5 Confidence Tips for Women

How to stop apologizing for your success.
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Sorry for Success

Recently, I met a woman who had just been hired as the producer of a prime-time news program. As her friends gathered around to congratulate her, she looked at the floor. "I was just lucky," she said. She then launched into a pained explanation of the various factors that lead to her achievement: good timing, friends in high places, etc. She looked extremely uncomfortable, and even slightly ashamed. "Can you believe it?" a friend whispered. "She's completely smart and talented, but she can't stop apologizing for her success. Can you imagine a guy doing that?"

Women often criticize men for their arrogance. We get irritated when they blather like experts, even when they have no idea what they're talking about. We're outraged when they expect to date supermodels, even when they're 5-foot-4 and losing their hair. But too often, women go to the opposite extreme, downplaying their successes and doubting their abilities -- even when they have a sterling track record, says Gail Evans, a former executive vice president of CNN and author of Play Like a Man, Win Like a Woman (Broadway, 2000).

Why the distinction? Evans says that upbringing plays a big part. "Ever since they were boys, someone has told guys 'You can do it.' With girls, they say, 'Careful, you might get hurt," says Evans. The swaggering alpha male may be annoying, but Evans says there's actually a lot we can learn from him.

Continued on page 2:  Confidence 101


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