Ever compliment a woman on a recent achievement only to hear her say:
“It’s not a big deal, everyone wins these things.”
“Oh, it’s not really me, it was my team.”
“Oh, it was nothing.”
“Oh, I couldn’t have done it without help.”
“I don’t even know why I won this award/scholarship/grant; there are so many better projects/people/ideas out there.”
Men own their successes. Women downplay their achievements.
When men fail at something they attribute it to something external to themselves. They just weren’t interested in the material.
When women fail at something they attribute it to something internal (I’m not good at math; I’m not smart enough).
Ask a man why he succeeded at something and watch him take ownership of it all.
Ask a woman, and watch her attribute her success to everyone but herself (it was her team, her assistant, her students, friends, colleagues, hairdresser or the woman down the street–it was basically everyone else but her).
Guess who sounds more confident, self-assured and knowledgeable? Guess who’s going to get hired & promoted?
TIPS: Never, ever, ever downplay your achievements. Ever.
Never insinuate that it was anyone else but you PRIMARILY that got the job done. (Yes, everyone wants to work with team players and you’ve got to get along with others……but you’ll never stand out and achieve your fullest potential if you think you need a whole team to convince people you’re worthy.)
When you receive a compliment, maintain eye contact and say thank-you! –That’s it. You don’t need to justify your success; you don’t need to explain that others helped you out. All you need to say is thank-you, anything else makes you look apprehensive and doubtful. You start creating doubt in people for no reason.
Start turning your achievements/milestones/successes into opportunities for re-branding and networking. Everyone should know about your successes, why would you hide this?
Pay it forward. The next time you hear another woman downplay her achievements, take her aside and ask her why she does this. We need to create a coalition of strong, intelligent & confident women.
Write down a list of your accomplishments. Review this list every time you’re feeling doubtful. (It doesn’t matter how short your list is at this point, everyone has accomplishments).