Confidence is a loaded word for women. Most of us would say we wish we could be more confident at times. We’re often told that we need to “lean in” and be assertive to get that next promotion, but if we lean in too hard, then we come off as bossy. We’re also told to act more like men to command a room, but we get pushback if we aren’t as caring or sensitive as women are “supposed” to be. So, what does it really mean for a woman to show more confidence?
One study from the American Psychological Association found that female leaders are more likely to be labeled as confident if they’re also humble, social, and sympathetic — aka stereotypically feminine. If they aren’t feminine enough, they run the risk of appearing aggressive. In other words, women have to have all the best personality traits people expect from both men and women to succeed. Totally fair, right?
And worrying constantly about confidence isn’t exactly a recipe for feeling confident. The Harvard Business Review interviewed dozens of male and female executives, and the vast majority of the women that researchers spoke to saw building confidence as a challenge they had to overcome. The men they spoke to? Didn’t worry about their confidence. At. All. In fact, the only times the men mentioned confidence were to comment on the lack of confidence they saw in their female colleagues.
It’s clear that confidence is a tightrope that women have to walk — so how do we balance? How can we learn to not only project confidence to other people, but truly feel it — without pretending to be anything we’re not?
Auctioneer and entrepreneur Lydia Fenet has spent her career searching for the answer to these questions, and she’s here to share them with us now. As a former Christie’s ambassador who’s raised more than $1 billion for nonprofit causes, Lydia is no stranger to taking up space on a stage and owning it. She’s also the author of the bestselling book “Claim Your Confidence,” which is all about how to overcome fear and become the most confident version of yourself.
Lydia brings us into the world of charity auctioneering and how she was able to embrace being herself in a male-dominated industry. Convincing people to spend money (and lots of it) takes more than just a little confidence — Lydia shares what motivates her to take control of the room at every auction.
She also speaks to the state of women’s confidence right now, which she says has taken a hit from the pandemic. Taking a pay cut or getting laid off, on top of juggling the myriad of caretaking responsibilities that rose to the surface during lockdowns, didn’t exactly inspire great confidence. And now that many women are back in the workforce, they’re dealing with imposter syndrome. Lydia coaches us through her four-step process for curing imposter syndrome and eliminating self-doubt.
We also dive into all of the other complicated emotions that come with discussions about confidence, including the fear of failure and the fear of appearing too confident. The way to overcome them, says Lydia, is to not believe in them at all.
“I truly believe that once you have claimed your own confidence, you stop worrying so much about what everybody thinks,” she says. “I’m sure there are a ton of people who think I’m bossy … There are a lot of people who probably think a lot of things about me, but I’m living the life I want. I’m creating the life I want for my family. And I’m unapologetic about that.”
In Mailbag, we answer questions about how to turn a hobby into a business and what to expect from working with a financial planner. In our money tip of the week: how to invest during a recession.
For more on Lydia, check out her website and her podcast, Claim Your Confidence, which features powerful women pulling back the curtains on their successes. And stay tuned for more on her new company, the Lydia Fenet Agency, which trains and represents best-in-class charity auctioneers!
- HerMoney Podcast Episode 257: How Women Over 50 Can Reclaim Workplace Confidence And Power
- Invest Like You Shop and Watch Your Money Confidence Skyrocket
- 3 Empowering Steps for Women to Build Financial Confidence
SUBSCRIBE: Sign up for our free weekly newsletter. Subscribe to HerMoney to get the latest money news and tips!
This podcast is proudly supported by Edelman Financial Engines. Let our modern wealth management advice raise your financial potential. Get the full story at EdelmanFinancialEngines.com. Sponsored by Edelman Financial Engines – Modern wealth planning. All advisory services offered through Financial Engines Advisors L.L.C. (FEA), a federally registered investment advisor. Results are not guaranteed. AM1969416