The Confidence Gap (And How to Play The Part)


There are so many times in life when you just fake it 'til you make it.

I remember, years ago, when I wasn't sure if technically, I qualified as a "runner". The word seemed so official. If I slogged my way through a 5K, did that count? If every run was agonizing and I was hiccuping and nauseous by the end, I wasn't a runner, right?

But actually, I was. And I am.

Here's Why I'm a Runner

Three years of cross country practice, dozens of meets, and hundreds of 5-10Ks later, and it's undeniable -- I AM a runner.

Sure, I might not be the best. I might not be the fastest. I might not run the farthest or the longest. But I still get out there and pound the pavement day after day after day. So yeah. I'm a runner.

And now, when it comes to SEO, it's the same thing. I've been "in marketing" for the past 7 years. That's CRAZY. I've been writing, promoting, pushing, sharing, selling for almost all of my twenties. And somehow, it wasn't until my supervisor told me he wanted to nominate me for an industry award that I realized, heck YEAH I'm a marketer.

When I talk to others about what I do, I always soften it somehow. I make it sound more feminine. "Oh no no no, I'm not an SEO -- I'm a content strategist." Or, "I'm a branding expert". Or even, "I'm a new media manager". But none of those titles accurately describe what I do.

Here's Why I'm an SEO

Because really, I create content and optimize websites for search engines. That makes me a Search Engine Optimizer.

It might not sound as glamorous. It might sound rough or manly or technical. I might be one of only a handful of women in tech; but that's what I am.

And this brings me to the concept of: The Confidence Gap.

Research shows that women tend to apply for a job only if they're 100% qualified (and then some!) and feel confident that they won't fail. Men, however, feel far less hindered by the prospect of failure. If women are better able to fake it 'til we make it, we'd be a whole lot more likely to get hired for positions we never dreamed we could fill and it would be a lot easier to work our way up in the ranks.

The takeaway here? Confidence, ladies!

None of us actually feel like we know what we're doing, but if you fumble your way through it, go through the motions, and pretend to be everything you are on paper, eventually, you WILL be. That seems to be how the dudes do it. Now it's our turn!

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