Category Archives: The Confidence Code

Announcing Our Second Exclusive Webinar

Claire Shipman & Katty Kay
Young Female Students Sharing A Book In Library

Just over a month has gone by since the release of our new book, The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance – What Women Should Know, and we are so gratified by the huge response to our message.

Over the past few weeks, we have come across many people who are giving The Confidence Code to their daughters and friends. To encourage the gift of confidence, we are gifting you and a friend access to our exclusive webinar on Friday, June 20 at noon EST.

How do you get access to this private webinar?

Just give 1 hardcover or e-book to a friend and email your receipt or proof of purchase to us at We will respond with the link to register you and your friend for our free webinar.

This upcoming webinar will focus on the nuts and bolts of “how to” boost your confidence and begin to close the confidence gap.

Where can you order the book?

Anywhere you want! Pick your favorite retailer and just email us your receipt or proof or purchase. We have included a few options below:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Indiebound | Bookish | 800-CEO-READ

Do you have questions?

You can email us with any questions that you have at

We look forward to speaking with you on June 20!

Claire & Katty

The Confidence Code Q&A – Confidence v. Self-esteem?

Claire Shipman
Young girl thinking with abstract icons on her head

Q: Took your test and I score a high confidence level.  Which I consider that I am, in all things work-wise because I’ve had so many experiences and worked for some high profile, full on CAH RAY ZEE people.  Plus my mom is a paranoid schizophrenic so it makes for a very interesting reflex to stress and work situations.

Where I suffer most is my confidence level in my personal life.  How does self esteem play into confidence?  I have very low self esteem, not because of my intellect, but as a whole package. From a logical standpoint I’m no chopped liver but still feel not worthy.  (Mommy issues.)

How does confidence and self-esteem cohabitate and what are their differences?

Thanks for this … very insightful.

A: What a terrific question. And wonderful news about your confidence score. That fact that you have been able to create confidence when you feel low self-esteem is terrific. Most psychologists find that they are heavily linked.  They are not at all the same thing … which you seem to recognize—but having healthy self-esteem actually does lay good groundwork for confidence creation. And sometimes vice-versa.  All of those attributes … optimism also … are supporters of each other.  But it’s quite possible to be optimistic, for example, but not confident about your abilities. Or—as is the case with many young people today—to have high self-esteem, and consider yourself valuable, and yet not feel confident about your ability to actually achieve things.

Check out our book, and the section on confidence cousins. Most especially self-compassion. That is a newcomer, and we find it quite useful as something to cultivate. It’s got a Buddhist feel to it, but there’s now a lot of research behind it’s effectiveness.

Cracking the confidence code with Girls on the Run

Claire Shipman & Katty Kay
Happy cheering woman in New York City enjoying view and sun on B

Poppy is not naturally athletic and she really hates waking up early. But every Tuesday and Thursday morning she sets her own alarm for 6.45am, pulls on her shorts and sneakers and hurries her sleepy parents to get her to running practice on time.

Unlike Poppy, 9-year-old Della loves sports, but she’d never been sure about the value of running. If it wasn’t a team, and ideally soccer, was there much point? But she too grew to relish her early morning runs, testing her limits and learning her strength.

Our daughters are just two of the hundreds of thousands of girls who have benefited from the incredible training of Girls on the Run. We all know running makes them physically stronger, but what we’ve come to realize from our work on confidence, and from watching Poppy and Della, is how much more Girls on the Run is giving them.

What girls learn from athletics is an invaluable lesson in building confidence. This is where we learn to face hurdles but keep going. It is where we learn to support each other, but push each other to go further too. It is where we learn to win, but also to lose.

Confidence, our research shows, comes from taking action, and risks, and going outside your comfort zone. And it just doesn’t seem to come as easily to our girls as it does to our boys. Of course, boys have the benefit of all that testosterone, which spurs them biologically to take risks. Boys are the ones who rough house in the playground and jump in loudly with half formed ideas in the classroom. And they still do more team sports than girls do.

Today we tell our girls they can be anything, Presidents or Olympians, but yet we still encourage them, subtly and without malice, to behave like “good girls.” Somehow we still seem to expect our daughters to color in the lines, answer when called on and be somehow quieter and calmer. The trouble with this is that, without even realizing it, we are setting off a pattern of perfectionism that doesn’t do much for our daughter’s confidence later in life.

What we need to do is encourage our girls to take risks, do hard things, and be strong, mentally and physically. That’s why Girls on the Run is so important.

Girls on the Run is not just about building muscles, it’s about meeting a challenge and overcoming obstacles and learning that you can succeed. This is what they learn in practice and in those invaluable discussions with their fantastic coaches. Psychologists call this process mastery – it comes from sticking with something you find hard and learning that you can make progress. It doesn’t matter how fast they run that 5k – what matters is that they try and get better and complete the course at all.

Mastery is perhaps the single most important building block of confidence and it’s what they get from Girls on the Run.

We saw mastery in action when our daughters signed up for their first 5k. They were slightly scared, they weren’t sure they could make it (in all honesty, their mothers, who aren’t runners either, were terrified that they would humiliate themselves too and not be able to run the whole the course!) And when race day dawned, freezing cold, they were still nervous.

But all that training and hard work kicked in and although we walked a few yards a couple of times, our young girls, and their not so young mothers, completed the run – a whole 5 kilometers! They have never been so proud of themselves. They had got up early, braved the cold and their own sore muscles and kept going. They had achieved their goal.

And, here’s the real beauty of building confidence through taking action – the next time around, they both knew they could complete the course, because they had already done it once. Running a 5k race still took work, but it didn’t scare them anymore.

Our daughters had built confidence; no one could take that achievement away from them because they had done it by themselves. And, having mastered one hard thing and succeeded at it, they now look at other challenges with more confidence too. It’s a virtuous circle.

Poppy came home the other day after one practice with a careful account of the discussion they’d had with their coach about how to stand up to bullies. “You know, Mom,” she said, “Girls on the Run isn’t just about our bodies, it’s about our minds too.” And their minds are stronger for it.

If you want to help your daughter crack the confidence code, sign her up for a 5k and watch her run.


The Confidence Code Q&A – What are the confidence genes?

Katty Kay
Woman scientist touching DNA molecule image at media screen

Q: Can you tell me what the confidence gene is? I did genetic testing a month ago at, but would love to know the SNP #.

A: There isn’t one confidence gene but neuroscientists are starting to isolate a group of genes that affect confidence and, on the flip side, anxiety. We tested three different genes that control serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin levels in our bodies. Your genetic predisposition to confidence depends on what variant you have of the genes. On two of those (the serotonin transporter gene and the COMT gene that regulates dopamine levels) Claire and I both have variants that wouldn’t naturally make up confident. We did have better luck with the gene that regulates oxytocin – also known as the cuddle hormone, by the way!


Announcing #TheConfidenceCode book club contest

Claire Shipman
Group Of Women At Book Club

Katty and I have been traveling and talking and eating and breathing The Confidence Code lately, and we’ve been enormously gratified by the response we’ve heard. It’s a truly humbling thing to hear, on Twitter, or Facebook, or better yet, in person, that something we wrote has inspired action, changed habits, and encouraged conversation—and debate.

One theme we’ve heard consistently is that many of you are making The Confidence Code a book club pick. That is really meaningful. We found, as we’ve discussed the issue for the last few years with friends and acquaintances and even strangers, that talking about some of these themes as a group, and offering personal examples, has tremendous power.

We’ve been brainstorming about how we can not just encourage, but participate in, The Confidence Code book club movement. What follows is our initial plan to get things started.

If you are planning to read The Confidence Code for an upcoming book club meeting, take a creative picture with the book (either alone or with your group) and tweet it out to us using the hashtag #TheConfidenceCode. Add one memorable phrase about what confidence means to you or your friends. We will choose two winners based on creativity and insightfulness. (We know, we know, it’s a bit of a loose metric. If we are inundated by cool stuff, we may have to pick randomly.) Each winning group will have Katty or me Skyping into their book club meeting!

And we do want to keep engaging on this theme, and encouraging group discussions. So feel free to send us, on Twitter and Facebook, any other interesting ways we can help give The Confidence Code book club meetings a boost.

Let #TheConfidenceCode games begin!


The Confidence Code Q&A – Unlikeable in the office?

Katty Kay
portrait of modern business team inside office building

Q: As a “high confidence” woman (both according to my own personal assessment and your Confidence Quiz), I’m curious as to what your research says about the positives and negatives of being a high confidence women in the business world, and how that confidence affects one’s relationships both with men and with other women in the workplace?

I work in an administrative/management role in a very small office, and I’ve found that sometimes men are taken aback by my confidence and aren’t sure how to react. I recall one conversation with my boss and supervisor where I told them in an enthusiastic and confident (but not forceful) manner that I thought I had “conquered” the main challenges of my job position and would love to take on a bigger project. They reacted as if they had been physically jolted – as if they viewed the word “conquered” as too “violent” to come from a “nice,” friendly, hard working, petite woman. Would they have reacted differently if I were a man using that word? I love a good challenge, whether intellectual or physical, and I love conquering challenges or finding solutions to problems. Is that seen as an anti-feminine trait in the business world?

A: Being high confidence is great. We wish we were! But you are getting at something very interesting and complex, which is how should confident women conduct themselves in the work place. We know from several studies that women who act just like men professionally get penalised – they are seen as unfeminine and unlikeable. And, by the way, that is the reaction of women as well as men. So the art of confidence is how to be confident, how to believe in your abilities and take step up to your full capability, while not behaving like, well, a bit of a jerk. You don’t have to talk loudest and longest, always jump in first, be aggressive. Women are great conciliators, we’re good at listening and bring other people along – keep those qualities but still make your voice heard. As Christine Lagarde, the first female head of the International Monetary Fund, told us, it’s about being authentic.