We'd like to introduce guest blogger, Dale Furtwengler, and share his recent blog post on living a life free of fear, anxiety, and frustration. The original post can be found at Confidence: Fake It 'Til You Make It?
Confidence: Fake It 'Til You Make It?
During a recent conference on confidence the primarily female audience bemoaned the fact that men are better at “faking it until they make it.”
Based on my experience in working with both female and male clients for more than 25 years, I believe that the difference in confidence between men and women lies in where they place their confidence. Women tend to rely on their experiences for their confidence whereas men tend to draw confidence from their ability to learn and adapt.
Before we delve more deeply into this idea, I want to emphasize the danger of generalizations. You and I both know men who won’t take on a task unless they’ve had experience performing that task. We also know women who readily embrace any opportunity that comes their way.
While there are some natural tendencies that differ between genders, there are always exceptions to the rule that make the use of generalizations somewhat risky. What doesn’t differ between the genders is the ability of the person to retrain their minds to overcome natural tendencies that get in their way. Women and men alike possess this ability.
Experience vs. Adaptability
When presented with an opportunity, the question that women seem to ask themselves most often is “Do I have the experience to be successful?” And even when they do have experience, they tend to discount the value of that experience.
Men, when faced with the same opportunity are likely to think “I didn’t have any experience doing ‘x,’ yet I was successful doing that. I didn’t have experience with ‘y,’ but I was able to produce good results doing that, so why wouldn’t I be able to be successful in this endeavor?”
The difference between the two genders lies in where they place their confidence. Women tend to place theirs in their experiences whereas men tend to place theirs in their ability to learn and adapt. The implications are huge.
The first implication is that men are more progressive than women. That’s not true, it’s just that women tend to be more deliberate in their decision-making process which is a great counter-balance to men’s tendency to decide quickly and suffer the consequences. When blended, these two differing styles provide better and quicker results.
Another implication lies in the way men and women are evaluated for promotions. In a 2011 McKinsey study, researchers found that men are judged on potential, women on performance. That raises the proverbial chicken and egg question. Are men and women judged differently because they are of different genders or because they express their confidence differently? I can’t help but think it’s the latter.
If I’m correct in my observations and women tend to admit that they don’t have experience in a given area or discount the experience they have, they’re sending a message that is framed within the context of their past performance.
If, as I suggest, men are more inclined to point to situations in which they’ve been successful even though they possessed no prior experience, they’re sending a message that highlights their potential.
This difference in presentation could easily account for the results in the McKinsey study. It’s not much of a stretch to see how that difference influences managers’ decisions.
As a manager considering a person for a job or an employee for promotion which would you prefer, someone with potential or someone with experience? Someone who has demonstrated success in areas in which they had no prior experience or someone who needs prior experience to feel comfortable taking on new responsibilities?
The good news is that regardless of whether you’re a woman or man who feels that a lack of experience is holding you back in your career pursuits, you can retrain your mind to focus on your success in situations in which you had no prior experience.
It doesn’t matter whether that success was a personal development achievement, career success or business success. The key is that whenever the doubt which inevitably accompanies a new opportunity arises, you’re able to quickly remind yourself of the successes you’ve enjoyed in situations in which you had no prior experience.
When you’re able to make this transition from experience-based thinking to confidence in your ability to learn, you’ll be judged on your potential rather than your experience.
Dale Furtwengler is a coach, speaker, and internationally-acclaimed author who helps people lead a life of confidence. He helps them free themselves of the fear, anxiety, and frustration that stand in the way of living their dreams. You can find more of Dale’s tips, books and services at www.TheLifeOthersDesire.com.
Good leaders inspire, persuade, and connect. They create productive relationships and environments for themselves and for others. Environments in which they and the people they lead can feel safe and motivated. Environments where they use their knowledge and brain strengths to achieve performance excellence.
Applying neuroscience to leadership begins with an understanding of self. I spent the end of last week in what I called a "brain jam session" with Stephen Hager, the creator of the well validated Brain Pathways assessment system. I wanted to "pick his brain" on how knowing how we take in information and learn (our sensory paths), as well as how we process information, plan and think (our cognitive paths) can help leaders in a practical way.
Here are a few of the points we explored that have direct practical application to your leadership.
1. Knowing yourself better is the first step for excellent leadership
Every human being has a unique sensory sequence and cognitive thinking preference. When you are aware of yours, it's easier to improve:
Communications by understanding your strengths and limitations.
Learning about yourself and others.
Creativity, both personal and group.
Alignment with your job characteristics for promoting success.
Decision making, by understanding neurodiversity. You will then surround yourself with those that are strong where you might be weak or have a blind spot.
Productivity and effectiveness by better managing time and stress.
Relationships by enhancing the exchange of information.
2. Understanding others will increase your influence.
It's easy to assume that everybody learns and thinks the way you do. Therefore, you tend to communicate using your preferred methods. Yet, good leaders modify their methods to the preferences of their people, the situation, and the environment. When you learn to appreciate the preferences of others, you will expand your circle of influence by communicating in a way that others can receive more easily.
3. Creating a safe environment will encourage high performance.
Good leaders realize they create a safe environment with their words and actions. When you build rapport, support others to achieve their potential, and place others ahead of you, you create a high energy, high creativity, high engagement environment. These will naturally lead to high performance
You can exchange information in ways that:
Align with the basic sensory and cognitive preferences of your followers by employing all sensory and cognitive methods in the delivery of your messages.
Build rapport by playing to natural preferences and using words that resonate and make sense.
Engage people's minds in a way that facilitates openness to new ideas, thoughts and change. You have to model self-regulation of feelings and start looking for win-win solutions.
Help yourself and others put your egos aside and be able to engage with empathy, from the heart.
4. Diversity of thought enhances success.
Understanding, leveraging, and welcoming the diversity of people's minds is critical to success. Look for your team's strengths and areas that need development. Make sure you build greater tolerance and respect for each others' unique strengths. Be inclusive of everyone's thoughts. Invite them to collaborate. Minds that work together, bond together and succeed together.
Every leader should take the Brain PathWays assessment. It will also be helpful for their team to do so.
Brain PathWays™ is a powerful online neuroscience system to discover your sensory perceptual and cognitive processing strengths. If you haven’t taken it, I encourage you to do it. It's easy to take. You will need only 10-15 minutes. This system teaches you how to apply and leverage that knowledge to align your unique strengths with your leadership activities for the best possible outcomes.
If your team also take the test, we can provide you with a team report that will increase understanding and will help leverage everybody's strengths for the good of all. I can facilitate a one or two day workshop after a team has taken the test to increase understanding and practical application. People feel energized and teams perform better.
The test is short and very affordable. If interested, click here to contact me. I can give you information on how to take the test and will offer you afterward a free 20 minutes session to answer any questions about your report. Together we will explore how you can use your new knowledge in your practice of leadership.
The “neu who” is a “neu” you! The “neu” in neuidentity represents using the power of neuroscience to reinvent yourself. No matter how old you are, your situation, or your circumstance, you can create a better life with the “power within.” Think of your brain as computer hardware and what it stores as the software. The software is your “operating system” for how you interpret and experience life.
You may not be aware that your brain is innocent and childlike; this applies to people of all ages. Your early software was built by parents, teachers, friends, religious authorities and life experiences. You had no trustworthy internal mechanism to judge the value and truth of what you took in; this process continues today from life and social media.
What’s stored in your brain and how you use it defines the life you experience. As you become more conscious of your beliefs and what you think about, you build the foundation to gain greater control of your life. Imagine no longer being a victim of unconscious programming that holds you back from that better life you so richly deserve.
This quick 3-step DIY exercise gets you started to be a neu and better you:
1. Pay attention to what you think about
Take 20 minutes after you get up in the morning and pay attention to your stream of thoughts. Pick a quiet and comfortable place to sit and write down your thoughts. Neither try to initiate, nor stop thinking; thoughts will come of their own accord. Pay attention to the way each thought makes you feel; then, record positive and negative symbols next to each thought. This exercise gives you a diagnostic view of what’s going on “under your hood.”
2. Use “high road” thinking to cancel out negative programming
Every thought with a negative feeling can be cancelled out with “high road” thinking and behaviors. As an example, you may experience fear about your financial situation. Make a list of your beliefs about your finances; they may include scarcity, competition, unworthiness, helplessness and victimhood. Reverse these beliefs with their positive counterparts; your neu thinking is now abundance, cooperation, worthiness, capable and captain-of-your-life. Even if you don’t believe this, “fake it until you make it.”
3. Use your brain strengths in a conscious manner
When you know your brain strengths you can leverage them to process incoming information, examine your beliefs and implement high road behaviors. Now your strengths are working for you instead of against you.
When you change your thinking, your behaviors automatically change; then, outer-world experiences automatically change. You can trust your brain to correct and change what’s holding you back from being the best you can be. The key is to keep thinking on the “high road” until your desired outcomes occur. Change your thinking, change your life.
Neuidentity.com, with its myriad of products, services and resources provides you with trusted practical neuroscience knowledge and tools to be a “neu you.” You can do it!
Our purpose is to “help you be the best you can be and to help others do the same.” We believe you will find our posts enlightening, entertaining, and a major source of reliable, practical neuroscience solutions to the problems and challenges in your life. The more you visit, the more you will learn and change. If you like what you read, please share our posts with others.