By: Anja Uitdehaag

“Scared is what you’re feeling. Brave is what you’re doing.” – Emma Donoghue

Women quite often have doubts about their capabilities. Research shows that men in comparable positions are much more confident in their capabilities than their female peers, even when they are no more competent. A prime example is that if a man can fulfill 60% of the requirements of a job description, he will apply, while if a woman cannot do the full 100%, she will not.

Self-confidence is a make-or-break attribute. Success correlates just as closely with confidence as it does with competence.

To become more confident, stop thinking so much and just act.

Believe that you can do it! If you are constantly thinking that you are not good enough or that you will never make it, that is what you will believe and that will become your reality.

Realise that if you are invited to step up and take on new responsibility, this is because you are seen as someone with the capabilities required to succeed at this level. Of course, it may also be a test to see how well you perform in new situations, however, this is borne out of a belief that you have potential. If you are ambitious and want to move up in your career you should welcome new challenges with open arms.

Start to believe that you can do it. You may need to do some personal development work on yourself, you may need to get some experience or even do some training. Rather than having a flat out belief of ‘I can’t do this’, try thinking ‘with the right preparation and development, I can do this’.

You may experience some fear and anxiety thinking about the changes that will result from your promotion. However, feeling those emotions is a normal part of any change (everything is new and scary until it’s not) so try to channel your feelings into productivity and preparation to help you succeed in your new role.

Treat your promotion as you would any new job: understand what the expectations are of you in the role, be clear on the goals, objectives and priorities you need to deliver on, meet with key stakeholders in your new capacity. It is probable that you will be working with the same people as you did before this assignment, so it is vital that you act at your new higher level and communicate to your colleagues that you are in a different role with different demand than previously. Take the time to establish new working arrangements with your colleagues and any direct reports you may now have.

It can be daunting stepping into a higher-level position, so it is worth enlisting some support – a coach or mentor – who can help you navigate the new complexities of your role and transition to act at the level commensurate with your new responsibilities.

I have mentioned it before: throughout my career I was teaching myself to do things I was not really ready for. I learned to take on things I’d never done before and it always turned out that I was stronger than I believed and smarter than I thought…

If you dare to leave your comfort zone and explore different opportunities, you will discover new abilities you never knew you had. If you stretch yourself and confront challenges, you will grow. Only by making continuous learning an important part of your evolution you’ll know what you’re capable of achieving.

What has your journey to (senior) management been like? What challenges are you facing getting promoted? I would love to hear what your experience has been so please leave your comments.

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