you’ve got it, flaunt it. Not because you’re bragging but because you’re an inspiration to other women. This is so important that even President Obama has formed an initiative, The Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE). It is comprised of some of America’s most dynamic and successful businesspeople, including Tory Burch of Tory Burch; Steve Case of AOL and Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn. An astounding five of the 11 PAGE ambassadors are women, including Vaca.
Examples of women starting successful companies should reassure aspiring entrepreneurs that women just like them have put the puzzle pieces together.
3.) Connect and support each otherWomen may not have all the power that they deserve but they have enough to make things happen for each other. In the corporate world, years of no progress have been followed by more years of no progress, according to Catalyst 2013 Fortune 500 Census of women on boards and as executive officers. But women entrepreneurs are making progress and will have a breakout year in 2014.
Women can mentor and advise each other, they can open their Rolodexes to make introductions and they can use their wealth to fund women entrepreneurs. Women can be timid when it comes to investing but no need to be shy. A lot of groups are training women as angels and there are lots of angel groups to join if you’d like to invest with others. These groups include Astia, Belle Capital, Golden Seeds, and the Texas Women’s Fund, will help if you want to invest with others.
When self doubt rears it’s ugly head in your mind? How will you slay it?