The Confidence Factor for Women: Getting “Included”

Dear Carol,

I work in the high stress field of entertainment as an associate producer on a morning show. It was my dream job 10 years ago, and comes with the politics of seniority and ratings over qualifications.

Lately, I have been working with my worst enemy — myself. I am recognizing my own self sabotaging behaviors, where I know there are new opportunities available for advancement now that I have earned seniority, but I still talk myself out of it. I begin the debate in my mind about my worth, and maybe I need more years on my position in order to apply.

On the other hand, there are women who have less seniority that are moving up the ladder, but NONE at the executive level. It is a boys club at the top. I am so “afraid” of being rejected that I continue to talk myself out of applying. In the end, I am no longer being challenged professionally, and I intended to grow, but I was not prepared for this plateau.

How do I stop allowing my worst enemy to stop me from growing in my profession?


Scared of rejection


Dear Scared of Rejection,

I want to let you know you are not alone. As women, we often over-analyze the value of risk, both professionally and personally. Many women in the workplace & business settle below their value due to the fear of rejection.

However, you cannot base your expectation of rejection on the lack of women in the executive level of your profession. The best way to support inclusion initiatives is to include yourself in the talent pool to be considered for the executive chair. There is an assumptive value when it comes to gender disparity that men do not want to see change. However, we also must ensure that we are not allowing normative behavior and practices to support the feeling of fear, hence you do not apply. As women, we must take the initiative and stop waiting for an invitation to move up the corporate ladder and create gender parity.

The fear that you are feeling is actually a good thing. It is allowing you to begin to become uncomfortable with your current position and seek advancement, now you must use it as fuel to ask for the opportunity. Fear is an emotional roadblock that is trying to protect you from the unknown, meanwhile, you are craving professional growth.

The next step is to face the fear by taking action: ask for the opportunity. Although you may be fearful, do not explain your emotions. This is your moment to present your value, explain what you bring to the table and negotiate.

There is value in the fear you are feeling. It is time to make sure you are included by changing the norm in your company. Your seat at the table may be the first to change the corporate culture.

I will see you at the top!

— Carol

Carol Sankar is a high level business consultant and the founder of The Confidence Factor for Women in Leadership, which is a global executive leadership firm focused on diversity and inclusion initiatives for high level women. Carol has been featured at TEDx, The Steve Harvey Show, Bounce TV, Inroads, The Society for Diversity, SHRM, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, Homevestors and more. For more details, visit

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