Founder's Note: What are your self-confidence tricks?

Hilary Stauffer, then a visiting fellow at the LSE Centre for the Study of Human Rights, gave me an incredibly useful piece of advice two years ago. Walking back to the Tube one evening, after cocktails at the Bassoon Bar, we started talking about women who are successful in their early 20s and how much it makes me feel like an underachiever. Hilary told me that from the outside, my life looked like one of those women's. I have a day job in luxury fashion marketing "a million girls would kill for". Women in Foreign Policy, two years in, is doing better than I ever hoped for. Through it, I meet the most amazing and inspirational women on an almost daily basis and connect with great readers. 

I was reminded of this discussion last week on the Eurostar, editing an upcoming interview with Foreign Policy Interrupted co-founder Lauren Bohn. She spoke at length about how no one ever sees the cutting room floor. She talked about women who contact FPI disappointed not to have the same New York Times bylines as their colleagues, forgetting that before prestigious gigs come dozens of rejections.

I get annoyed when the lack of women in positions of power is explained by a gender self-confidence problem. Yet, based on the (not fully representative) sample of the 100+ women I have interviewed, self-confidence is an issue we all grapple with, especially in 2016, when everybody makes a social media show of having their shit together.

I have an amazing mentor at work, one of those women the entire building is in awe of. You probably have one in your office too. So here's my advice: talk to her. Years ago, she explained to me how some things made her feel. It was one of the most useful conversations I ever had. Sometimes with self-confidence, you need to be given the right to feel that way, and to know that even the most incredible women, the ones you look up to and who you never think would feel doubt or uncertainty, do.  

Whenever I have doubts these days, I look at my life as an outsider would (thanks Hilary) and I think about how successful women might actually feel on a daily basis (thanks Jenna). By the way, the first paragraph? I put an Instagram filter on it. Truth is, I rarely go for cocktails at cool bars, mostly because my bedtime is around 8pm.

This article initially appeared in the April issue of the Women in Foreign Policy newsletter, a monthly round-up of the best career advice from our exclusive interviews. Sign up here