Career Tips Over Coffee:  More on Confidence Killers

Blog Post created by susan.hodge Champion on Feb 16, 2016

Deborah Tannen, the well - known expert on gender communications tells us that perceptions of confidence impact perceptions of competence.


Even though there are more competitive sports for girls today, other types of play for little girls encourage them to keep the playing field level, i.e. not to be “better” than their peers or they won’t be liked.   We’re taught from a young age that “being liked” is important.  Boy’s games include a one up/ one down dynamic.  Everyone has their place in the game and boys become comfortable with hierarchy  early in life. 


When we grow up and get into the business world, these gender differences in how we are socialized can impact how women show up and cause them to appear less confident.


Recently my husband, Mike, sent an article to my parents that included a recognition for me.  I didn’t realize that he sent it until my  father, who can’t hear well and therefore never talks on the phone, called me about it.  For my dad to make a phone call was a big deal.


Later that day, I asked Mike, “Why did you send that article?”


His reply: “Because, Susan, for a parent, that’s as good as it gets. Seeing your children thrive.”


My response: “Yes, but it wasn’t that big a deal. I didn’t do that much to get the recognition.”


Mike is a great people person, one of my biggest supporters and also my best source of feedback.


His response:  “You’re underselling yourself.”


He’s right. I teach gender differences in communication. I coach women on how to overcome them and how to effectively talk about their accomplishments.  Yet here I was, caught underselling myself.


If we don’t communicate our accomplishments, our work can go unrecognized.


Get used to saying “I”:  This is where it can feel like bragging.  Telling someone what you uniquely brought to the table is not bragging. It’s conveying information. 


It’s ok to say “I” when you’re a part of a team:  You can identify your contribution and still give the team credit for the outcome.


Say thank you.  When someone gives you a compliment, don’t downplay or undersell what you did. Simply say, “thank you”. 


Communicate the accomplishments of other women:  We need the support of a community.  I still hear too often how women are hardest on each other.  Let’s acknowledge and support each other.  There’s plenty of credit to go around.


If you would like to get support in learning to comfortably communicating your accomplishments, check out my virtual program  Creating Your Career Opportunities: 3 Key Skills to Getting What You Want™.  Pink Petro members receive a discount on this program. 

See  for details.