November 21, 2018

Are Sugar and Spice in the Recipe for Confidence?

Brent Hultman

Brent Hultman
Partner & Program Facilitator/Strong People Systems

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In "How Puberty Kills Girls' Confidence" (The Atlantic - Sept. 20, 2018) the authors look at a shift in confidence that hits girls around puberty. It is common that a girl's confidence drops and often remains lower throughout her life. The article explains that before puberty boys and girls have generally equal confidence levels. They go on to explore things that impact the confidence change at puberty. They write: "at an early age, parents and teachers frequently encourage and reward girls’ people-pleasing, perfectionistic behavior, without understanding the consequences." We see this a lot when we are coaching female executives and business leaders. This conditioned head-trash does tend to impact a lot of women and can be very limiting to their enjoyment of life and to their ability to discover their full potential.

A big factor is that this is subconscious conditioning that is based on what the woman was told when she was a little girl. She formed an image of how she should behave and of what she ought to do and be. This is generally based on a feminine stereotype that says girls are sugar and spice and everything nice. The result is often that girls (and women) are conditioned to believe that they should be people-pleasing perfectionists.

In the CORE MAP Assessment that we use to help clients identify their innate strengths and their conditioned abilities CORE represents 4 personally types C-Commander, O-Organizer, R- Relater, E-Entertainer. One value of the assessment is to identify if a client was born a Commander/Entertainer (double bold) and they have been conditioned to behave as a Relater/Organizer (double reserved). Everything in her may be calling her to bold action but "good girls" are reserved; they are people-pleasing perfectionists (Relater/Organizers). This not only rocks a person's confidence since their gut is screaming against what they should do, and ought to be, it takes a ton of energy to replace innate strength with conditioned behavior during every waking hour. There's no wonder a girls confidence may be impacted. The good news is, with coaching, women (and men) can discover their innate strengths and boldly tell people to "stop shoulding on them"!

Comments? You can contact me directly via my ExecRanks profile.

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