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If you're a female entrepreneur, you have most definitely heard of - and likely experienced - the phenomenon known as "the confidence gap." Those moments where you doubt yourself and your abilities, where you question how you will meet your goals, and wonder why you ever considered that you could accomplish something remarkable.  

Where does this self-defeating process come from? And, more importantly, how do we combat it?

Well, to start we're up against some longstanding, institutionalized barriers, and hidden bias. Within companies, the disparity begins at entry level, where men are 30% more likely than women to be promoted to management roles. For entrepreneurs, there's the reality that women have a harder time raising money, that when we do get funded, it's for lower amounts than men, and when women get small business loans, they're typically at higher interest rates. So how do we respond to these kinds of challenges? We internalize it. We start to believe it. We assume that the reason things are harder is because we're really not ready. Or good enough to make it happen.  And so we wait. We wait until we are absolutely sure we have what it takes. We wait for someone to tap us on the shoulder and tell us we ARE capable, we CAN do it, and we DESERVE to succeed. And of course by then, we are more than overqualified but still under-confident. 

Stand up comedian & writer, Ashley Gavin, uses the example of teaching kids how to swim as the perfect analogy for this issue.

The girls need you to hold their hand before they dip their toe in...but once they get in the pool they are focused and they follow directions. And the boys just jump in the pool.

So, how do we get out of our own heads and out of our own way?  How do we stop waiting to feel perfectly prepared, and realize NOW is that perfect moment? 

On the set of You're Not Crazy, Season Two (From left: Erica Duignan Minnihan, Ashley Gavin, Sara Armour, Sam Jay, Karen Cahn, Bea Arthur)

On the set of You're Not Crazy, Season Two (From left: Erica Duignan Minnihan, Ashley Gavin, Sara Armour, Sam Jay, Karen Cahn, Bea Arthur)

The crew at "Your're Not Crazy" set out to tackle that question by engaging some powerhouse women to hear how they bridge the gap.

Among the female entrepreneurs who participated in this roundtable discussion was Erica Duignan Minnihan, host of BroadMic and a managing partner at 1000 Angels.  According to Erica, the key to closing the gap is getting women to feel more comfortable not following directions.

Erica's advice is to avoid overthinking it and instead, dive right in.  Unfortunately, overthinking it is kind of "our thing."  Even when it comes to applying for jobs, women too often lack the confidence needed to take credit for and promote their own accomplishments. 

Men can learn on the job and a woman feels the need to have everything ready to go before the job starts.

Another stand up comedian & writer featured in this episode of You're Not Crazy is Sam Jay, who, as an African-American woman, deeply understands the causes of the confidence gap. Sam suggests that it's a lack of women prominently represented across all industries that makes it difficult for female entrepreneurs to make risky, career-enhancing moves. 

If you don’t see enough stories of the success, the success becomes more scary.

You're Not Crazy is a series dedicated to each and every woman. Brave and brilliant women who need that push to become BOLD. We are getting on our megaphones to tell ladies that they are not alone in the self-doubt and lack of confidence that all women feel, specifically when it comes to our careers. iFundWomen's hope is that, by hearing these comedians and entrepreneurs talk honestly about the confidence gap, we are building a bridge to self-confidence and endless opportunities for success.

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