When I began working with women entrepreneurs, I saw a common thread. It was present in women with MBAs and those with GEDs. It existed in women with high-paying corporate careers, some looking to make the leap into business ownership, and those who had never been able to hold a steady job.

That thread is a lack of confidence. It didn't matter how much my clients had accomplished in their lives, they were rarely confident in what they knew.

I facilitate a workshop on discovering and articulating your life's mission. In one of these sessions, I worked with a woman who was passionate about fishing, she could tell you everything about fish and fishing there is to know. She said that if she could spend her life on the water and make money, she would. During our session, I also found out that she really wanted to help children. I suggested she start a business where she taught life skills to children through fishing, perhaps a week or summer-long camp.

She never got herself to a place where she thought she was qualified to do it. And to this day she continues to work in a job that is less than fulfilling.
This lack of confidence leads to what I call the "who am I to?" disorder.
Who am I to write a book?
Who am I to teach a class?
Who am I to start a business?

As I reflected on my early entrepreneur days, I realized that I, too, was connected to the same thread. Out of a lack of confidence in my ability to sustain a successful business, I gave up on startups even when the buying public told me they wanted my services.

Later in life, the thread manifested itself in the pursuit of certifications, accreditations and board positions. "If I just get this title, I will be good enough to do (fill in the blank)." Even worse, it sometimes still shows up as never-ending planning - I can plan myself into doing absolutely nothing.

I finally started to believe in my own knowledge, experience and abilities. That's when my life changed. Today, I am a business owner. I present myself as the expert I am.

So, I urge ... no, I beg you to know what you know, and believe that by sharing that knowledge you can make a difference.

I am a confident woman.

La Juana Whitmore is an entrepreneur, small business strategist and accredited consultant. www.LaJuanaWhitmore.com

La Juana Whitmore recommends these books about leadership by women authors:
Billion Dollar Boss: African American Women Sharing Stories of Success in Entrepreneurship and Leadership by Kathey Porter and Andrea Hoffman
The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It by Valerie Young
#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso
On Becoming Fearless...in Love, Work, and Life by Arianna Huffington
Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

What's On Your Bookshelf?

Send us 450 words about your booklife, plus your list of five related books by women authors. editor@womenspress.com