If You’re Doing This, Knock it Off!

Strong Women

Strong Women

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.

If you know you have a problem with confidence, check out Confidence Breeds Success– And it Can Be Taught from Forbes for a start. You might like this post on self-doubt.

Maybe raising awareness will help us all to project more confidence, and in turn increase our own chances for success.



2 Thoughts on “If You’re Doing This, Knock it Off!

  1. Awesome Suzanne. I’ve been passing around a Ted Talks video on body language with similar findings https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ks-_Mh1QhMc . Thank you for this post, it’ll be there like the rubber band to remind me of the importance of owning my value.

What is Your Greatest Fear?

Conquer your fears

Thor and Ruger - Fear of Dogs

Last Sunday night, we were attacked by a loose pit bull. My husband saved us with his work boots and extra long legs. We had finished eating takeout with our daughter and her fiance and decided to walk off the Portillo’s Hot Dog feast instead of lolling on the sofa in a greasy stupor. Our neighborhood park was a couple of blocks away and my daughter’s two rescue dogs–a boxer mix and a spaniel-mix–needed the exercise.

The chaotic scene was a blur as I walked a few paces ahead of our group. All I remember is clinging to the back of my daughter who is four inches taller than me and then holding her smaller dog in my arms as I circled, keeping my back to the pit bull. I doubt I came off as heroic.

Fortunately, there were no injuries. The pit bull got it’s mouth on the boxer three different times but each time, my husband came to the rescue, keeping the dog at bay with his feet. The police were called, the owner showed up to claim the dog and received a couple of tickets, and vet checks ensued.

When it was all over, I had a headache and the desire to cry for two days. At the age of seven, I was bitten by a German Shepherd and stray dogs are my number one phobia. Before spiders or my husband’s irrational fear of sharks (we live in the Midwest for crying out loud), I am deathly afraid of stray dogs.

Conquer your fears

This past year has been a time for me to do those things that make me afraid…call myself a writer, submit things I’ve written risking rejection, perform at a Live Lit Storytelling night. I’ve faced these fears but still balk at walking outside alone. I do it. But I have to force myself.

After the dog attack, I’m more hesitant than ever. This reminds me of a class I took about 15 years ago. I don’t remember the exercise but I remember having to name my greatest fear. It wasn’t dogs, spiders or sharks–it was the fear of living a life filled with regret. I could feel it happening. I was meant to be doing something else but I couldn’t see what it was so sometimes I didn’t even look.

“This takes a lot of self-belief…to just follow an idea and believe something will come of it.” ~ Insa

Writing may not be my ultimate calling. I think it is. It feels like it is. Facing the scary stuff is opening me up. Each time I push through the membrane of my safe existence, I catch a glimpse of possibility. Fear, worry, regret…they’re my stray dogs. How do you face yours?


2 Thoughts on “What is Your Greatest Fear?

  1. Great post Suzanne. What an awful experience! Hope you’ve recovered by now.

    I also have a fear of large/yappy dogs. Especially when they are running wild! WHY do people Do that?? Grrrrr!! I think I have too many fears to list. I face them by keeping my eyes tightly closed, and going “La la la la la la la” and pretending it’s not really happening. Not the best way I know! 😉

    I am convinced that writing IS your calling, Suzanne! You are so good at it. Keep facing those stray dogs! You can hide behind me if you like. “Woof!” *Happy waggy tail* 😀 <3

    • Thanks, Angela! Your method just may work. I appreciate the support and am a fan of you as well 🙂 As always, having readers (and supporters) is the best reward–that is, after doing what we feel we are called to do. And keep the dogs on a leash, people! Sheesh!