Melinda Healy on knowing your worth and selling it
“You need not apologise for being brilliant, talented, gorgeous, rich, or smart”. These words from 2020 US Presidential candidate and New York Times best-selling author Marianne Williamson are inspiring, but for most women, accepting and acknowledging our worth in the workplace and at home can often take some time to achieve. The good news is, it can be done.
“Confidence is the superpower that drives everything, yet so often our inner critic eats away at our ability to speak up, stand out and have the influence and impact we should,” says Liza-Jayne Loch, one of the women behind Outspoken Women, a company that hosts masterclasses aimed at taking women to the next level in the workplace.
“We started Outspoken Women to create a safe space for women to develop and refine the range of skills that define their influence and impact,” Liza-Jayne explains, stressing that the key to building confidence is:
“Silencing that inner critic and believing in ourselves and the value we bring and the fact that we deserve a seat at the table is a good starting point.”
Michelle Landy, leadership coach and the author of The Confidence Workout, agrees. In her opinion there are three skills all women need to thrive, at work particularly – belief, clarity, and resilience.
“They need to believe in themselves and learn to manage the inner critic with kindness. They need to practice speaking up with clarity and precision. This practice is easy to do outside of important events at work, so you are equipped for pressured situations,” notes Michelle.
“And resilience for women is taking care of themselves. It is taking time for yourself so you can be grounded and focused. When women are stressed, we lose our resilience, so self-care is really important.”
Georgia Rickard, Virgin Australia Magazine’s editor-at-large, knows only too well how important self-confidence is. Despite her many successes, including editing Australian Traveller magazine and contributing to outlets like CNN, Tatler, Tourism Australia, Marie Claire, and BBC, Georgia admits that, like every human, she too suffers from her own form of “imposter syndrome” at times.
Media in particular can be a challenging place to work, both as a woman and a human,” she says. “Media is also an industry that has traditionally been a boys’ club with the narratives of outlets controlled – either overtly or subtly – by masculine points of view. I’ve come to the realisation that it is simply up to me to rise above that and be more than that. Male or female, people appreciate leadership.”
Part-owner of The Travel Bootcamp, an immersive consumer event with a focus on digital storytelling and influence, Georgia believes that the best way to get ahead is to focus on being an exceptional person.
“Be kind, have integrity in your work, and always fall back on having a strong work ethic,” she notes. “The things that have helped me refine my sense of self-certainty, and that I think will help others is finding your circle of humans. You must find your circle. My best advice though would be to learn how to network … your connections are everything in the modern world.”
Learning to flip into a positive mindset is another valuable tool for building confidence, Liza-Jayne adds. “If you don’t ask, they can’t say yes. We focus on the physiological triggers of confidence boosting including the powerful Amy Cuddy Power Pose (watch her TED talk if you haven’t already!) along with learning how to manage nerves.”
Liza-Jayne agrees with Georgia about the benefits of a supportive ‘cheer squad’. “Preparation helps and so does creating a network of allies, male and female, who become your sounding board, cheer squad and champions – they are normally pretty good at banishing that inner critic too!”
As the experts say, there’s nothing wrong with embracing your abilities and celebrating them, it’s all about balancing pride and modesty with waving your own flag.
Georgia puts it best when she says: “The time is now, and the world is yours for the taking, go get it!”