I’m a planner, an over analyzer, a control freak.
So you can bet a pie of delicious New York pizza that I didn’t start a blog and podcast on notable women not having a long list of women already in mind. These are women that I know and know well. I knew who I wanted to interview for the blog and who for the podcast and who for both. I have a list of women and the topics I would love to discuss with them.
But for some reason, this is how the conversation goes:
Me: Hey, lady, how are you?
Notable Woman: I am so great, Cristin! I love your new project, by the way. Really awesome, really inspiring.
Me: Great to hear! So glad you are loving it. In fact, that’s why I’m reaching out to you today. I wanted to see if you’d be willing to do an interview with me.
Notable Woman: Me? Wow, that’s so nice of you, Cristin, but I don’t really think I’m a good fit.
Me: Huh? I’m sorry, why not?
Notable Woman: Well, I’m not really what you’d call a notable woman, right?
Me: Uh, but what about that money you raised for those cancer patients? Or that big grant you got for your church for expanding your food bank? And didn’t your work just honor you for that new research your team worked on?
Notable Woman: Sure, but that’s just me. I don’t consider that notable.
Me: Well, you should.
How amazing is it that women don’t seem to understand how notable they are? This is not a one-time conversation, but a conversation I have constantly with women I reach out to. I definitely have women who immediately say yes, or my favorite, women who reach out to me and say, “I want to be interviewed for The Notable Woman and I want to talk about this…” But time and time again, more times than not, women tell me they don’t think they’re notable.
These are women with a long list of impressive accomplishments. I’m nice, but I’m not nice enough to bring women who aren’t truly notable to you so I’m not fibbing here. Why do women have such a hard time recognizing their own awesomeness? Louann Brizendine, MD, a neuropsychiatrist at the University of California, San Francisco, and the author of The Female Brain
, says that what makes women great mothers, their biological ability to tell what babies need through nonverbal cues may be to blame
. Women have a tendency to overanalyze and store up these perceived negative opinions of themselves. And a 2001 study by Roy F. Baumeister, PhD confirmed a long-held belief that “bad is stronger than good,”
which means that a bad stimuli, like a parent who constantly tells you that you aren’t good enough, or perhaps, tells you that he or she isn’t good enough, will have a stronger and more long lasting effect than a good parent doing the opposite.
Can you identify with either of these?
Research presented by Wiebke Bleidorn, Ph.D., from the University of California discovered that there is a difference in confidence in men and women, and it’s not just in the United States, but all countries. What was most interesting was how large a difference it was, so large that it’s been named “the confidence gap,” and also that this gap was larger in countries like the United States and Australia than in developing countries. This studied spanned 8 years and used data from nearly a million people.
I’ve certainly seen this, particularly in the workplace. Men who are not too smart or too driven or, really, too interesting dominate conversation, ask for all the resources, and insist on other employees supporting their work, while the women tend to patiently wait for an opportunity. I don’t tolerate this, of course, and push my female employees to give presentations, lead teams, and stand up for themselves. I can’t say that we’re there yet, but I can say that we’re constantly thinking about gender and working hard to make sure that we aren’t taking on certain roles just because we’re programmed to.
I’m here to tell you that you, yes YOU, are a notable woman.
You, my dear, are amazing. You’re a woman, a daughter, a sister, a niece, a co-worker, a boss, a friend, a mother, a wife, a grandmother, a great-grandmother.
You’re a researcher, a scientist, a dancer, an entrepreneur, a teacher, a college administrator, an accountant, a photographer, a health coach, a fitness expert, a business coach, a psychologist, a kids’ counselor, a women’s health advocate, a painter, a sculptor, a librarian – the list goes on and on!
You volunteer. You raise money for your favorite causes, like finding a cure for children’s cancer, your church’s clothing ministry, and heart disease, something that took your own mother too soon.
You love, you laugh, you cry, you sob, you celebrate.
You pick yourself up when you need to and maybe say a late night hello to a jar of Nutella.
You’re a Notable Woman! And I’m here to tell your story.
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