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Why women can’t make a career due to being skeptical of themselves.

Today, women have way more opportunities than ever before, but at what point does a woman become a respected and successful woman in our society? Are the existing notions really realistic or are they rather a burden?

Women are very critical of themselves in the professional world - this is also the result of the study “Women are too self-critical”. The results show: Women tend to rate their skills way lower than the people around them would do. The study confirms the for a long time criticized gender-gap regarding the self-evaluation of professional performance of women. 

In order to find out why women react like that and what they can do about it, we talked to business coach Britta-Kristin Beyer of “Innovation Mensch” consultancy. She says that women in fact try to fit into a very tight social corset.

Social media and the uncountable possibilities of today create an unnatural image of the “super-woman”, who doesn’t exist in reality. However, this picture makes women feel insecure. They want to live up to that image and in doing so they drift away from their real self instead of listening to their own feelings and intuition. 

The gap between self-perception and external perception is getting bigger and bigger. But the self-criticism seems ungrounded. Women are perceived positively by their direct environment like colleagues and supervisors. This gap between self- and external perception is about one third higher than amongst men. Also their actual skills are rated much higher within said study than women rate them themselves. 

Due to this sceptical attitude of themselves, women stand in the way of their own career. When opportunities arise, women act very hesitantly, think too much about their qualifications for the job or if they have enough experience and are good enough for this position. Men on the other hand are more pragmatic, they just do it. True to the motto: fake it, till you make it. They do it and develop in the process. Learning by doing. Most men follow the attitude: “the journey is the reward” and “I’ll bring home the bacon eventually”. 

Today, women have way more opportunities than ever before, but at what point does a woman become a respected and successful woman in our society? Are the existing notions really realistic or are they rather a burden? Having high expectation on oneself can lead to too much pressure and a reserved perception of one’s own skills. To stay true to oneself, undeterred by one’s environment, would be a huge first step. 

How can women change their own attitude?

  • Get away from the self imposed and unnatural image of being a “super-woman” who can do everything hands down. Family + career + lover ++++++ (that’s bullshit and doesn’t work for most people).
  • Concentrate on oneself and the true needs and then decide on how to proceed. What’s really important to me in life? Where do I want to go? You shouldn’t please everyone and abandon your own needs. This will not work out on the long run. 
  • Find an answer to the question “what role do I want to play in my life”? And then live this role 100% genuinely! Clearly define yourself and stand by your decision every day. 
  • Be more courageous and brash when posing demands for your own needs and communicate them clearly in the company as well as within your family and friends. It’s absolutely fine to say NO and not feel sorry for it at all. You should make some risks in your life, in the end this holds true: no risk, no fun and no pain, no gain. 
  • Learn to sell your own skills more aggressively and to show off. Play poker and brag with your accomplishments although this might not be your nature. 
  • Deal with your personal limits, communicate them and dare to set your limits in routine situations just out of respect towards yourself. 
  • Women should network much more and support each other. More networking is something we can learn from men.
  • I recommend my clients to make so-called “heroine board” on which you write down all your accomplishments - the small and big ones. That way you can always look at what you have achieved so far, what you manage every day - and now comes the most important part - praise and reward ourselves for it. If we can accept our own praise and reward, it will be much easier to accept praise from others and also to feel it. 
  • Create a self-perception in which you as woman are proud to be a woman and use your female advantages to promote your career instead of thinking that it is disadvantageous to be woman. We as women have many qualities that the business world needs and will bring it forward.

Women have to get rid of their perfectionism and other obstacles and start from the beginning! The simple difference lies in “selling oneself” and being more courageous to express your needs. Normally, people decide in favor of people who seem to be more self-confident and competent. “Everybody can learn this kind of charisma if you work on yourself.” underlines Kristin Beyer.

I hope you liked it! Please comment your suggestions and criticism below. You can write your own article and send it to me for publication: gastbeitrag@alugha.com! Thank you for reading this!

Wilgen and the alugha team

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