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The Confidence Commandments

Dr. Katrin Luzar

THE CONFIDENCE COMMANDMENTS

Make confidence your superpower!
Ten strategies
from women for women.

With special support from Maren Hallin,
Natascha Hoffner, Larraine Solomon, Katharina Schulze,
Roxanne Tashjian, Claudine Petit, Elke Guhl,
Roxana Hughes, Lou Goodman

CONTENTS

Introduction

1. Find a wingwoman (could be a man)

2. Plan for small-step victories

3. Do not compare compulsively

4. Done is better than perfect

5. Formulate Statements, not questions

6. Eliminate distractions and do not hide behind them

7. Use the power of ‘no’

8. Be confident on the outside and you will also become it on the inside

9. Accept Compliments and give them to others often

10. Make it about others

Bonus: Don’t be scared of success

The Confidence Blocklist

What we ask of you

Acknowledgments

About the experts

Introduction

Hello! I want to start this book by saying: You have a superpower.

Perhaps you didn’t know that. My goal is to unleash that superpower together with you. You will work on your confidence and discover ten strategies and principles that will help you develop your self-esteem day by day. You are not alone. You will get support from women who have faced the confidence challenge themselves. They are in your corner during the journey and are called Maren, Lou, Roxanne, Larraine, Natascha, Elke, Roxana, Claudine, and Katharina. They will share their personal stories and recommendations with you. You will see that confidence is nothing that is unachievable. Yes, it might take some effort. Nevertheless, I am a strong believer that confidence is like a muscle we can train, and this is your workbook.

But let’s start at the beginning. This project began with a post on LinkedIn. In the spring of 2020 – the pandemic had just started – I asked some women in my network what they did as team leaders to make sure the women in their teams felt confident and empowered to speak up, raise their hand, and have an opinion. The feedback was overwhelming. I received so many great tips that it got me thinking. Wouldn’t it be helpful to put all these real-life examples and proven concepts together in one place and share it? It would’ve been such a loss not to do something with it.

Confidence is a matter that is truly dear to my heart. I first came in touch with it in a professional manner due to a series of projects my team at Monster.com did approximately three years ago. And after that, the topic remained a constant in my life. We wanted to encourage young women and girls to look into a career in coding. Also, we did several surveys about the confidence level of women in the workplace. It was surprising that it is not the lack of know-how or expertise that hinders women, including me, to have a career or take the next step. It is the lack of self-esteem. I started to do research on the origin of confidence, the different aspects and levels of confidence, and how you can strengthen it. I interviewed a lot of women because I was wondering if it was only me who was struggling with self-esteem. And found that I was not alone, not at all. Nearly all of them had stories and examples of confidence failures. It was a great relief on the one hand. It wasn’t just me. But on the other hand, it revealed that it is much bigger issue and a massive concern for virtually every woman. The next question had to be: What can we do to solve it? We cannot accept that women are missing out on job and career opportunities because of a lack of confidence. Something had to be done.

My first milestone was the creation of the Confidence Blocklist. You can find it at the end of this book. It was the warm-up exercise for my own confidence training. I wanted to create something that reminds me to work on my self-esteem every day as, obviously, I also experienced long periods of low selfesteem and self-doubt at school, at university, and at my first jobs. The Confidence Blocklist is a handy tool. But I didn’t want to stop there.

From women for women! The Confidence Commandments mark the next step. Like any good list of commandments, there are ten. Based on the reaction on LinkedIn, I reached out to my network and connected each of the ten commandments with one female expert. Every commandment has its roots in a project, a conversation, or an experience I had with Elke, Sinead, Roxana, Lou, Larraine, Roxanne, Claudine, Maren, or Natascha. You will meet them in a second. They will share their personal stories with you. I am very thankful that they have been so open and honest. This way, you not only have tips, but you can see how they work in real life. As Katharina Schulze, a true feminist, says at the end of this book: “You have everything you need in yourself – and you will learn the rest on your journey.” If you like, jump quickly to the last chapter and read what she has to say to you. I find her statement most encouraging and motivating.

The commandments are my personal selection – no guarantee for completeness. I hope they will cover some of the most relevant areas that you encounter in your business life: competition, unfair bosses, the fear to speak in meetings or on stage, the feeling of being alone or overwhelmed, and having problems with accepting a praise. I will introduce each commandment briefly, share the context and will then hand over to the experts! I took over two commandments myself as they are very important to me personally.

Make Confidence your superpower. Just test the tips from the book. Some might be easier or more applicable to you. Take your time and select what suits your individual journey the best. The confidence experts believe in you. You can do it.

And to make sure that you will be able to enjoy your newly found self-esteem superpower, your confidence team have added a bonus commandment: Don’t be scared of success.

 

THE CONFIDENCE COMMANDMENTS

1. Find a wingwoman (could be a man)
Katrin Luzar

2. Plan for small-step victories
Roxana Hughes

3. Do not compare compulsively
Katrin Luzar

4. Done is better than perfect
Claudine Petit

5. Formulate statements, not questions Elke Guhl

6. Eliminate distractions and do not hide behind them
Roxanne Tashjian

7. Use the power of ‘no’
Lou Goodman

8. Be confident on the outside and you will also become it on the inside
Larraine Solomon

9. Accept compliments and give them to others often
Maren Hallin

10. Make it about others
Natascha Hoffner

Bonus: Don’t be scared of success

1. Find a wingwoman (could be a man)

I was in the audience when my manager at that time, Sinead, pulled up a slide and introduced the concept of the wingwoman to the listeners at the German event herCareer. It got amazing feedback, as it was something many women seemed to not have thought about before. I was personally touched as she presented my colleague Maren and myself as wingwomen examples from her professional life. What an honor. The idea of not being alone in situations when you struggle with your confidence is so great. That is why I will explain it to you.

Finding yourself a wingwoman is the first thing to do when you start on your confidence journey.

After you read this chapter, take some minutes to do a quick brainstorm: Who has been supportive in your past? Who always makes you smile? Who gives you constructive feedback that really helps, opens new perspectives, and takes you to the next level? These humans are all wingwoman candidates.

The term wingwoman is new, you mostly read about wingmen. This is a military term. In the Air Force, the wingman is a pilot who supports and helps another pilot in battles. The term gained inglorious fame in the last century after it was used in movies, like Top Gun, or in TV series and stands for a man who helps another man to approach potential female partners. “I’ll take you under my wing” – in a bar, this means your wingman is cheering you on, playing dumb to let you shine, or is getting into a conversation of the beautiful lady’s best friend to give you more exclusivity with her while flirting like hell. Going into “battle” together can lead to a more successful outcome. And I assume that you all have some experience with these two-man teams approaching you and your friends while you are just trying to enjoy a quiet round of cocktails.

But besides the fact that wingmen can be annoying, the concept is a winner. It is just better to tackle difficult situation in pairs. And what is true for the private life is also true for the professional life.

In business, a partner can help you:

• to not feel alone

• to have someone to look at during speeches

• to have someone who always applauds and laughs first

Bringing a wingwoman to a meeting is gold. While you give your presentation, she is the one reading the room. You can make eye contact with her regularly, and she can send signals like move on, be louder, you are doing great, not so fast, etc. She is giving you the confidence that you are doing ok.

Your wingwoman is also the one who verbally supports you. Most of you might have been in a meeting situation where you suggested a particular strategy and then ten minutes later, a colleague (most likely a man) suggests the same and starts to sell your idea as his own. While you are still shocked about this total impudence, your wingwoman will take care of it: “This is exactly Emily’s idea from before the coffee break. I think we should ask her to repeat it again.”

Also, the wingwoman is always there to promote your idea: “Correct, Emily. I am supporting your idea. Thank you.” This way, you will never experience dead silence after you have plucked up your courage and spoken your mind.

“SURE, AND CAN YOU BE MINE?”

To make this a success, your wingwoman needs to know that she is your wingwoman and needs a briefing. This might be your first hurdle. Don’t be shy to ask another woman to help you out. You will find that after you have gotten past the first explanation, the woman in front of you will just say, “Sure, and can you be mine?&

Would you like to know how the story ends?

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