Women’s workshop targets self-doubt

Confidence is key and women are selling themselves short. Susan R. Madsen was part of a workshop highlighting women in education and how to gain the confidence to act. The Ragan Theater welcomed women of all ages Jan. 27 and the result was a full house. Madsen, a professor of leadership and ethics at the Woodbury School of Business, shared a message that she believes desperately needs to be heard.

Participants were able to choose between a presentation by Madsen aimed at high school and college age women, or two other sections also detailing women and leadership roles.

Sunnie Giles taught about the neuroscience of leadership for adult women and Suzy Cox and Eve Miller discussed leadership development of young women from a neuroscience standpoint for parents and educators.

“Self-doubt is a waste of precious time,” said Madsen. Starting with the basics of how women and young girls typically feel and deal with situations, Madsen showed how damaging harmful beliefs and messages can be, and how ruminating on events can limit living a full life.

Madsen said that women tend to talk 75 percent less when they are outnumbered in a group. Additionally, it was shown that women feel they need to have 100 percent of the qualifications for a job opportunity or promotion before applying when men will apply if they believe they have about 60 percent of the qualifications.

“We’re talking ourselves out of things before we even do them,” Madsen said. “When you allow yourself to fail you’ll actually act more.”

By showing how important it is for women to have more confidence, Madsen focused on helping participants understand how to improve their confidence, all of which centered on the need to act. Some of her suggestions included embracing struggle, discouraging pointless perfection and taking more risks. She helped each participant understand that the more education a woman has the more likely she is to live fully and be able to help others.

She emphasized the need for more education for women and the need to facilitate self-confidence. Madsen concluded that women can take a more direct role in their lives and not be driven by the fear of rejection or failure.

“The more confidence we have as women, the more we can impact others,” said Madsen. “We need to make the impact on the world that needs to be made.”

Madsen started to help participants move forward with this idea by having each be involved in various activities. Some were giving and receiving a compliment and sharing with those around them their own perceived strengths. She said that when one becomes more accustomed with doing things that are uncomfortable or hard, the more confidence one will have and the amount of action that one takes in their own life will skyrocket.

“You need to be uncomfortable to really learn,” said Madsen at the end of the activities. “Do not avoid hard things. You can fail and not be a ‘failure’.”


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