THE BLOG
06/13/2014 05:18 pm ET Updated Aug 13, 2014

Why Are Women Really Struggling to Thrive in Our Workplaces?

EHStock via Getty Images

Seventy percent of American businesswomen are struggling to have well-being, with 40 percent confessing they're "hanging on by a thread" according to a new study by career strategist and author Megan Dalla-Camina.

But they're not alone. Recently 85 percent of Australian businesswomen also said they were just "functioning" over the past six months at work, with more than 15 percent flat out languishing according to The Australian Pulse of Women In Leadership.

What's going wrong for so many women in our workplaces?

Best-selling authors Katty Kay and Claire Shipmen believe the acute lack of confidence found in many women is causing us to over think, over prepare and be overly anxious when it comes to our work.

"Confidence is the stuff that turns our thoughts into actions," explains Kay.

It allows us to show up authentically at work, rather than trying to assert ourselves like men. It helps us to step out of our comfort zone and work toward goals that come from our own values and needs, rather than being driven by others expectations. It encourages our appetite for challenge, rather than feeling frozen by the fear of taking risks or facing criticism.

Could improving your confidence help you flourish at work?

Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck's research suggests our level of well-being and success can indeed be lifted by accepting that we're not perfect, we don't need to please everybody and that failure is actually part of the learning process.

"Unfortunately most women think their abilities are fixed," explains Dweck. "They believe their talents are determined, finite and immutable."

Yet studies show the most successful and fulfilled people in life always believe they can improve, that they can still learn things. This leads them to do new things, to take risks and helps them to be resilient when they fail. It measures success by effort and improvement, both of which are entirely within their control.

Could shifting your beliefs about your abilities help you thrive more consistently?

Dr. Donna Mayerson of the Values In Action (VIA) Institute believes confidence and success comes from playing to our distinctive strengths and values.

"While most of us suffer from a strengths blindness, discovering what we're good at and what we actually like doing is an essential pathway to flourishing," explains Mayerson.

When we have a chance to do what we do best each day -- no matter what our job descriptions says - research has found we feel more engaged and have higher levels of satisfaction and wellbeing.

Could knowing what your strengths are make your work easier and more enjoyable?

Tom Rath, a senior scientist and advisor to Gallup Research has found a lack of exercise, sleep and good food also produces an extremely anxious brain and a body that feels constantly worn out.

"The best performers sleep longer to get more done," explains Rath.

While any job may give us the odd sleepless night, those of us who are least satisfied in our jobs are nearly twice as likely to suffer from poor sleep. Yet a good night's sleep improves the quality of our work and our interactions with others.

Could a good night's sleep make your job more manageable?

The truth is we spend far too many hours at work not to flourish as a result of all our hard work. If it's time you moved from functioning to flourishing at the office be sure to join Kay, Dweck, Mayerson and Rath for a special free Women's Agenda and Positive Leaders telesummit series starting June 16th for their practical strategies to help women thrive at work. Reserve your free ticket here.