By: Rochelle de Goias

I read Katty Kay and Claire Shipman ‘s book, the New York Times Bestseller The Confidence Code after meeting Katty Kay at a talk in Toronto. The part of this book that struck me the most was a study on US college women and the impact of their preconceived notions about their ability on their confidence. The conclusion was these women were less confident in general in their abilities which led them to be less confident when performing tasks and less likely to pursue opportunities.

For example, this group of women might say, “I not qualified enough for that job, so I wont apply.” or “I’m not good at math, so I won’t bother trying.”

This got me thinking – how many times have I turned down an opportunity because I didn’t feel confident in my ability? As it turns out, more often than I thought…

On December 24, 2014 I gave birth to a beautiful little baby boy. Which means for the last 9 months I haven’t been very physically active.

A few weeks ago, a friend asked me to join her and some other women in a soccer game and I politely declined. I love soccer but I felt that I was not in my best physical form so I didn’t want to play. My internal dialogue went something like this: “I haven’t played soccer in months. My cardio sucks right now. I’m rusty. I won’t be as good as some of the other players and we will definitely lose.”

Even more recently, a friend asked me to run a 15K race with her this spring – something I normally would love to do. Nike was sponsoring a group of women, training them, and outfitting them. She wanted me on her team.   All I had to do was say yes. And I turned her down, emphatically.

My internal dialogue went something like: “I’m way to heavy to run right now, I’m weak, I’m barely getting to the gym, I definitely won’t make good time.”

And then it hit me.

I’m so afraid to lose, to fail that I turned down two great opportunities.

The lessons from The Confidence Code are simple. Confidence is about taking action, taking risks and being prepared to fail. Yes, I said being prepared to FAIL – something I haven’t been prepared to do lately.

According to the book, Hillary Clinton was afraid when she decided to run for Senate in 2000. She didn’t want to lose publicly and this fear nearly kept her back from trying. Then someone said to her: “Sure you might lose. So what? Dare to compete, Mrs. Clinton. Dare to compete.”

That’s pretty good advice.

So along with a new baby, I also have a new mantra, dare to compete.