Have you ever been invited to step right up to the plate, and found you could not swing?
Or turned down an opportunity for advancement, because you just didn’t feel ready to advance?
Have you backed up against the wall when the door to success swung wide open for you?
You are not alone.
Most women are challenged by an unexpectedly wonderful chance to dance.
I worked with a student recently, named Jackie. She had created an incredible new product line with stunning branding, and had envisioned and planned the next five years of her new company’s growth.
Yet she came to me, complaining that she was “completely unprepared” for the next level of development, which was going to include investors.
She already had an investor ready to give her the money she needed, but she felt like she didn’t have anything significant to bring to the party because she’d never done anything like this before.
What is up with that? Jackie had every reason to be confident – she’s talented, skilled, and successful. But here she was, getting derailed by self-doubt in the face of her next expansion.
Way too often, a woman’s first response to a new opportunity is, “I can’t. I’m not that good yet. There’s probably someone more qualified than me.” We exclude ourselves based on our perceived lack.
This is a typical experience for a woman—but it’s very different than what a man would be experiencing. On the whole, men suffer more from over-confidence than lack thereof.
It’s not that men don’t doubt themselves; but they’re less likely to allow their doubts to stop them.
Ernesto Reuben, a professor at Columbia Business School, has come up with a term for this phenomenon: honest overconfidence.
In a study he published in 2011, men consistently rated their performance on a set of math problems to be about 30 percent better than it was—compared to only 15 percent for women.
In the working world, this translates into a sense of self-confidence without the need for evidence. If a guy doesn’t know how to do something—like be a CEO of a company—he’ll still accept the job. He’s got an innate confidence that he’ll be able to figure it out.
By virtue of living inside of this culture, men—especially white men—trust their own competency. They trust they can step up to any kind of plate.
We women, on the other hand, are perpetually and continually second-guessing and disqualifying ourselves.
As a result, many of us never discover our own potential.
The coaching I gave to Jackie was to plug herself back into the turn-on outlet, and to remember that pleasure is her first and most important priority.
See, women do not gain confidence the same way men do—by following rules.
Women gain confidence by being turned on. And by being connected to a community of women who help keep our orbit high.
When you find yourself mired in self-doubt, “I can’t,” and not enoughness – your task is to find your way back to turn-on.
Turn-on is the antidote to self-doubt, and the pathway to unshakeable confidence.
Jackie looked at me with a furrowed brow, and asked me what turn-on actually means – was I telling her to have more sex, and show up at the office in short skirts and low cut shirts? How this could possibly be the priority in her business venture?
Jackie hadn’t yet experienced the kind of turn-on I’m talking about.
I explained that the kind of turn-on I’m talking about happens from the inside out. It’s not tied to any external behaviors or circumstances. It’s a state of being. It might inspire you to dress more sexy, because it puts you in more approval of your body. It might inspire you to flirt with people, because it feels so good you want to pass it along.
But the experience of authentic turn-on goes much, much deeper:
- You feel a sense of your own aliveness and your life force
- You know that your spirit and your body are one
- Your native enthusiasm is intact
- Your ability to reach for pleasure is on—especially when it seems hard
- You’re in your right mind and your highest power
- You’re you—full, complete and whole
Once planted in her authentic turn-on, a woman begins to grow. Kind of like the way you just trust a tree to grow.
A turned on woman learns she can deeply trust herself. She pays attention to her desires, and treats them as her roadmap.
She can truly feel her deep yes and her deep no.
She relaxes into the unknown, rather than forcing or muscling her way through life.
She knows she can handle obstacles, and understands that each one forces her to expand in new ways.
She experiences the divine in everything, especially herself.
Within you, within me and within each woman is the source of our own power.
She is our antidote to shame, and the wellspring of our deepest intuition.
She is our divinity, our spiritual center, the timeless point of our attraction, and our power source.
She teaches us that our joy is serious business.
She is anchored to our truth.
She teaches us our unshakeable confidence.
So . . . how do you turn on? Where do you start?
Start with pleasure. For Jackie, this meant:
- Watching an Amy Schumer video. Amy always brings us home.
- Karaoke with full dance moves, air guitar, and her best friends as back up dancers and singers
- Self-pleasuring in the bath tub for that fresh and saucy feeling
Thus revived, Jackie jumped in with her business plan, investors backing her – and she decided to maintain (and appreciate) the easy, eccentric way she’s been running her company.
It fills her with creativity and juice, and has resulted in a product that is unique and game-changing for her customers.
Instead of feeling filled with self-doubt because her process does not look the same as her male counterparts, she tapped back into her own power source and is ready to stay turned on.
Now, in the comments below, I want to hear from you.
Where in your life are you getting stalled by your own self-doubt, or lack of confidence? What are 1 or 2 ways you can turn up the pleasure dial, and plug into the turn-on outlet? What connection do you notice between confidence and turn on?