Are You Thinking Too Much When You Need to Act?

I’m delighted to introduce you to Lisa Grimes and Paula Stafford. Lisa is one of my best friends and president of our Lighthouse Ministries board. Paula is an amazing woman and part of our weekly Bible study. Their book Remember Who YOU Are officially launches this week. I highly recommend it and asked them to share an excerpt with you.

With International Women’s Day on March 8th, Lisa and Paula’s new book is timely. It shares the wisdom they wish they had known at the outset of their careers and encourages professional women (and men) with immediate steps to more fully experience success, balance, and fulfillment in their careers and personal lives. Now from their book…

Whenever I speak to a group of women, there is one question that is always asked. “What would you do differently?” My answer is always the same. “I wish I had been more confident earlier in my career.” Looking back, I can say I was defensive in meetings because I wasn’t confident enough. I fell into the trap of competing with other women because I wasn’t confident enough. Because there were no letters behind my name in an industry filled with PhD’s and MDs, I was not confident enough. As it turns out, I was far from alone. In fact, I was a statistic.

Journalists Katty Kay and Claire Shipman explore what they call “The Confidence Gap” in their book, The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know. When they interviewed dozens of influential women all over the world, they found that nearly all of them suffer from self-doubt. They share such startling findings as:

  • A study by social psychologist Brenda Major at University of California-Santa Barbara found that men consistently overestimated their abilities and performance to do a task while women underestimated themselves, although their performances did not differ in quality. Why? Lack of confidence.
  • Hewlett Packard discovered that women in their company apply for promotions only if they feel they are 100 percent qualified for a position, as opposed to men who apply even if they think they are only 60 percent qualified. Why? Lack of confidence. …

The conclusion: Many women feel confident only when they are perfect … or practically perfect.  The problem: None of us is Mary Poppins. …

The good news: Confidence can be built. “The Confidence Gap” can be closed. Ohio State University psychology professor Richard Petty told Kay and Shipman, “Confidence is the stuff that turns thoughts into actions.”

I learned this firsthand when I shifted from project management to sales. Although I stayed with the same company for 30 years, I was always looking for new opportunities within the company, so when a sales path opened I jumped at the chance. I felt as if I had done sales in some fashion for most of my life, ever since I went door-to-door selling fruitcakes for the Civitan Club when I was 10 years old, and I really enjoyed it. But that career path didn’t go as well as I had hoped, initially. Although I had sales skills, I lacked confidence. I began to think maybe it was a good time to take a sabbatical year.

Fortunately, I had a mentor who discouraged me from stepping back and instead encouraged me to “lean in”—to borrow an apt phrase from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. So, I signed up for a weeklong sales course in Atlanta.

After many lectures and workshops, the 12 attendees had to “sell” their product to a “buyer” (the course instructor). I won “The Order”! I left that sales course with more knowledge, a plaque (which I have kept to this day) and, most important, a big boost in confidence. So much so that not long after that I put my name forward for head of sales and leap-frogged a level to get the job. I never would have had the confidence to go for that job or even stay in sales if I hadn’t taken action to build confidence.

In other words, stop thinking so much and just act! You can turn that vicious cycle of low confidence, resulting in inaction, into a virtuous cycle of building confidence by taking action, even if it means taking some risks or perhaps failing.

… We want to be 100 percent prepared, 100 percent ready, 100 percent sure….Have we mentioned that perfectionism is a confidence killer? Definitely be prepared, but let go of the need to be perfect. It will only hold you back and create inner turmoil.

Have we mentioned that perfectionism is a confidence killer? #confidence, #perfectionism Click To Tweet

Give-Away: Paula and Lisa are giving away a copy of Remember Who YOU Are

The winner will be selected randomly from those who comment.

Paula and Lisa are proven C-suite executives and speakers whose first book, Remember Who YOU Are, is available for purchase in bookstores, online retailers and at Follow them on social media @Habergeon LLC.

We participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

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  1. Jane

    Sounds awesome! Confidence is a Real problem and I’m excited to learn how to build mine.

    • Debbie Wilson

      I think most of us could use a boost in that! Jane, this could be a great resource for the women you minister to.

  2. Lisa


    Thanks for sharing about Remember Who YOU Are. You’ve always set a great example for me to follow – in that you consistently Remember Who YOU Are and Whose you are. Thanks for imparting wisdom along life’s journey. You’ve taught me a lot along the way.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Lisa! You inspire me. Congratulations on your excellent book!

  3. Carrie

    Really hit home—not only for me but my sweet overwhelmed adult daughter

    • Debbie Wilson

      Carrie, I’m glad it resonated. Kind of nice to know we’re not alone in our struggles.

  4. Ann Musico

    I felt as if this was written directly to me. Even after all these years, I still find myself struggling with confidence. This one is definitely on my reading list now!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Ann, I find as I enter new seasons and roles in life I too feel the need for confidence. Good to remember our adequacy is not in ourselves!

      • Debbie Wilson

        Congratulations, Ann, you won a copy of Remember Who You Are!

  5. Pam Ecrement

    Hi Debbie!

    Sounds like a totally honest look at what we don’t usually recognize or admit. It certainly tags along to bog those of us who write and “put ourselves out there”. Thanks for this introduction and review.

    Love & Hugs,

    • Debbie Wilson

      They are very authentic in their stories. I enjoyed it very much. Thank, Pam.

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