A couple weeks ago I read an article about communicating with chutzpah. Although there are several great bits of advice, it all boils down to acting—and being—confident in yourself. This is one of the things that is most difficult for me, and the article is particularly relevant to me right now.
Since I started my job eight-ish months ago, there’s one part that I just can’t get a handle on: Pay-per-click advertising (PPC). It’s convoluted and frustrating, and I’m not making much progress. This is a service that my company provides for our clients: they set a budget, I’m in charge of managing it correctly, and come the end of the month we send them a bill. If I mess up, the client loses money. I’m not losing anyone a ton of money hand over fist, but I do know that I’m not doing them any good by being the one to manage their accounts.
And it’s not for lack of trying. I’ve tried several avenues of education, including studying for and taking an official certification test — three times (at $50 a pop). I’ve attended a seminar. I follow several blogs that deal solely with the strategies of PPC. I’ve read whitepapers and attended webinars. I just don’t think that it’s something I can be good at.
Granted, it’s also not a topic in which I am particularly interested. It’s always easier to learn something when you genuinely care. Maybe it’s just a mental block, one that’s all in my head, and I could be good at it if I forced myself to be.
But does that really matter? Why should I have to spend even a nanosecond of time hating any aspect of my job? How is that fair to me, or to my clients? When you hate doing something, you do it less, you do it with less gusto. Which means your results are going to be less successful.
The big question
At this point I’m pretty much done trying to learn all the ins and outs of PPC — other aspects of my job are stressful enough, and I’d much rather spend time honing my natural abilities. I’m disappointed in myself for not doing well with PPC, but I truly think that’s the only thing I should be feeling.
So I’m perplexed by my daily anxiety about it, as well as the constant feeling that I should apologize for my lack of ability; and not even to the clients — to my boss. It feels like I’ve failed him, and failed the company.
What’s worse, I feel the need to apologize — even though I already have. Most recently after a stressful meeting with my boss where we looked over the lack of progress and I ended up almost crying in our conference room (going directly against Kelly Cutrone’s dictate, to my chagrin). To be clear, my boss has never been rude to me about this — in fact, he’s always been encouraging, and has endeavored to help me succeed.
So why am I still apologizing?
I’m not the only one
I’ve read enough about psychology and sociology and culture to realize that I’m not alone in my need to apologize for failing when it isn’t necessarily my fault.
Like the young woman mentioned in the communicating with chutzpah article, I think a lot of women are given the impression (through the way they’re raised, the people they hang out with, the kinds of media they take in) that being confident makes them a bitch, and that constantly finishing their sentences with question marks makes them seem kinder and less intimidating.
Either that or most women’s self-confidence is so low (again, either because of the way they were raised, the people they hang out with, or the kinds of media they take in) that we just naturally speak in interrogatives.
So tell me
Am I the only one who catches myself apologizing endlessly and unnecessarily, or at least feeling the need to? How do you handle it? Have you noticed that this chronic uncertainty is a trend among women? Do men who lack confidence also deal with it by hiding behind question marks?