I’d like to tell you a story about someone I know. It may turn out that you know her too.
Laura† is a young woman with a lot of wonderful skills yet is currently out of work. We all know that looking for work stinks but, luckily, in Laura’s case opportunities are arising.
Laura has knowledge that other people would love to know themselves. She has talent and she has dedication. I look at Laura and think: Now who wouldn’t want to hire her? She’s fantastic. It appears to me that others who know Laura also think the same thing.
Through my work we have offered Laura an opportunity and I know she is going to accomplish it with flying colours. Others are starting to offer her bits and pieces of work too, and still others have more ideas for her as to how she could put herself out there in an entrepreneurial way.
But Laura looks at us and says: “Wow, you guys are just so confident in me!” with a hesitation that makes me think that we may be more confident in Laura than she is in herself. How do we make her see how wonderful she is?
I was chatting at work today about Laura with someone else who had this to say: “Why is it that we women have so much more confidence in others than we do in ourselves?” And why indeed? Why is it easier to see the skills that others bring to the table yet have blinders on in terms of our own?
Ask me about my friends and I can rattle on for hours about their best attributes. Jocelin is an amazing goal-setter and ‘do it’ person; Trish is a fantastic theoretical thinker. Tara M is a great idea generator and Winnie has an exuberant personality that makes people want to be her friend. Elaine isn’t afraid of a challenge and Michelle B is always willing to try something new. Christa is so full of zest that she’s a joy to be around and Tania always appreciates the beauty in life. Shelley sets lofty goals that would scare the pants off of others yet accomplishes them with ease and Lori is interminably positive. Tara G has a natural talent for fashion and Michelle P is a wonderful Mom. Jill makes me laugh and Sharon is a genuine woman that isn’t afraid to show others who she really is. (And those are just a few of the amazing women I know!)
But being good at something and being confident in that something are entirely two different things, aren’t they? How many of these women do you think truly realize their worth in the ways I’ve mentioned? Would they have said the same things about themselves? On the flip side, would I be able to accurately name all the good things they see in me? I’m not sure I could. (And I almost said there that “hopefully” they see good things in me…another loss of confidence!)
I don’t know how it became natural for us to doubt what we can accomplish. I don’t know how we can see so clearly where others have amazing skills yet can’t fully appreciate where we ourselves excel. All I know is this: don’t we all know a “Laura”? Aren’t we all a “Laura” ourselves? How do we move beyond our doubt? How many things could we ourselves accomplish with flying colours if only we’d believe that we could do them?
†Not her real name.