I was listening to the CBC driving one morning and ended up being seriously late for an appointment because these two incredible women were being interviewed. Well, three. The first was Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, who then led into an interview with Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. They had just released a book which they co-authored and Lagarde just happened to be one of their subjects so it all tied together quite nicely. The topic, confidence, and more specifically confidence in women (or lack there of). The book that Kay and Shipman had just penned was called The Confidence Code and when I was hearing some of the statistics that they found in their research not only was I intrigued, I made Indigo my very next stop to get a copy.
The Confidence Code. The Science and Art of Self-Assurance – What Women Should Know.
The book starts off at the opening practice of the Washington Mystics, a WNBA team. Kay and Shipman were on the hunt for raw confidence and what better place to find it than on the ball court. What the two are quick to display is that even within the toughest, most cut throat environments, women struggle with confidence. From the Pentagon to the basketball court an easy correlation was made, time and time again women attributed their successes and place in their lives and careers as dumb luck. Yes, they acknowledged that they worked hard but there was always an insecure nod to it not being because of sheer talent and deservedness but rather luck – right place, right time.
When speaking to honors graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis (one of the most incredibly grueling programs in the world), Michaela Bilotta said this:
“I think it definitely took me longer than it would have or some other people to admit that I was worthy of it,” Bilotta confessed. “Even though from the outside, I can look in and think, you did all the work and you earned your spot.” She paused. We were sitting with her in her parent’s basement, which we noticed, was overflowing with sports gear, trophies, and academic plaques – the souvenirs of raising five determined girls. No clues that would have suggested a childhood that didn’t nurture self-belief. “I just doubted it,” she said, shaking her head. “I wondered, ‘how did this happen? I got so lucky.’”
And so on and so on. Case after case of women with self doubt, even the authors of the book admit to silently cutting themselves down, playing a tape in their heads that they aren’t worthy, or good enough.
Once the stage is set with ample examples of gendered lack of confidence the book moves on to giving the reader a ton of information on the brain, where confidence comes from and what it is. There were so many points in the book that were like little light bulb or A-HA! moments. So many that if anyone was near me while I read, I was reading it aloud. It was so eye opening that I couldn’t help but blurt it out.
Being someone who has always struggled with confidence, this book was such a wealth of information. Add that to the fact that I am very conscious of not wanting to pass off my insecurities and self doubts onto my daughter, it was so insightful and an amazing tool that I will continue to reference and explore.
In an effort to not give away the entire book I will stop blabbing on about it and encourage you to pick up a copy for yourself. It’s concise, well written and researched and easy to read. Check it out! And their website is pretty awesome too!