#28 I suffer from self-conscious bias. Enough so, that I almost missed crossing #28 off my List of 50, Fortunately, I had this little thing called a blog to remind me that I really wanted to accomplish #28 this year.
Speaking at a conference has always been a dream of mine. So when I had the opportunity to apply to be a speaker at the Global Women in Tech Conference, I thought this might be my one chance. I don’t know if I was feeling particularly confident (or crazy) that day but in a moment of bravery, I decided to go ahead and apply. I don’t know what I was thinking. Although I had a current headshot, I had no idea what I would talk about. What could I possibly share with a tech audience? Why would they even want to listen to me for 20 minutes?
After all, I hadn’t always been in tech. In fact, before I got my first job in tech, I had spent half my life being a stay-at-home mom. I still remember in the 90s when my oldest son was a baby and the internet was becoming a little more mainstream. I was just learning how to surf the web and I really didn’t know much about it. I soon started an eBay business and an Amazon e-commerce business for fun but other than that, I really didn’t spend much time on a computer. As I started adding more children to my family, I found myself spending less time in front of a screen and more time in the school car-pool lane.
Seven years ago, that all changed when I became a single mom and had to go back to work full time to support my family. Fortunately, my brother helped me get a job as a marketing coordinator for a local sports medicine company and I soon found myself googling marketing acronyms when my manager wasn’t looking and listening to marketing 101 podcasts late at night. Although I had no idea what I was doing, I was determined to do my very best and silently hoped the company wouldn’t find out they had hired a fraud.
Over the next several years, Google and I became the best of friends. Whenever I didn’t know how to do something, I googled it. I learned how to troubleshoot a website, launch a company newsletter, and manage a growing commercial account on Amazon.
Although I loved my job, I knew it was time to leave when a new Chief Marketing Officer was hired and he started taking away my responsibilities one by one. It took less than three months for him to destroy all the self-confidence I had built up, and I found myself really struggling with my abilities. Of course he was taking away my responsibilities–he had seen right through me. I didn’t really know what I was doing–at least this is how he made me feel.
This lack of self-confidence and increased doubt in personal abilities is a term I refer to as self-conscious bias. Most of us are familiar with unconscious bias which is a bias based on mistaken, inaccurate, or incomplete information in favor or against a group, person, or thing. Self-conscious bias is when you rely on your own personal, unsupported judgments against yourself as compared to another, in a way that is unfair and overly self-critical.
Self-conscious bias – relying on your own personal, unsupported judgments against yourself as compared to another, in a way that is unfair and overly self-critical.
How many of us have allowed our own self-criticisms to get in the way of our success and personal development? How many of us have listened to the voice inside our heads telling us we don’t really know what we’re doing, others can do it better, and we really should just give up? Over the years, I lived way too much inside my head and let my self-conscious bias influence my self-worth. It came naturally to doubt that I was good enough and smart enough to do the job. For whatever reason, I often trusted the self-talk inside my head over the external praise I had been given over the years.
It wasn’t until recently that I discovered a simple solution to overcoming self-conscious bias and negative self-talk. It isn’t a perfect solution–after all, my own self-conscious bias nearly prevented me from applying to speak at this tech conference. But luckily, this solution helped me overcome my fears and I applied. Miraculously, a few weeks later, I was accepted and I’m speaking at the conference next week!
I’m sharing my solution as part of my presentation so if you care to register and listen, here’s the link. Or, you can follow my blog and I’ll share it with you next week (recording as well). In any case, I’m nervous and excited to speak at my first conference. Wish me luck!