Why Do Women Underestimate Themselves?

As the year unfolds and my focus on women clients increases my reticular activating system (RAS) is kicking in. And the subject of ‘underestimation’ keeps coming up.

Women converse


I am not sure I am able to answer this. Even Sheryl Sandberg in her book Lean In admits on many occasions that she was ‘guilty’ of this. And that is coming from a woman once voted the 5th most influential woman in the world!

Of course underestimation is not exclusive to women. 

Here are three actions you can take to help diminish this limiting belief;

  1. What is causing you to think like this in the first place? Has something happened in your past or previous experience where once you were expecting to do well and you fell short of your own expectations. So now you do not want to disappoint yourself or maybe others.  Try to isolate this event and understand that it does not define you going forward. It was an isolated event.
  2. What is your frame of mind right beforehand? Look at ways to bolster your confidence and belief. This could be affirmations, your favourite music, a treat, exercise. Whatever it is find something that lifts your spirits and energy. Could be as simple as smiling for 30 minutes – fake it until the feeling overcomes you!
  3. What other factors are contributing to this? This could be the environment you are in the people you are hanging around with or even those in your team or leadership that are not helping to raise your confidence. Change them.

Our minds are very powerful things so it’s not easy to change what we may have been telling ourselves for a very long time. It may not happen overnight. Change will take time but you can start with just a few simple affirmations morning and night.  Write them out on index cards. Record yourself saying them. Post them up where you can see them regularly.

Tell yourself how brandtastic you are – don’t underestimate how effective just that can be!


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