Kate Boorer is one of Australia’s leading experts on career planning, confidence building, professional personal branding.
She wears many hats— as an author, mentor, keynote speaker, and facilitator, Kate has proven her passion for empowering women and has made a successful career out of pursuing that passion.
In her recently published book, Core Confidence, she highlights research on common barriers many women experience in their career that tend to get in the way of achieving their goals.
The book and her mission are to strengthen and support women to reconnect with their inner ‘core confidence’ to set out and take control of their career paths.
What are common confidence barriers women experience in the workplace?
There are a lot of barriers we experience as women in the workplace. There’s systemic barriers, natural bias barriers, and practical barriers when you think about women with children and families.
A study revealed that women are twice as likely to receive feedback that they need to display more confidence.
The first barrier is discovering what confidence means. It means something different to everybody. In my book, we discuss external and internal confidence.
Your external confidence looks like the work hard, the right schools, and looking the part. This is all well and good, but when you go into a conference room, your confidence can still plummet.
Confidence barriers are different for everybody. It's not that we don’t have confidence, but we’re prone to self-sabotaging strategies that give our confidence away, which is why it’s important to understand your relationship with yourself.
The book revolves around the discovery of internal confidence or “the core” confidence. Based on many years coaching, building internal confidence is key to sustainable confidence.
The whole barrier is what’s going on with ourselves. The more we become more aware of the things that are going on for us, the more we can start to put in strategies, tools, and resources designed to stop that comparison and negative self-talk.
Who has been a great influence for you in your career path (mentor, boss)?
People seem to think they need to do everything on their own. At some point in your career, asking for help with coaches and mentors to develop skills such as building resilience, navigating workplace politics, building a personal brand are so crucial to your career— yet we don’t learn them in the traditional pathways of education.
One of the great joys of working with someone who is older and has more experience than you is that they have a broader perspective to see your potential.
I had a boss who believed in my capacity and constantly threw me in the deep-end—I wouldn’t say it was a pleasant experience at all, but I benefited greatly from it.
It pushed me into doing things that were tough; I faced fears and it exposed me to new challenges. It’s certainly difficult, but when you get to the end of it you come out with a new perspective and are so much more capable.
What does it mean to have a personal brand?
Everyone has a personal brand. It’s everything you say and do AND everything you don’t say and do.
Your personal brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. When you work on your personal brand, you take control of the language people use to describe you.
If you’re not actively working on what you’d like to be known for, it’ll be up to your boss to decide what you will be known for when they are discussing you to people in your network.
If you could speak to the recently graduated you who was just stepping into the corporate world, knowing what you know now, what advice would you give yourself?
Get clear on the path you want to tread knowing that it’s there to provide direction rather than certainty.
It's important to remember that the path is not written in stone. There are a lot of options, but do your due diligence to find out what different career paths mean.
The clearer you are about where you want to go, the easier it will be to get the right help along the way from your network, or you can hire appropriate based on what you can afford such as seminars, workshops, coaches.
I achieved senior roles quite early in my career, and I was fortunate to have excellent bosses along the whole way who were supportive and helped direct my career.
I do think on some level, I felt I was in their hands rather than driving the ship. I don’t think I knew how much was in their control. As long as you’re clear on your path, you won’t lose time in careers you don’t want to be in.
Do you have an exercise or ritual you do before you step into a big meeting or event?
For me, it’s about being present and grounded.
Otherwise, it’s easy to go off into sabotaging self-talk. Negative thoughts are a bit of a tornado— they start small and quickly become enormous and out of control.
I like to focus on my breath and do a couple of minutes of meditation to ground myself. That way, when I get on stage, I can be present and connected to my instincts.
What has been the most useful tool/ or advice you have for goal-setting?
Get clear about your why.
If it’s important, you’ll make time. If it’s not, you’ll make an excuse.
When we’re not reaching our goals, it’s because we haven’t had the courage to make what we want a priority. What you value is a reflection of all the small decisions we make.
What’s next for you?
Right now, I’m focused on my current book, Core Confidence and sharing the message and growing the Australian women community.
This community and message is something I’m very passionate about. We’re teaching women how to empower themselves and how they can go out and empower their own communities.
As Majer Recruitment readers, Kate has shared the first chapter of her book: