iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Alexandra Levit

GET UPDATES FROM Alexandra Levit
 

The Corporate Freshman: Confidence on the Y Chromosome

Posted: 04/03/09 04:03 PM ET

Most bestselling nonfiction authors are men. The most successful online personalities are men. The people who have made it the biggest in the motivational speaking field? Yup, men again.

This is not to say that there aren't lots of accomplished women in these areas. There are. But there are more men. With regard to speaking, I've even had people say to me that I will do well with the bureaus just because I'm missing that certain Y chromosome. I'm female, so apparently that makes me a novelty.

I've been thinking about why this is the case, and my preliminary conclusion is that it has to do with natural confidence and the perception others have of you as a result of that confidence. Doing well in my fields of authoring and speaking requires a certain amount of ego. You have to be willing to put yourself -- and your provocative ideas -- out there without caring what other people think.

When I do a talk, I always poll my audience to see what they think so that I can improve my speech for the next group. There aren't a lot of top male speakers who do this. They know they're frickin' awesome, and if you don't like them, they assume that you're in the minority. It's a similar deal with authors. I can't imagine ever hearing a female first-time author say that she intended to have a bestseller right out of the gate. Yet I can name several male first time authors who have said this. And you know what? One of them was actually right.

We women spend a lot of time being modest. Sometimes we actually feel that way, and sometimes we don't but think that's how we're supposed to act so that other people will like us. At times, though, I believe it has the reverse effect. Other people don't view us as talented or as worthy because we don't appear to view ourselves that way.

As for the corporate world, there is a ton of research out there that says that men receive higher salaries than women for doing the same job. Even in fields where women dominate the bottom ranks, it's still unusual to see a woman as CEO of a large organization. It's easy to say that women are just being discriminated against, but could it be that there's more to it? Maybe it's our own fault, and we can actually control what's happening.

For my part, I'm going to work on being proud of my accomplishments and feeling that I deserve to be in esteemed company. Maybe if I feel more confident inside, that self-assurance will flow outward and infect the people around me. Ladies, what are you going to do, and men, how can you help us master your secrets to success?

 
 
 

Follow Alexandra Levit on Twitter: www.twitter.com/alevit