Business 13 March 2018
The Oxford dictionary defines confident as, “feeling or showing certainty about something." What it doesn't tell us, is that a confident mindset is one that takes years to develop, and is only as strong as the foundation that supports it.
In the midst of the #MeToo movement and long-fought war on pay gap, confidence emerges as a less distinct, yet just as significant, gap between women and men.
“As women, we tend to be more focused on competence than confidence. And it's holding us back," says Carrie Kerpen, CEO of social media agency and digital content studio, Likeable. Kerpen is one of the keynote speakers at this year's Million Dollar Women Summit, where she hopes to convey the importance of confidence as a tool of empowerment.
As a part of the Million Dollar Women movement, founded by Julia Pimsleur, this year's second annual Summit is a two-day event of coaching, interactive workshops and keynotes by successful female founders. The theme is Women Who Dare, “in honor of all the women who dared before us, not just entrepreneurs but inventors, activists and trailblazers of all kinds, who defied societal expectations and took risks in order to live their boldest lives," explains Pimsleur.
A two-time founder, author and influential speaker, Pimsleur understands confidence. This is why she set out to share her hard-earned wisdom as one of the few VC-backed, women-run businesses in the country. It all began as a controlled workshop to coach 75 women through their early rounds of funding.
Founder MDW, Julia Pimsleur
Three years later, and a collective $15 million in capital raised, Pimsleur decided to share the lessons in her book, Million Dollar Women: The Essential Guide for Female Entrepreneurs Who Want to Go Big, before ultimately establishing the company, Million Dollar Women.“Knowing that they [women] have a tribe of other high growth women should make it a bit easier to access the three things you need to 'go big:' the right mindset, skillset and network," shares Pimsleur. “The Summit helps with all three. We are demystifying what it takes to be the CEO of a multi-million dollar company and breaking it down for women so we can make that three percent a thing of the past."
The three percent that Pimsleur addresses is the sobering statistic she discovered six years ago while raising capital for her company, Little Pim. “Fewer than three percent of women entrepreneurs get to $1 million in revenues and just four percent of venture capital is invested in women-run businesses," she explains.
With a mission to help one million women reach $1M in revenues by 2020, Million Dollar Women channels Pimsleur's confidence into a community for women navigating one of the most isolating periods of entrepreneurship. “At the beginning of my business I had so much passion and enthusiasm and drive, but a few years into it, I was burnt out, and needed new skills and networks to get to the next level," admits Pimsleur on the self-motivated mission to learn from fellow entrepreneurs.
“We are helping women go beyond their comfort zones and build big, successful businesses. Now they can scale up faster, and in great company," she states.
Although the entire Million Dollar Women company is steeped in the underlying theme of confidence, as women gain a community of like-minded motivation, this year's conference is a distinct opportunity to recognize the significance of what happens when you “dare" to think bigger--whether that's leaving your comfort zone or fostering belief in yourself.
“I think that male founders are generally more assertive, while female founders are generally more modest, myself included," says Shan-Lyn Ma, founder of Zola.com. As the co-keynote speaker at the Million Dollar Women summit this year, Ma reflects on the early days of her entrepreneurial venture, where confidence was her most important aspect but one she hadn't quite grasped yet.
“Venture Capitalists are attracted to founders who are confident in their ability to build the next billion-dollar business, which men time and time again promise they'll do, regardless if they have a solid idea or not," she says. “Women have a tendency to come in with a conservative five-year plan, which while practical, isn't as inspiring to VCs."
It took years of realizing her visions and community support for Ma to exude the confidence that reflected the investment she made in herself, to attract an investment from others. For this reason, Ma looks forward to encouraging this level of confidence for women in their early seeds of funding alongside fellow keynote speaker, Carrie Kerpen, and of course, the summit's founder, Julia Pimsleur at the Summit.
“I hope my story helps light a fire in people's hearts to go after something they've always wanted to do, whether that's starting a company, taking on a project at work, trying a new skill, or something else entirely," says Ma.
As the confidence gap presents itself as a non quantitative fix, Pimsleur has undoubtedly created a platform where women can leverage their network to inspire the qualitative change--one which confidence's “feelings of certainty" are rooted in. “While #MeToo is fixing the egregious harassment issues, we are fixing the more subtle mindset, skillset and network issues," concludes Pimsleur.
In using these as key touch points, Million Dollar Women reflects how as confidence becomes more accessible and understood, women will no longer have to look at it as a daunting gap, but rather as another tool they can master along their entrepreneurial journey.
The Million Dollar Women Summit will take place April 5-6 at the Microsoft Conference Center in New York City. For more information on scheduling, coaches and registration, click here.
3 Min Read
With a lack of certainty surrounding the future, being and feeling healthy may help bring the security that you need during these unpredictable times.
When it comes to your health, there is a direct relationship between nutrition and physical activity that play an enormous part in physical, mental, and social well-being. As COVID-19 continues to impact almost every aspect of our lives, the uncertainty of the future may seem looming. Sometimes improvisation is necessary, and understanding how to stay healthy and fit can significantly help you manage your well-being during these times.
Tip 1: Communicate with your current wellness providers and set a plan
Gyms, group fitness studios, trainers, and professionals can help you to lay out a plan that will either keep you on track through all of the changes and restrictions or help you to get back on the ball so that all of your health objectives are met.
Most facilities and providers are setting plans to provide for their clients and customers to accommodate the unpredictable future. The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C. An enormous amount is on the table for this coming fall and winter; if your gym closes again, what is your plan? If outdoor exercising is not an option due to the weather, what is your plan? Leaving things to chance will significantly increase your chances of falling off of your regimen and will make consistency a big problem.
The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C.
Tip 2: Stay active for both mental and physical health benefits
The rise of stress and anxiety as a result of the uncertainty around COVID-19 has affected everyone in some way. Staying active by exercising helps alleviate stress by releasing chemicals like serotonin and endorphins in your brain. In turn, these released chemicals can help improve your mood and even reduce risk of depression and cognitive decline. Additionally, physical activity can help boost your immune system and provide long term health benefits.
With the new work-from-home norm, it can be easy to bypass how much time you are spending sedentary. Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity. Struggling to find ways to stay active? Start simple with activities like going for a walk outside, doing a few reps in exchange for extra Netflix time, or even setting an alarm to move during your workday.
Tip 3: Start slow and strong
If you, like many others during the pandemic shift, have taken some time off of your normal fitness routine, don't push yourself to dive in head first, as this may lead to burnout, injury, and soreness. Plan to start at 50 percent of the volume and intensity of prior workouts when you return to the gym. Inactivity eats away at muscle mass, so rather than focusing on cardio, head to the weights or resistance bands and work on rebuilding your strength.
Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity.
Tip 4: If your gym is open, prepare to sanitize
In a study published earlier this year, researchers found drug-resistant bacteria, the flu virus, and other pathogens on about 25 percent of the surfaces they tested in multiple athletic training facilities. Even with heightened gym cleaning procedures in place for many facilities, if you are returning to the gym, ensuring that you disinfect any surfaces before and after using them is key.
When spraying disinfectant, wait a few minutes to kill the germs before wiping down the equipment. Also, don't forget to wash your hands frequently. In an enclosed space where many people are breathing heavier than usual, this can allow for a possible increase in virus droplets, so make sure to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Staying in the know and preparing for new gym policies will make it easy to return to these types of facilities as protocols and mutual respect can be agreed upon.
Tip 5: Have a good routine that extends outside of just your fitness
From work to working out, many routines have faltered during the COVID pandemic. If getting back into the routine seems daunting, investing in a new exercise machine, trainer, or small gadget can help to motivate you. Whether it's a larger investment such as a Peloton, a smaller device such as a Fitbit, or simply a great trainer, something new and fresh is always a great stimulus and motivator.
Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine.
Just because you are working from home with a computer available 24/7 doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your entire day to work. Setting work hours, just as you would in the office, can help you to stay focused and productive.
A good night's sleep is also integral to obtaining and maintaining a healthy and effective routine. Adults need seven or more hours of sleep per night for their best health and wellbeing, so prioritizing your sleep schedule can drastically improve your day and is an important factor to staying healthy. Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine. This can help the rest of your day feel normal while the uncertainty of working from home continues.
Tip 6: Focus on food and nutrition
In addition to having a well-rounded daily routine, eating at scheduled times throughout the day can help decrease poor food choices and unhealthy cravings. Understanding the nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy can help you stay more alert, but they do vary from person to person. If you are unsure of your suggested nutritional intake, check out a nutrition calculator.
If you are someone that prefers smaller meals and more snacks throughout the day, make sure you have plenty of healthy options, like fruits, vegetables and lean proteins available (an apple a day keeps the hospital away). While you may spend most of your time from home, meal prepping and planning can make your day flow easier without having to take a break to make an entire meal in the middle of your work day. Most importantly, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
Tip 7: Don't forget about your mental health
While focusing on daily habits and routines to improve your physical health is important, it is also a great time to turn inward and check in with yourself. Perhaps your anxiety has increased and it's impacting your work or day-to-day life. Determining the cause and taking proactive steps toward mitigating these occurrences are important.
For example, with the increase in handwashing, this can also be a great time to practice mini meditation sessions by focusing on taking deep breaths. This can reduce anxiety and even lower your blood pressure. Keeping a journal and writing out your daily thoughts or worries can also help manage stress during unpredictable times, too.
While the future of COVI9-19 and our lives may be unpredictable, you can manage your personal uncertainties by focusing on improving the lifestyle factors you can control—from staying active to having a routine and focusing on your mental health—to make sure that you emerge from this pandemic as your same old self or maybe even better.