In this self-help guide for women, an executive coach shares her strategies for building and maintaining confidence.
If anyone’s confidence should have been shattered, it was that of McGuinness (Terminal Ambition, 2012): She was terminated from her position as general counsel of a large company, had a near-fatal accident, got divorced, and was forced to sell her ranch at a loss. To regain her confidence, she writes, “I had to build new neural networks.…I needed to become mindful of my self-criticism and perfectionism and have compassion for myself.” In a book that is both inspirational and practical, McGuinness provides a playbook of the techniques she employed to rebuild her lost confidence. The book’s first section squarely addresses the intriguing reasons why she believes many women are less confident than men, including that “women have more estrogen which discourages risk taking” and familial and societal influences that encourage women to be less aggressive if not demure. The author posits, however, that women can overcome such barriers by focusing on mindfulness and well-being. Toward that end, she offers confidence-building strategies and tactics that involve a formula she describes as: “Intention + Repeated Attention = Confidence.” The book rather sweepingly covers many aspects of confidence, including such topics as authenticity, self-compassion, resilience, and assertiveness. It also defines barriers to greater self-confidence, including perfectionism, self-criticism, and “negative rumination.” In a work-related chapter, the book pointedly discusses such topics as interviewing, performance reviews, and public speaking. The final section features helpful advice about facing setbacks and recommends 52 confidence-boosting exercises or “workouts” to perform every week. Each chapter is brimming with motivational exhortations delivered in punchy paragraphs with engaging subheads; the strategies for overcoming perfectionism include “Adjust Your Standards,” “Limit Meticulousness,” “Re-characterize Mistakes,” and “Minimize Comparisons.” McGuinness is unfailingly positive, dishing out encouragement every chance she gets, as she draws on her experience and relates it to other women’s challenges. The author backs up her insightful strategies with notes that reference a multitude of articles and books, which makes for an even stronger presentation.
A compassionate and energizing guide full of confidence-building ideas.