Research Paper By Kyla Neill
(Career Coach, AUSTRALIA)
Do you ever wonder when you look at extremely successful people or those in the limelight and wonder at how they came to be so confident? This is a question that I have asked myself time and again, and this question, in turn, stimulates a cascade of others: What makes us decide that person is a confident person? Is it their persona, attitude, the way they speak and walk? Also, how do they gain this confidence that we all want to have? Is one gender naturally more confident than the other? Is there a genetic component to confidence? Can it be learnt? How do we develop and maintain such a tenuous thing as self-confidence?
Many of my friends and colleagues comment that I am such a confident person and that they have never seen me shy, introverted or withdrawn. I often reflect on this, as my perception of myself doesn’t always correspond with what others see. There is definitely a woman inside of me who wallows in self-doubt at times, and judges herself in regard to her physical appearance, her ability as a mother, and effectiveness at work, but I’ve found over the years that in respecting myself, and in acknowledging that what I can contribute to society is of value, the confidence that I derive from this conquers any fears or doubts that I may have.
So, the most pertinent question would be, if I am able to subdue my doubts, why are there so many women out there who aren’t? Is it lack of confidence that is sabotaging them and holding them back, and, if so, is this lack of confidence something that they have inherited? Is it due to their gender, or are men also susceptible to self-doubt?
Taking this concept further, does a gender-based ‘confidence gap’ exist, or are men similar to women when it comes to their confidence and how they feel about themselves? Men and women differ in so many ways, and it is assumed by society in general that self-confidence is one of these. Men are, in the main, viewed as having unshakable faith in their own skills and abilities which manifests as an innate masculine confidence, however, is this merely an urban myth, or does evidence exist to support this notion?