Katty Kay – Lead Anchor, BBC World News America and Co-author, Womenomics
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Katty Kay – Lead Anchor, BBC World News America and Co-author, Womenomics


the great news is that confidence is
something we can choose to have it’s a choice that you can make you get more
confidence by going outside your comfort zone by taking risks by being prepared
to fail yes fail occasionally it’s okay I went into a White House meeting a year
ago on Syria and I walked into this White House meeting and it was mostly
guys of course eighty percent and they will all Middle East academics and I
thought oh god I’ve been invited to the wrong meeting I don’t speak Arabic I
don’t speak Farsi I don’t know who you know the third person in power is in
Syria or in Iran I’ve you know why on earth are they put me here anyway I go
into this meeting it’s a long table and we’re talking about the White House
people are making their presentation and it gets to the stage for Q&A and the
guys on the table jump in the other academics jump in no problem and I’m
sitting there at this meeting thinking I have to ask a question I cannot be one
of two women in this meeting who is not from the White House and not ask a
question but I had to literally force myself I had to say Kathy for God’s sake
you know you’re a woman in her mid-50s put your hand up just open your mouth
get the question out what’s going to happen okay you might stumble a bit you
might blush a bit you might sweat a bit but at least you’ve opened your mouth
and you know what I did and the sky didn’t fall on my head and the earth
didn’t open up underneath of me and the next time around when I went to the next
white house briefing and fell out of my depth it was that bit easier because I’d
gone through the trial of by fire the time before that’s how you gain
confidence you go outside your comfort zone one step at a time you build it up
confidence we found because we’ve spoken to a ton of neurologists about this is
in part genetic but it’s only thirty percent the rest is what they call
volitional it’s your choice to make and as women we have to make it because the
guy we spoke to at Berkeley we interviewed an academic out there a
psychologist who works in the business school
who’s done this extraordinary study who has basically proved what we have all
suspected and what we have seen as we’ve kept our heads down and played by the
rules that in business and in success confidence matters more than competence
he did a whole series of studies that showed that the leaders in the group
were the ones not who were the most competent by any means they were the
ones who projected confidence we spoke to another academic the University of
Milan in Italy he did a test survey with men and women and he put them in front
of a computer it looks a bit like a Rubik’s Cube kind of some sort of
computer spatial test because women apparently are notoriously bad at
spatial tests anyway half man half woman he gets them to do this test the women’s
cause come back way lower than the men’s so dr. estis goes over the scores why
wouldn’t do so much worse than men’s he finds out that the women twice as often
as the men are simply skipping the problem they see a challenge they see
one of these spatial problems they think it’s too difficult they don’t think
they’re going to get it right and so they just skip it the next time around
he gave them the same test again but you’re not allowed to skip any questions
this time this time you have to do every single one guess what the women did as
well as the men we are holding ourselves back that is our choice to make when the
women had to do those tests they did as well as the men confidence is about
action we all want to go across the room and talk to the stranger sign up for a
marathon join the PTA ask for a pay raise confidence is what lets you do it
it’s what divides those who have the desire and the idea from those who do
and you get confidence by doing every step you take every risk you take every
time you go outside your comfort zone it’s like paying into a bank account you
build up your stack of confidence and confidence is what matters

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