The Confidence Effect

Every Woman's Guide to the Attitude That Attracts Success

The Confidence Effect

Author: Grace Killelea
Pub Date: January 2016
Print Edition: $23.00
Print ISBN: 9780814436417
Page Count: 224
Format: Hardback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814436424

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Excerpt

Preface

Success and happiness are not just for the world's richest, luckiest,

thinnest, or smartest women. We can be successful and

happy even when we aren't given every opportunity or advantage.

I know because I have never been the richest, thinnest,

most beautiful, luckiest, or smartest woman in the world. Yet,

I've created a life, career, and business that I love---despite significant

challenges.

Along the way, I found that the negative voices in my head

are lying, and that by connecting my internal knowledge to my

external energy---or, simply put, my competence to my confidence?

I could achieve both success and happiness. In 2013, at

the age of 53, I ended my corporate career as a senior vice president

of a Fortune 50 company and launched what has become

a premier leadership program for high-potential women. I'm a

woman who has been morbidly obese, yet I've walked several

60-mile events and skydived to celebrate losing more than 120

pounds. I survived a devastatingly bad marriage, and at 55, I met

and married a wonderful man.

I wrote this book because for many years I was the woman

who believed just working hard was "enough." I was the classic

"good girl" who said yes to everything I was asked to do at work,

yet never asked for anything in return. I was the woman who

spent too many years listening to the negative voices inside my

head and the ones forced upon me by society.

When I walked into a room, I'd have the "I'm not" conversation

in my head. You know how that conversation goes. I'm not:

* Smart enough

* Thin enough

* Attractive enough

* Experienced enough

* Worthy enough

* Deserving enough

I was always waiting for building security to come and haul

me away---feeling like a fraud, sure I'd be found out---and yet

that never happened.

The Confidence Effect is my way to give you shortcuts and provide

you with tools to help you connect your confidence to your

competence. This information is based on my many years of

experience, both personal and professional. In addition, I interviewed

a number of successful women about their experiences

with confidence. Once you meet them, I'm sure you'll agree that

this is a diverse and amazing group. It includes entrepreneurs,

senior executives, a senior leader in the Girl Scouts, the first

African-American female combat pilot, authors, speakers, and

media personalities. These powerhouses help drive home the

importance of The Confidence Effect. So let?s get started.

The Confidence + Competence Toolkit

Throughout her career, Laura has been putting in long hours.

She rarely misses a day. She prides herself on her hard work.

She's always the first to arrive at the office and the last to leave.

And she's a busy mother in addition to holding her full-time job.

During meetings, she usually has ideas and valuable insights to

contribute to the conversation, but she doesn't speak up unless

she's positive her solution or response is pitch perfect. There are

some new leadership opportunities in her company, and Laura

wants to move up.

What Laura doesn't know, however, is that she's unlikely to

get a promotion. Why? Like many women, Laura thinks working

hard and doing a good job is enough to get her promoted.

Yet she lacks confidence and a strong professional "brand." She

hasn't yet learned to ask for what she deserves. Laura hasn't built

a strong network of allies and champions, and sadly she doesn't

even know what information she?s missing, because she also lacks

awareness of her own style---and how to go about changing it for

optimized career success.

But there is hope. Laura already has the solutions to her own

problems. She needs to build a "confidence + competence toolkit"

to help move her out of the role she is in. Part of her problem

is that she is not connected to people who can inform her

about opportunities. Consequently, other people get picked for

roles for which she would have been perfect, but she never knew

that the opportunities existed. Laura is one of her company's

biggest assets---and her own worst enemy.

As you can imagine, Laura isn't alone. Many female employees

face silent, challenging realities on a daily basis. This is

inspiring some of the nation's strongest and most celebrated

female business leaders to speak out about the future of women

in corporate America.

When it comes to women in business, Laura is in the majority,

i.e., not in a leadership position. In fact, according to Forbes

magazine, while women make up almost half, or 46.9 percent,

of the modern workforce, "40 percent of large companies have

no women on their boards and only 5 percent of startups are

owned by women."

And, according to "Unlocking the Full Potential of Women

at Work," a special report by McKinsey & Company, "Leaders

make gender diversity a priority because they see the prize: a

talent advantage that's hard to replicate. But few companies are

winning that prize. The top circles of leadership remain male

bastions; women make up just 14 percent of Fortune 500 executive

committees, and there are few women CEOs. Although

corporate leaders are working hard to change this, progress

remains elusive."

With so few women in positions of leadership, those who are

feel a responsibility to speak out on behalf of the marked disparity

between female and male leaders in the workforce.

According to Arianna Huffington, Founder of The Huffington

Post, "Women still have an uneasy relationship with power

and the traits necessary to be a leader. There is the internalized

fear that if we are really powerful, we are going to be considered

ruthless or pushy or strident---all those epithets that strike at our

femininity. We are still working at trying to overcome the fear

that power and womanliness are mutually exclusive."

This could explain why in 2014, 95 percent of all venture

capital went to men; of the top 2,500 corporate executives in

America, only 63 were women; only three Fortune 500 companies

were headed by women; and Congress was 90 percent male!

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, former VP of online

sales and operations for Google, and author of the bestselling

book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, says,

"We need women at all levels, including the top, to change the

dynamic, reshape the conversation, to make sure women?s voices

are heard and heeded, not overlooked and ignored."

Sandberg's words are particularly resonant in the technology

industry from which she hails, where only 25 percent of the

workforce and less than 5 percent of startup owners are women.

Recently, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella made front-page news

around the world when he suggested women should not ask for

raises but simply rely on "karma" to take care of them. Nadella's

comments highlighted the pervasive and unconscious bias that

affects so many women in the workplace today.

And finally, in a fiery call to arms, Rachel Sklar---blogger

and Founder of Change the Ratio, a group that seeks to

increase visibility and opportunity for women in technology

and new media---sums up the way many women in business

feel: "There's a benefit to including women, there's a benefit to

considering women, there's a benefit to writing about women,

and there's a benefit to having women included in everything.

And I think it's ridiculous that this is a situation I have to be

defensive about."

Clearly, I couldn't agree more!

The Confidence Effect

With nearly 35 years of corporate and executive coaching experience,

and as an author, consultant, trainer, speaker, and CEO,

I have seen too many similar stories and felt the pain of rejection

alongside my clients. Many of them, like Laura, come to me

confused and feeling as if they are missing something, and they

leave feeling clued in, competent and, above all, confident.

At the Half The Sky Leadership Institute, my program for

women who want to strengthen their leadership skills, business

acumen, and executive presence, I work with many women like

Laura. I have learned a great deal through these experiences, and

this book allows me the opportunity to share the skills women

need to navigate the political culture in the workplace in order

to receive that next promotion?and so much more.

Every woman is the CEO of her own career and life. Through

one-on-one executive coaching, group workshops, and keynote

presentations, I have helped thousands of women advance their

leadership skills, develop their personal brands, and reach for the

next level in their careers.

My goal is to inspire people to move beyond barriers to

achieve sustainable success, both professionally and in their personal

lives. My company provides executive coaching, leadership

development, and consulting in the Birkman Method---a powerful

assessment tool that identifies a client's interests, behaviors,

underlying motivations, and needs.

The Confidence Effect: Every Woman's Guide to the Attitude

That Attracts Success is about showing women how to connect

their competence to their confidence. My goal is to help

you speak out, take risks, and assume leadership positions with

assurance. There is plenty of research to pinpoint why and how

women are in their current position. I want to help them move

beyond the data to what?s really important: how to become more

confident, one step at a time.

Let's take these next steps together.

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