Guest Post by Dominique O’Rourke: The Confidence Code (Kay & Shipman)

Screen Shot 2017-07-20 at 8.41.06 AMThank you to my wonderful friend, Dominique O’Rourke, for sharing her review of The Confidence Code.  We first met at the University of Guelph while studying leadership and shared two years of essays, assignments, residence stays and fun.  Her blog Accolade Communications, which specializes in leadership and trust, inspired me to start the A Year of Books Blog (after a drought of reading anything other than course work for 2 years)!!

Here are a few posts from the Accolade site that have left a lasting impact on me:  For my readers who share a connection with competitive swimming, please check out 8 Leadership Lessons from Masters Swimming,  for my health care colleagues it is important to read a caregiver’s perspective in Code Blue:  Hospital -Patient Communications and for a special post and reminder of the importance of our family, read 10 Leadership Lessons from my Dad.

Thanks Dominique, for sharing your review!  This is a book that I will be adding to my growing (mountainous) to be read pile – and discussing with my daughter!


Screen Shot 2017-07-20 at 9.05.34 AMAre you a woman who overthinks? Overprepares? Hesitates? Do you take feedback or setbacks personally? If so, it has certainly cost you time and may have cost you important opportunities and advancement. Did you know the reasons are part DNA, part biology, part psychology, part social norms and part behaviour?

It may seem like a lot to tackle but in The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance- What Women should know, journalists Katty Kay and Claire Shipman take you through an amazing – and very easy to understand- tour of fascinating empirical research, share the stories of some of the world’s most famous women and give you easy advice you can use immediately. (Hint: Do More, Think Less).

For an easy week-end read I came away with practical advice for myself, thoughts about how to guide my daughter and insights for my anxious teen. I’d say that’s time well spent.

While you will certainly retain the information that is most compelling for you, the key take-aways for me were:

  1. When in doubt, act.
  2. Focus on mastery, not on perfection. The process of learning something and the progress you make are more important than endless ruminating over whether you should do it in the first place. Better still, mastery in any endeavour builds confidence in others.
  3. Embrace discomfort, risk and failure. The process of learning something new – or tackling something hard – and bouncing back from struggle is an important confidence builder that we avoid in North America.

“In Japanese, they even have a word for it – gaman. Roughly translated, it means ‘keep trying,’ and it gets plenty of use.” (p.124)

  1. Reject all or nothing thinking. One bad math test doesn’t mean you’re bad at math forever, it means you didn’t understand a concept, didn’t sleep well the night before whatever the reason. It’s not personal. Go back and try again.
  2. Reframe your NATs (negative automatic thoughts). Don’t judge yourself for having them, just acknowledge them then consider another positive or neutral point of view. For example, if your boss wants to see you, instead of thinking “there’s a problem with my work” consider “maybe she wants to talk about another project.”

“The second thought doesn’t even have to prove the first wrong. It’s the mental exercise of taking the time to create another explanation that can lessen the potency of the first thought… imagine what you would tell a friend who confessed to having that same negative thought.” (p.149)

In case you imagine that I am some kind of shrinking violet, eagerly gobbling up any pop-psychology or craving praise, I am not someone who has ever been described as lacking confidence. I love public speaking. I am not afraid to speak my mind and I had a lot of success early in my career. Nonetheless, this very credible book helped me identify patterns I can change for myself and avoid for my daughter. It did so in a light but enlightening way and was a pleasure to read. (Although my husband perhaps didn’t care for all the “Wow! Listen to this” interjections during our drive to camp pick-up!)

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4 Responses to Guest Post by Dominique O’Rourke: The Confidence Code (Kay & Shipman)

  1. Pingback: Guest Post by Dominique O’Rourke: The Confidence Code (Kay & Shipman) | LeaderLibrary

  2. Pingback: Book Review: The Confidence Code: The science and art of self-assurance, what women should know | Accolade Communications

  3. Susan Cornell says:

    Great review Dominique. Hope you are doing well.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: 68. The Confidence Code (Kay & Shipman) | A Year of Books

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