By: Irene Ortiz-Glass, Founder/CEO, Leadership Advisory Group
Over the last 25 years, I have had the pleasure of coaching and mentoring more than 100 female leaders. Regardless of their level of seniority or years in leadership, the topic of confidence has surfaced in every relationship. Like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, without confidence women can never truly attain the level of greatness in leadership that they aspire to achieve. It is the cornerstone that supports every other aspect of success for women in leadership. In my experience, there are four key steps necessary for women to achieve greater levels of confidence.
We cannot all be good at everything. It is a fact of life that we are all born with unique gifts and strengths. We must embrace our uniqueness while exploring it deeply with intention. It starts with assessing your life from the time you were very young to today. What did you excel in? What gave you joy and made your heart sing? What did your teachers say about you? On the flip side, what do you spend your time doing at work that you really don’t like? Where did you struggle in college? What drains your energy? This exercise in self- discovery allows you to be real with yourself and open to the opportunity to be the best version of yourself you can and were MEANT to be.
One of the greatest gifts in anyone’s career is the gift of feedback. While it may be hard for some, getting an objective view of your overall strengths, perceptions and development areas are critical to confidence. It may be hard at first, but learning about how others see you provides valuable insight for your development as a leader as well as development of your overall brand. Without this powerful information, you are missing important input that can elevate your potential and impact your life. I always suggest interview style 360-degree interviews as the best way to get this feedback through an outside third party if possible. I also suggest that you ask for feedback from your boss, your peers, and direct reports. Your job is to listen, be open and receive the information as a true opportunity to learn and grow. Feedback gives you confidence to face the opportunities that exist to further develop and gives you an overall sense of power in your ability to take the action needed for change in your life.
You are not here by accident. There is not one person on the planet that is made like you, looks like you, has your unique cells or patterned DNA. You are a beautiful unique masterpiece! The interesting thing about purpose is that without doing the work of digging deep within yourself you won’t ever find it. Purpose starts with defining your values, what you care about, and what kind of impact you believe you want to have and can have on the world based upon your unique gifts. It is bigger than you might think and takes time. It is about finding the meaning in life. Rick Warren in the book “The Purpose Driven Life,” states that there are great benefits of living a purpose-driven life: Knowing your purpose gives meaning to your life, focuses your life, simplifies your life, and motivates your life. With this purpose comes the ability to better prioritize and makes it easier to remove clutter so you can have a life of true significance. This new sense of purpose will provide a new level of confidence as you begin to live a life that is aligned to your true intentions.
An Action Plan
Progress cannot occur without action. Confidence requires a plan. This plan includes doing the work listed above and then creating a map of how you plan to close gaps in your development. The closer you get to closing these gaps the more confident you will feel and the more purposeful you will become. When I work with clients I typically have them create a visual map of their overall purpose with a mission statement in the center. I then suggest they write their values around the outside with their strengths/gifts and areas for growth. I have them look at a wheel of life map and rate their level of contentment in areas like finances, relationships, career and family. Remember our lives are more than just work! We are to live a fulfilled life that includes alignment in all areas to truly be happy and confident. The final action plan includes defining the things they will continue to do and the new things they will include in their daily lives. It is important to ask yourself what resources are needed. Sometimes it’s a coach, sometimes a mentor and sometimes its family support. The next step is to simply share your plan with this person for accountability as you begin to execute.
It is important to remember that confidence is a journey of self-discovery. Go easy on yourself, give it time and encourage yourself through this process as you uncover the greatness you have to share with the world.
Over the years I have developed my own personal mission statement which is to help others evolve and develop their level of potential to live a life of significance. As part of this mission, Leadership Advisory Group has created a cohort program dedicated to the advancement of women in fast growth organizations. This event is focused on providing an opportunity for self-awareness through assessment, feedback and coaching as well as intensive dialogue based sessions. More important, this session provides an opportunity for emerging women in leadership to network and connect with other women who are moving along a similar journey. I hope you join us!
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