by Anne Day
You’d be surprised at how many women don’t.
For the last three years I have been immersed in co-authoring a book on why women don’t feel good enough and what we can do about it.
It all started after a retreat with a group of high-functioning business owners who, after scoping out their plans for the next ten years, felt they wouldn’t achieve their goals because they weren’t good enough. They didn’t deserve success.
I was shocked. Outwardly they appeared to have their act together, but behind their masks they seemed riddled with self-doubt. Who knew?
Together with Amy Vodarek, a leadership coach, we embarked on a quest to find out why and how these feelings of inadequacy could be changed. Little did we know it would take us on a three-year journey as we talked to women and learned more about this hidden epidemic.
And we weren’t immune either. There were times when we truly questioned ourselves – who were we to be writing this book? Who did we think we were?
But we hung in there and next month we will be launching our book Good Enough.
We connected with over 350 women through one-on-one interviews, focus groups and an extensive survey. The results were startling in that over 80 percent suffered from self-doubt in one form or another.
Why? Overwhelm was a biggie. You just have to reflect on the pace of life these days; the amount women have to juggle as they climb the corporate ladder, and manage on the home front too. It is little wonder that many women feel inadequate. “ When I am at work, I am thinking about my kids, and then when I am at home, I am worrying about something at work. I feel constantly torn and not 100 percent there for anyone.” shared Annette, a business owner.
Trying to please everyone added even more pressure, and often women said yes to one more task, when in reality they weren’t managing what they already had on their plate.
Feeling judged was another major factor. And frequently the biggest culprit was ourselves. We are our own biggest critic. We compare ourselves to others and we believe we don’t measure up favourably.
Some of our self-doubt is buried and rooted in the past: a rocky childhood, dysfunctional family dynamics, challenges at school or work, abusive relationships. Needless to say, self-doubt cannot be quickly fixed.
Life situations like divorce, death of a family member, or illness can drastically impact how we feel about ourselves too. We may be managing, treading water and staying afloat, when whoosh a big wave comes along and suddenly we are not coping. Not coping at all. And this is understandable, especially when we’re close to the edge already.
By the time we’d finished gathering information, we were looking at a gloomy picture, but we knew there had to be a different way to manage. Throughout the book we have shared the stories we heard, some were gut wrenching, and the women’s courage is to be applauded. Through the stories we learn we are not alone.
So what can you do? Self-awareness is key to moving forward and so we’ve included thought-provoking questions for you to ask yourself, as well as strategies to help you take small steps towards the life you want, desire and deserve.
As one woman shared, “When women come together and expose their flaws,
share their vulnerabilities, beautiful things happen.”
Anne Day is the founder of Company of Women, and author/editor of five books on women and entrepreneurship. Published by Full Circle Publishing, Good Enough. Embrace who you are. Unleash your brilliance. By Anne Day and Amy Vodarek will be launched Spring, 2017