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Women Boosting Women - Fail Fast

Women Boosting Women - Fail Fast

Rhian Bowler / 02 Oct 2017

Recently Chris Evans on Radio 2 interviewed inventor and designer Sir James Dyson on his ideas, innovations and failures. I was fascinated to hear how many designs fail before a prototype has been agreed, but each failed attempt has provided valuable learning and experience to improve the next design. 

 This reminded me about how important it is for us to push ourselves out of our comfort zones and not be afraid to fail, but learn from the experience and move on.  

Women do tend to hold themselves back if they can’t fulfil all the requirements on a job spec, expect their work and results to position them for progression and promotion, and often don’t ‘take a seat at the table’ and prefer to sit around the periphery.  One of RBS’ successful initiatives to drive gender inclusion has been building women’s confidence through a dedicated Women in Leadership programme.

During coaching sessions women have shared with me, “during meetings, men may sound more confident, but when you listen to ‘what’ they are saying, you realise your contributions are better.”  Men often talk more loudly at meetings, interrupt and take our good ideas for their own.  Women need to support each other, promote each other’s ideas, and ensure we get ‘airspace’ at meetings.  Even the senior women in Obama’s committee introduced ‘amplification’ as a way to ensure their voices were heard at male dominated meetings.

Building your confidence can have a positive impact at work, and your career.  Confidence is partly influenced by genetics, or your upbringing, but it’s not fixed.  You can choose to be more confident by making a conscious decision to do things differently:  you can make changes to your thinking patterns, the way you approach things and nurture positive thoughts.  

Building confidence is about taking action.  To build on your own confidence, commit to taking a few of the actions below to improve your own confidence levels.

  • Push yourself out of your comfort zone.  When in doubt – act.  Nothing builds confidence like taking action. Try doing something you wouldn’t normally for fear of failure or embarrassment; ask someone not to interrupt during a meeting; even ask for a pay rise.
  • Be prepared to fail, or ‘fail fast’.  This may seem counter intuitive to many women, but not getting some things right, can enable us to try more things, learn, and move on.  
  • As Nike say, ‘Just do it’, don’t procrastinate until it’s 100% perfect. Striving for perfection holds us back.  
  • Stand in the spotlight and be proud.  Women tend not to like being in the spotlight and downplay successes, making excuses for them, qualifying it as ‘luck’ or ‘right place, right time’.  We need to improve at accepting & acknowledging praise for our achievements, and not excuse them.  This will boost confidence and promote ourselves positively. 

Research shows taking action not only reflects confidence, it builds it.  Start your confidence journey today.

Suggested reading:
Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed
The Confidence Code by Katty Kay & Claire Shipman

Rhian Bowler, E2W Leadership Coach
E2W Personal Coaching Packages are available on this link

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