Confidence! Got it. Now what?

I watched a great TED video tonight, “Susan Colantuono: The career advice you probably didn’t get #TED : http://on.ted.com/f0Wja.”

Basically, she says that women are funneled toward leadership development because that’s where all the advice says to send us. That’s great for getting to middle management, but for senior level positions, we need to be developing business, strategic, and financial acumen, which is what men are already doing.

I appreciated her example of the male mentor who was truly interested in giving those under him the best training he could. I think both men and women are tired of blaming and ready to learn more effective approaches to professional development.

When Self-Improvement Bites Back

I just started reading The Confidence Code by Kay and Shipman. It’s part of my quest to understand women in leadership, because it is different than men leading. Until I finally acknowledged that about a year ago, I struggled in my profession.

At any rate, I’m a whopping 10 pages into this book, and I’m realizing that as women, we generally define ourselves by our failures, by our greatest weakness. Men generally define themselves by their strengths. Another way to think of this is that men assume that any weaknesses or failures in their lives are flukes. Women, on the underhand, see weakness or failure as a revealing of their core identity, as a test they would have passed if they had “just been more capable.”

I believe this tendency comes from the natural inclination of women to constantly question, reflect, reassess, and seek improvement. I believe we do that because we view self-improvement as essential the important relationships in our lives. But it’s a double-edged sword: It comes back to bite us in our professions.

So how will I define myself? By my successes? Or my failures?