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The Confidence Code –

Mastering The Confidence Code: Confidence 101, with Claire Shipman, Journalist and Co-author, The Confidence Code – Reprinted From BigThink-Edge

What is confidence? This was one of the trickiest questions Claire Shipman faced in researching her book, The Confidence Code, when she first discovered what it decidedly isn’t: a passive self-valuation, aka “self-esteem.”

Confidence, she found, is defined by trust in the aptitudes and abilities required to act. And most women routinely miscalibrate their level of self-trust. They underestimate when they’re ready for the next career move; assume that the needs of others are more important than their own; find a professional comfort zone and stay put much longer than they need or even want to. Meanwhile, missed opportunities compound.

Shipman also discovered, however, that confidence isn’t a static allotment granted at birth. It accumulates on top of what’s genetically gifted, through the nitty gritty experiences of life, especially those life-defining moments that challenge personal resolve.

Defining Confidence

  • Confidence is not the thing that makes you feel good about yourself. That’s self-esteem.
  • Confidence is the stuff that turns your thoughts into action.
  • Confidence also comes from taking action – it’s a virtuous circle.

Accumulating Confidence

  • A lot of experts now believe that confidence is 25-50% genetic.
  • The remaining 50-75% comes from life experience – from moments of adversity that require grit and determination.
  • Confidence is built through mastery – the process of learning something that’s hard.
  • We can create the conditions for building confidence ourselves.

A woman’s stronghold of confidence accumulates through challenges, missteps, and life itself, allowing bolder moves toward challenges instead of in the other direction. It’s a self-reinforcing loop that not only contributes to professional success, but also empowers women to embrace all aspects of life with a level of trust that matches their capabilities.

Calibrating Your Confidence

  • Confidence is important for all of life, not just our professional life. It allows us to move toward challenges wholeheartedly without holding back.
  • Confidence is a tool that, when working right, helps us make the best possible decisions.
  • Women tend to underestimate what they are capable of.
  • Lacking confidence can lead to compounded missed opportunities over the course of a lifetime.