Update: Author Kristen Lamb wrote a kick-ass blog post about this very topic. Need a nudge to take more risks and go for the big thing you really want? If so, check it out here.
Hard to believe women are still doing this, but we are and it’s affecting our success.
In one day, in a private Facebook group with many successful, published authors, I saw the following posts:
“I know it’s just a drop in the bucket compared to what you’ve all done, but I just got my first review and I’m so excited!”
“Granted, the category is really narrow, but I just reached #1 on such-and-such list!”
“This is just a short story, an easy read.”
These achievements are impressive and should stand on their own. No misplaced modesty or qualifiers of any kind!
Each of these statements appeared in a group for women only. You don’t see a lot of this from men.
Study after study shows that men project more confidence, whether or not they have the stuff to back it up. Strangely enough, when you project confidence, success often follows.
In fact, according to this article in The Atlantic, men overestimate their abilities and performance, and women underestimate both. Even when their performances do not differ in quality.
“Study after study confirms that it is largely a female issue, one that extends through women’s entire lives. We don’t answer questions until we are totally sure of the answer, we don’t submit a report until we’ve edited it ad nauseam, and we don’t sign up for that triathlon unless we know we are faster and fitter than is required.”
The article goes on to indicate that regardless of ability, confidence breeds success.
In Submit Like a Man: How Women Writer’s Can be More Successful, a former literary magazine editor, female, confirms that women publish less in literary journals, largely because of how they do or don’t react to editor feedback.
Yes, the title may rankle, and not all women still have this issue. But in one day, in a supportive, safe, professional group; the apologizing and qualifying were commonplace.
Let’s try something like this instead: “I wrote this. I’m proud of it. Let me know what you think.”
Slip a rubber band on your wrist and if you feel yourself downplaying an accomplishment or apologizing for having an opinion, SNAP! Resist the urge.
Maybe raising awareness will help us all to project more confidence, and in turn increase our own chances for success.