Books We Love: The Confidence Gap

Reviewed by Feliza David

In our society, admitting that you’re not feeling confident is often an act of bravery. Especially among women, there’s a certain pressure to create a flawless façade.

And the pressure only grows when we start to pursue entrepreneurship.

More than ever, many of us feel like we can’t let the world see us sweat, which (of course) means that we have to work that much harder to hide our vulnerabilities – even from ourselves.

If society says that entrepreneurs must be bold, daring, and always certain, what does it say about us if we fall short of that?

Spoiler alert: It does NOT mean that we should step back from our next big challenge because we’re not ready.

It just means that we’re regular humans who (like all regular humans) sometimes struggle with a lack of confidence. In “The Confidence Gap,” Russ Harris presents a provocative, refreshing approach to overcoming the anxiety and uncertainty that inevitably follows entrepreneurship.

Things We Learned

A Lack of Confidence Has Many Faces

If you’re feeling a lack of confidence, it can make its presence known in many unpleasant, unexpected ways. Sometimes, it comes out as the dreaded imposter syndrome. Other times, it can manifest as a compulsion to plan out every single step and prepare for every possible contingency. Even if you consider yourself a generally confident person, you likely deal with feelings of anxiety, nervousness, or an urge to control your surroundings. While these are certainly valid feelings, often, they may be signs of a lack of confidence in a certain area. Knowing this makes these feelings that much easier to overcome.

 

Forget Thinking Positive

The bigger your goals, the more likely you are to feel doubtful. However, when negative thoughts creep in, many of us immediately go on the defensive. After berating ourselves for being too gloomy, we then try to force ourselves to think happy thoughts. Unfortunately, this often adds more stress to an already-stressful situation. At LEAP, we’re all for positive thinking, but not at the expense of emotional honesty. It’s important not to ignore or belittle your own feelings because this will only make it harder to deal with the situation at hand.

 

You Can Identify a Feeling Without Identifying WITH the Feeling

Many of us are reluctant to admit when we feel anxious, worried, or scared because we mistakenly believe that facing an emotion means that it will overpower us. The good news is, nothing could be further from the truth! The next time you’re struggling with a lack of confidence, don’t flail against your feelings. Instead, acknowledge them as just another part of the present moment. Like all things, this feeling will pass in its own time. Simply stopping to acknowledge an unpleasant emotion as just that, an emotion, can help you regain some perspective on your situation.

 

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Favorite Quote

The actions of confidence come first; the feelings of confidence come later… Genuine confidence is not the absence of fear; it is a transformed relationship with fear.

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