By Rob Starr, Big4.com Content Manager
Helene Lerner, CEO of Creative Expansions Inc., and the founder of WomenWorking.com has built a vast global following through one of the premier multimedia websites for career women with a robust social media presence. An Emmy-winning executive producer, Lerner has produced and hosted more than 20 televised specials and received the American Public Television’s MVP Award for her outstanding contributions to public television and numerous other awards.
The author of 13 books, including The Confidence Myth, Lerner describes herself as an empowerment advocate who helps women from all walks of life dare to live fully and actualize their potential. We talked with her recently about the ways women undervalue their skills in the corporate workplace and what they need to do to get on track.
“Many women have asked how to become more confident,” she says. “It’s a hot issue and I started to write a book about how to become more confident and we also did a survey of over 500 women.”
WomenWorking.com released the complete results of its Women & Confidence Survey with over 500 women to complement, “Make It Happen,” the 2015 theme for International Women’s Day. The research goal was to help women benefit from the wisdom, experience, and lessons learned of a mostly confident group of professional women. The survey found, among other things, that to build confidence women need to take risks, like putting themselves in the running for jobs that will enable them to accomplish stretch goals.
Lerner says the sample groups used for her book and the survey were women on the track to or ones that had already attained some level of corporate success.
The Big C
“The more I heard their stories and the more I reflected on my own experience, I realized the idea of confidence with a big C where you have all your skills and contacts in place is a myth,” she told Big4.com, noting fear is part of the equation and women need to move forward where they think they can change the conversation or offer up an idea, “even when their knees are shaking.”
According to Lerner, the discomfort of doing things that are out of your comfort zone denoted personal and professional growth and fear is part of the process. She uses the example of her earlier television shows where she knew little about the best practices involved, but her passion for empowering women and girls trumped her fear.
The paths of her own experiences and the amalgamation of the interviews she’s done intersect in The Confidence Myth, a book she hopes will guide career women toward their own brand of confidence.
“The book is looking to give women through the inspirational examples I’ve interviewed and my own life a lot of tips and strategies on how to jump in,” she says.