Is There a Confidence Crisis for Women?

By GalTimer and Life Coach Karen Kleinwort

Rank your confidence right now, with 10 being highly confident (You speak your mind, you offer opinions when necessary, you make decisions quickly without a lot of second guessing.) and zero being low or no confidence (You keep your thoughts and comments to yourself, as you believe no one wants to hear them, and you are indecisive, cannot make a decision without asking at least three people their opinion, etc.).

I was surprised to learn recently there is a crisis in confidence running amok in women these days. Women are lacking the confidence to speak up, offer their two cents, or take credit for a job well done. Is this sounding at all familiar? At first the idea seemed foreign, but then I started looking around at the women in my life and I realized that yes, most of my conversations with friends and associates deal with the fact they lack the confidence to step out and into living their lives fully. Wow!

Related: 6 Steps to Turn Insecurity into Growth

Did you know you were born with two accounts? And no, I am not referring to a financial bank account. (Even though there are those who are born with that kind, too.) But really, you were born with two very specific lifelong accounts that your actions, decisions and experiences will make a deposit into or a withdrawal from. Your first holds your integrity and the second your confidence.

As you move through life, your actions and decisions impact these two accounts: if you choose to live with integrity or not, and if you continue to grow and improve your self-confidence. If your decisions are supportive of your integrity, then your account balance grows; if not, then a withdrawal occurs. To make a deposit into your integrity bank account takes a lot more work. You need to restore your integrity, and that takes time. Likewise, your actions and decisions affect your confidence, but your confidence is also affected by your reactions to how others respond to your decisions.

How you respond to decisions under normal circumstances and during times of crisis can be completely different. What allows your decisions in times of crisis to be similar to normal circumstances is your confidence. The more confident you are, the better decisions you will make when under a high level of stress.

Remember, your interpretation of stress and definition of crisis can and will change, transform and be completely redefined based on your experiences. So what you consider to be a crisis may not be considered even remotely stressful to another.

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Let's assume you understand the true meaning and impact stress can have on you and your ability to make effective decisions. But are you aware of the difference between internal stress and external stress? No? Don't worry; you are not alone. Most people lump stress all into one big ball. But for you to truly be confident in your life, you need to understand the difference between internal and external stress, which we'll go over in Part Two of this "Building Confidence" series.

Right now what really matters is your having the tools and skills necessary to make decisions effectively and improve your confidence. Here are three very easy actions for you to take today to begin improving your confidence and getting what you not only deserve in life but what you desire.

Action 1: Identify the emotion first triggered when you are in a heightened stress situation. As an example, imagine you are in the office and someone else takes credit for a job you completed. What did you emotionally feel? Was it powerlessness? Grief? Anger? Discouragement? Whatever it is, just accept it. Don't judge yourself for feeling it. That's what we do as humans; we feel, so go ahead and feel the emotion being triggered. By feeling the emotion, your self-confidence is immediately increased due to having newfound knowledge. And knowledge is empowering!

Action 2: Step up your emotion. If you are feeling angry, then look to raise your emotion to discouragement; if you were feeling discouragement, then raise your emotion to frustration; if you were feeling insecure, then raise your emotion to jealousy. The key is you need to raise your emotion so you can begin to see a new perspective on the situation. With a new perspective you are going to increase your confidence regarding the situation.

Related: 3 Steps to Improve Your Outlook

Action 3: Execute! This is twofold. You need to execute the lower emotion and continue raising your emotions to a higher level until you're back into being positive; the second is take action or execute the step(s) necessary to act on your newly found confidence. You need to take at least one step to resolve the situation triggering your stress. Back to our example of someone else taking the credit for your job well done, an action might be to approach the person who took the credit and congratulate her on her success while making sure to give yourself a pat on the back for taking the high road.

Confidence breeds confidence, and with each step you take your confidence grows greater.

To your success!
Coach Karen K

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