I read the book Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg in 2017. At that point in time, I was a head volleyball coach at a local high school. I was responsible for 100 plus female student-athletes. I read a chapter in the book that was about how women get passed over for the next level positions because they struggle to speak highly of themselves. STOP. The second I read that I recalled my last interview for a director position at my day job. I remembered talking the entire time about the team and how much they had helped me and held only a sliver of time for speaking about me and what I had done. I was unexpectedly turned down for that job. I wish turned down was how it worked. I never heard that I didn’t get it until I had to work on the press release for the man who did. Still haven’t heard back…But recalling that experience as fresh as it was in my mind made me realize this work is IMPERATIVE. I am a confident woman in this world and I struggled with it. YIKES. Imagine what my female athletes will be up against when they venture into this lovely world of ours. After reading that chapter I sent this email to my entire coaching staff: I read in a book that women are 70% (maybe more I just saw red after reading this) more likely than men to get turned down for high-level positions because they lack the ability to confidently speak about their accomplishments. I cannot sit here as a leader of females and allow this to happen without doing something. Here is what we are going to do: Every day from here on out you collect your student-athletes before practice/games and one by one make them own and speak to one great thing they have accomplished. As I told the athletes on the varsity team about this I endured the eye rolls and moved on. “We are doing this,” I said. “I can’t sit here and allow this to happen to anyone I am responsible for arming you to take on this world.” Slowly but surely it became a part of who we were and days when I would miss the grounding practice the athletes would remind me. Over time the girls came in bubbling with excitement to do this work. What was to follow was unexpected. In 2016 our team had made it to the state final only to come up one win short of bringing home the school’s first volleyball state title. I knew we were good enough but being good enough wasn’t what wins. Believing you are good enough wins and I could tell by the end of that last game in 2016 THAT was the issue. Now that is a tall tree to climb. How do you grow confidence in young female athletes? I didn’t know either. Either way, we couldn’t just avoid that work because it was hard. Now we did a lot of work around the building of the confidence but I believe still to this day greatness grounding even on days when it was silly, grew our confidence to the point that in 2017 we would go on to win the first volleyball state championship in school history. I use the lessons I learned coaching these athletes to inform the importance of this work. Greatness grounding will always be apart of what I do. I can thank my amazing group of athletes for responding to it and continuing the work around it to make it what it is today! How to implement greatness grounding in your life to grow your confidence:
- Verbalize that you need to believe you are GREAT not just good
- Take time every day to say and own something GREAT you accomplished that day
- Grow a greatness group you can share this with or do it on your own BUT DO IT!
In making this a habit you start to shift your mind to look for the GREAT instead of as we naturally do, look for the negatives. The more you validate greatness, the easier it gets and the more you grow your confidence in speaking to your greatness. The more you do it, the more your skillset to speak to it when called on grows…like in that next interview.