A friend of mine recently asked me to edit a book she’s written.
“Well, I mean, it’s not really a book,” she said. “It’s more like a booklet.”
— Mary Burke, the former Trek executive who ran for governor in 2014, told me she was grateful for her early supporters “who saw the potential in me, who saw a governor in me before I saw it in myself.”
— And on a Facebook board yesterday, a woman wrote that she wants to be a freelancer, but “I have almost no life experience, and zero expertise. I’m an amateur in all my hobbies. I don’t know how to find a niche. I’ve tried figuring out my audience first, but when I do, I don’t think I have anything to offer them. I know everyone says you don’t have to know anything to be a freelancer, but maybe I’m just not cut out for this.”
My friends, do you see a pattern in those bolded words?
I hope you do.
Because they represent a crucial struggle, one I see all the time when I speak with women — especially those just starting their entrepreneurship dream.
We lack confidence. We limit our potential. And, in so doing, we minimize our impact.
We make ourselves small.
Now, let’s be honest: There are a whole lot of cultural factors that actively encourage our insecurity, our smallness.
The Doyenne Group’s Amy Gannon wrote that, “Women are navigating an environment in which:
- People expect them to fail;
- They get grilled more about how they are going to avoid failure than how they are going to achieve success; AND
- They get called out for being too confident.
“When women make mistakes, it validates the internal biases people hold that women just aren’t as capable as men. In contrast, often when men fail it is viewed as a necessary step toward success.”
Now, say you get that message, I don’t know, roughly 3,000 times a day for your entire life: You’re bound to feel a little timid.
But we can’t afford timidity. Have you looked around the world recently? It needs us! It needs YOU!
The world needs our audacity, our confidence, our gifts, our dreams.
That doesn’t mean the world will welcome us. The world will continue to try to make us small.
But our response is our choice.
The best defense?
GO BIG and OWN IT.
That thing you’re writing? It’s a full-on book. A bestseller!
Is the world blind to your greatness? See it in yourself first!
Is your inner voice listing all the reasons you’re sure to fail? Tell it, seriously, to shut the hell up! (Then WRITE DOWN all the reasons the world needs your gifts and the reasons you’ll succeed. So you have something to remind you the next time self-doubt sneaks in to shake your confidence.)
We all struggle with insecurity. Myself included.
But we cannot loom large in the world if we choose to lurk in the shadows.
Struggling to embrace your personal power?
Here’s a starter list of a few things you already are:
But you’re never, not for one second, small.