The Big Idea
Hesitation keeps you from the life you dream about.
Questions I Answer
- How can I make decisions with confidence?
- How can I feel more confident?
- How can I ask for a promotion at work?
Key Topics in the Show
What the “confidence gap” is and how it interferes with our success
The invisible rules that we apply to ourselves as women
Giving yourself permission to go after it and step into what you truly want
This is The Intentional Advantage podcast with your host, Tanya Dalton, an entrepreneur, best-selling author, nationally recognized productivity expert and mom of two. This season is all about strategies for success, helping you confidently step into leadership, purposefully, intentionally, and mindfully.
Are you ready? Here’s your host, Tanya Dalton.
Hello. Hello, everyone. Welcome to The Intentional Advantage podcast. I’m your host, Tanya Dalton, and this is episode 192.
I want to start this episode today with a question: How confident do you feel each day? More importantly, how confident do you feel when it comes to going after whatever it is you’re wanting in life?
Let me tell you, I’m really excited to dig into today’s episode because we’re going to be talking all about confidence and what happens to us as women when we truly start embracing it the way that we should. It’s going to be a big episode.
I have my soapbox ready, and I’m going to be hopping up on it because I’m fired up about this because here’s the thing: Whether you are really confident or if you could use a boost every now and again, we women, we run into a considerable amount of hesitation when it comes to going after what we want.
It happens in our personal lives and you can bet it happens in our professional lives as well. I actually just published an article for Entrepreneur about this very thing. And I think it has been the article that’s gotten me more LinkedIn messages, more DMS, more emails than any other article I’ve written. I had so many women reaching out to connect with me and tell me this was exactly what they needed to hear.
And it made them feel more ready to step out of hesitation. So, you know, I thought we got to talk about this on the show because truly this is a topic that holds us back. So I want to dig into that word hesitation. I want to talk about that in just a little bit, and I want to talk about how it completely hinders us from getting to the life we really want, especially when it comes to the different careers that we have.
But before we do that, I want to dive first into confidence because that’s the root of the problem. So here’s a quick little aside, because I want to make sure that we’re really clear on this: I’m going to be talking today about the difference between men
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and women. And I don’t want you to mistake that what I’m saying here is men versus women or women against men.
We need men. I like men; I don’t know about you. It’s not us against them in any way, shape, or form. And here’s the truth: Empowering ourselves doesn’t mean disempowering others. We don’t take power, we step into it alongside others who’ve already found it. So I just want to make that point really clear because we are going to be talking about how we women think differently than men do.
And if there’s one thing that drives me crazy–okay, there’s more than one thing in my life, but this is a big thing–it’s the idea that for us to step up as women, it means we have to put down other groups. We don’t have to do that. We become stronger together. When we women link arms with one another and we choose to see ourselves as equals, others will too. That is how we step into confidence.
It’s not us versus them. It’s not one group against another, it’s us stepping into it together as a collective. So let’s talk about that idea of confidence. Let’s talk about how you feel about your confidence level. You know, when you take a look around at the men in your office or in your same industry or your same field, how confident do you think they are?
Let me phrase that another way. On a scale of one to five, with five being the absolute, most confident that a person could be, how do you think that men in your same career field would rate themselves in terms of confidence? It may seem like a strange question to ask you for sure, but there’s a reason for it.
You see whether we realize it or not, there exists what researchers call a ‘confidence gap’ between men and women. It doesn’t matter what field we’re in. It doesn’t matter what industry we’re talking about. The confidence gap exists between men and women, even on a basic personal level. So what it basically means is men exhibit more confidence than women and how they rate themselves and their performance at work suggests that they would say they have a lot of confidence, too.
So there is this gap of confidence between how men rate themselves with their confidence and how women do. And the confidence gap is so fast that even the incredible amount of progress that women have made in terms of civil rights, wage fairness, available positions in business, in law, in science, in the medical field–places where mid-century women were not even allowed into (it was completely nonexistent) . . . All of the progress that we have made in those areas over the last several decades has done very little to close that gap that still separates men from women in top-ranking careers.
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Corporate jobs, women who own their own million-dollar or even billion-dollar businesses, political positions, top-paying positions in the military or healthcare. You name it. The number of women at the top of these different career fields, pales in significant comparison to the number of men we see.
It’s upsetting. It’s irritating. It’s frustrating. Basically what the confidence gap says is this: because we women do not view ourselves as confidently as our male counterparts, we fail to become promoted and earn higher salaries as quickly as the men around us.
So I want to say that again because I want to make sure it all sinks in: Because we women do not view ourselves as competently as our male counterparts, we fail to become promoted and earn higher salaries. We women do not view ourselves as confidently, that’s the part that needs to sink in.
No matter how competent we are, no matter how qualified or overqualified we are, no matter how much we truly want the careers that we dream about, or we think about the success we want, we’re bumping our heads against this strange dark place that exists for women across the board, that tells us that what we want is impossible. Or worse, that is out of reach because we don’t deserve it in the first place.
And it’s not men who are telling us this. We women are telling ourselves that. We’re telling this story to ourselves of what we are capable of because that’s what the confidence gap is doing: it’s telling women that wanting something and deserving something are two very different things, and we need to play by those rules in order for success to happen.
You know, that saying ‘good things happen to those who wait’? It’s basically the billboard slogan for the confidence gap, and it’s directed at women. The confidence gap tells us we shouldn’t ask for what we want, we should wait for it. We should just sit like nice little ladies and allow it to come to us. I want you to let that sink in for just a minute. And I want you to consider this: How long have you been playing by the rules in your life?
The question becomes, is it confidence, or is it the strict adherence to the rule-following that gets in our way? That nice girls don’t go after what they want; that good women don’t chase down their dreams and do what it takes and what they want to get there. You know, these are the invisible rules, the code of conduct, that always seems to apply to us as women.
These invisible rules that tell us we can’t be assertive when it comes to our opinions because we’ll come off as bitchy or uncooperative or that we can’t be too eager in
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our efforts to climb the corporate ladder or the career ladder and challenge ourselves because then it looks like we’re being bossy. Bossy. I hate that word, don’t you?
Earlier this season, I had done a call for listeners to ask them what kind of topics they wanted me to talk about on the season’s coming up, and I was floored at how many people were circling this idea of the confidence gap. I had women who submitted things like, ‘Can you talk about how to ask for a promotion while still being lady-like? Can you tell me how I can go after what I want without looking bad?’
And I’m like, ladies, ladies, ladies, come on. Going after what you want doesn’t make you less of a lady. It just makes you a strong woman. I mean, did I miss the memo? When did forming our own thoughts and opinions and expressing them to people around us–when did that make us bossy? And when did being passionate about what you do and being assertive in your business, make anyone an uncooperative bitch?
I’m sorry, I call BS on that. We don’t call a man who goes after what he wants anything like that at all. We call him assertive. We call him confident. We call him a go-getter. It’s very different for us. And I don’t know about you, but I think it is time that we women stop playing by these invisible rules that we’re applying to ourselves because they are barriers that are keeping us from getting what we want.
I’m tired of it, and I know you are too. And if you’ve got big dreams for your future, we have got to let these things go. We have got to walk away from feeling like if we don’t play by these strict rules of life that we are wrong or that we are bad. So why not make today the day that we finally pledge to let that confidence gap close once and for all?
If anyone’s going to do it, it’s us. We’re the ones who are telling ourselves these stories. Let’s put an end to these crazy rules and let’s say no to playing any more games from this point forward. Do you agree with me? Are you there with me thinking we don’t need this anymore? These old outdated, old fashioned rules don’t really apply to who we are today.
We have made leaps and bounds to get where we are today. And those rules didn’t really evolve with us, did they? One of the big rules that women seem to play by, particularly in their career path is this: We shouldn’t ask for what we want because what we already have, we were lucky to get. For a long time, there were a limited number of seats at the table, and now there are some seats for us.
And we feel like, ‘Oh man, we are lucky to have those. So if I ask for more, I’m being selfish.’ Taking care of our needs, chasing our desires, that is selfish. Or worse, it’s
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inappropriate. I mean, how many times have you seen or heard things that suggest that women should act a certain way or say a certain thing because it’s ladylike or it’s the right thing to do?
I know for me, I can’t count that high. The number is huge. But what really irks me about it is that we don’t even think about the fact that the rules that men play by are completely different. Aren’t they? I mean, men are almost always expected or encouraged to be the exact opposite. When it comes to their careers, they are encouraged to be tough. They’re encouraged to go big all the time. They’re encouraged to be brave and show confidence and drive. And let’s be honest sometimes to a detriment, right?
Like they have certain expectations that are hard for them too, to achieve. But here’s the thing: they’ve set up a very different set of rules for them. In fact, a study from the Harvard business review found that male MBAs, their starting salaries were 7.6% higher on average than female MBA graduates of the exact same program.
7.6%, same program. That’s incredible. And what the study uncovered further is that the reason for the huge gap in salaries between the groups of men and the groups of women is because, unlike their male peers, most women simply accepted the employer’s initial offer. They didn’t negotiate, they didn’t push back. They didn’t say, ‘I deserve more.’
57% of the men, they tried to negotiate for more money. 57% challenged their initial offer simply because they believe they deserve more or because they wanted to see what they could do. Compared to them, only 7% of women asked for more. Seven. Again, that’s not on the men’s shoulders, that’s on ours. We have to change the story we’re telling ourselves.
You know, why is it that we feel like we cannot ask for what we deserve? And I know this is just one example of this hesitance that we women tend to have, but I can tell you based on my research and even based on my own experiences, women do hesitate all the time. And to me, what this hesitation symbolizes is the opportunity that we have to turn things around, not only for us but for all the women who come after us.
For our daughters and our granddaughters and our great-granddaughters. For all the hesitation we have, even those of us who’ve made huge strides in business and hold top positions as CEOs for major companies, none of it makes any sense when you really sit down and you think about it.
I mean, if you take a peek at anything happening in business lately, it’s clear that we women have been proving our competence and growing our presence at every turn.
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And that is especially apparent when we’re given examples of groups of women coming together and building each other up. Some people even say the future is female. And I love it. That sounds fabulous. I couldn’t agree more.
The future is female, or at least it can be. We just need to give ourselves permission to go after it. So let’s talk about letting go. Let’s talk about no longer holding ourselves to all these strict, outdated rules that we’ve been playing by for so long, so we can start stepping into confidence and leadership and get the things we truly want.
Here’s the thing: I don’t want you settling for your first offer. I don’t want you to feel like you can’t ask for a promotion that you know you deserve. I don’t want you to feel like you can’t go after a job that you’ve been eyeing on LinkedIn, because someone hasn’t directly contacted you about it. I don’t want you to hesitate anymore. I really don’t.
I want to dig into letting go of what all of this looks like. And then I want to touch on a few momentum builders to get you started. So let’s do that as soon as we have our mid-episode break, because I’ve got something in store for you.
All right, as you can tell, this topic fires me up and truly one of the pillars of my business is not women supporting women. I think it goes so much deeper and so much further beyond that. It is women building up women. It is us growing together, pushing each other, pulling each other up. As we get to new Heights, we pull each other up again and again and again, and collectively as a whole, we make great strides. We become confident when we are surrounded by other confident women.
And I truly believe that is how women like me have found the success I have. You’ve heard me talk in the past about the fact that only 2% of women-owned businesses ever reach that seven-figure mark. 2%, far, far below men. And I’m on a mission to really change that. So I’m having a free Masterclass.
It’s happening this week. I want you to show up for it if you have a business and you’re ready to grow it and scale it, and you want to join that seven-figure club that I’m in. Because I want you here alongside of me. I want to be linking arms with you. I want you to show up for the masterclass. It’s called Achieving the Million-dollar Mindset.
It really is about how you can scale and grow your business and stay really focused on your family and on your personal life. You know, I believe that is so important. So I want to encourage you to show up for the masterclass. Simply go to
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Tanyadalton.com/Masterclass to sign up. It’s free. I want you to show up and I want you to show up live. It’s happening this week, and I want to see you there.
All right, let’s get back to that idea of hesitation. First and foremost, let’s talk about the elephant in the room. When it comes to our hesitation, we have to stop believing that we don’t deserve something unless we check off all of those boxes in our mind. And this applies to the promotions we want, but really don’t ask for because we don’t step up and ask for it.
So I’m going to say this once, are you listening? You’ve got to start telling yourself you can’t apply for the job unless you meet 100% of the requirements listed or that you can’t start your own business until you meet 100% of the things that have to happen for business owners or whatever it is you’re telling yourself, because here’s the thing:
Those requirements, they don’t stop the men around you from applying. Nope, not at all. In fact, did you know that men on average will apply for a job even if they only meet 60% of the qualifications? Sixty. Meanwhile, women on average will not apply for a job unless they meet 100% of the requirements. 60% for men, 100% for women.
It’s crazy, right? And when I think about the percentage for men is 60%, I think it’s absolutely insane. It makes me a little bit angry if I’m being truly honest. Not angry at men, good for them. Good for them, for having the confidence to throw their name in the ring. I’m angry at the pure and simple fact that women feel like we cannot do the same because here is what I know: We are capable of so much more than we think.
And that’s a statement that applies across the board, no matter what we are faced with. And we are more deserving of greatness than we think. If history has proved anything, it’s this: women are resilient. We are strong. We are incredibly intelligent and we’re incredibly driven. We deserve to be in top-ranking positions, just as much as the men around us. And we shouldn’t feel like we need to apologize for embracing that.
So let’s talk about how we can stop hesitating and start asking for what we truly want. I’ve got a couple of tips to help you out.
First tip: Ask, pure and simple. You just got to get yourself away from the habit of waiting. Sitting at the bus stop with your bag; sitting there, waiting for the bus to pull up and open up its doors. Chase that bus down. You got to stop waiting for life to happen to you. You make it happen. So the first step really is simply to ask first, ask yourself, what is it you want? And then own it.
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You want a promotion? Ask for it. You want a raise? Ask for it. You want to grow your business; any capital, ask for it. Request a meeting with the appropriate person, and ask for it with confidence. Go make it happen. Speak clearly. Be assertive. Tell them exactly why you deserve it because you do.
All right. Tip number two, stop the apologizing. We have done entire episodes on this topic. We just did our most recent one back in season 13.
So let’s just take a moment to revisit that. In order to look and feel confident, you need to own your dreams. You need to own your decisions. You need to own that promotion you want. And in order to do that, you got to stop apologizing for knowing what you want and having the courage to go after it. Trust me, the man next to you who’s about to ask for the promotion isn’t going to apologize. And now, neither are you.
Tip number three, whatever you’ve been hesitating on, take the leap anyway. The article that I mentioned at the start of this episode, the article that I wrote for Entrepreneur . . . I shared some stories of successful, incredibly successful women, struggling to identify themselves as experts. This is something by the way that we’re digging into in next week’s episode.
But every one of those women, whether they hesitated or not, not one of them, not one regretted taking the leap. In fact, they’re proof that with the right grit and perseverance, you can achieve success.
So those are three tips just to get you started. So let’s turn those into momentum builders, shall we?
Alright, momentum builder number one: I want you to think about what is it you really want. A big promotion; starting your business; growing and scaling your business; something in your personal life. Get really clear on what it is and write it down. The clearer the picture, the easier it is to talk about it openly and with confidence.
Momentum builder number two: ask yourself, What’s holding you back? Here’s a hint: it might be you. You might be holding yourself back. Write this down too, because only by addressing the root of the issue, can we work our way around it.
Momentum builder number three: I want you to tell at least one person what you truly want. And I want you to do that this week; consider this a practice run. It can be a friend, a coworker, a family member, someone that you know–I want you to throw it out there into the universe and see how it feels.
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And momentum builder number four, show up for my masterclass. It’s all about the million-dollar mindset. If you are a business owner and you are tired of playing the hustling game, the chasing-success game, and you really want to bring it to the next level, you need to be there. This training that I’ve pulled together, I am really proud of. And I know it’s going to help you.
So sign up and show up. You’re going to want to show up live at Tanyadalton.com/Masterclass. It’s happening this week because here’s the thing: I am totally rooting for you. I know I got fired up in this episode. I get fired up when we’re talking about women, stepping into their greatness and really seeing their own power.
I feel like we need more women feeling strong, feeling confident, feeling good about the work we’re doing. And I want you to experience joy and happiness every single day. I want you to give yourself permission to truly achieve your goals. And I want you to move ahead without hesitation and fight like hell for what you want. That’s really what I want for you.
And that’s why I get up on the soapbox and I get fired up because truly it’s what you deserve. Being tenacious in your efforts to the top, whatever the top looks like for you without thinking twice about whether or not you should, that’s what embracing yourself as a leader and chasing success on your own terms is all about. And that my friends is the Intentional Advantage.
Want to connect with Tanya and other like-minded people?
Head to Tanyadalton.com/group to join Tanya’s free community.
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**This transcript was created using AI.
Tanya Dalton is a female productivity keynote speaker. She is considered one of the best motivational and inspirational speakers for women. Her topics include goal setting, finding balance, time management, productivity strategies and habits.