The balance between confidence and humility can be tricky for women. The fear of looking too confident and coming across as arrogant causes many of us to downplay our success and accomplishments. Even though I spend a lot of time helping others learn how to ignore that voice in their head, I too can get trapped by this negative inner dialogue.

Years ago, a friend suggested I share how becoming a leadership coach had impacted me personally. I typically share client success stories and leave the “me” out of it. Leaving out the personal stories keeps it safe and takes away the fear of seeming braggadocious or too self-involved, yet it also misses the mark in allowing for a personal connection that others can relate to. Thank goodness for wise and persistent friends.

I am blessed to be able to help clients find their best leadership path through the programs I teach. Here is just a start of what I have learned and why I love showing up to work every day. Hands down: I’m a better person. And even after many years, I feel as if I am just beginning.

What my coaching journey has taught me so far:

1. Being right is overrated and doesn’t truly land me in the win column. Learning what “right” looks like to others opens my eyes to a whole new world. And that is a more meaningful win.

2. Judgment holds me back and flaunts my insecurities. Being curious and open is a much better approach. True leaders do this. It is brave. I keep striving.

3. The way I make decisions under stress shows the world a me that I don’t like. Learning to respond rationally is one of my greatest struggles and worth every second of my time.

4. Labeling myself as “busy” isn’t a badge of honor or even unique. Who feels un-busy these days? Calm, capable and in control is how I want to show up and be perceived.

5. I used to let my past define me. I always put lipstick on it with fancy positive language, but deep down I was determined to “never let it happen again.” Impossible. I don’t control results. I only control the process and how I behave. I spend time here.

6. I bring more to conversations by listening than speaking. Because I love contributing, this is hard as hell for me. But what I discovered is I was really just waiting to chime in more than to truly understand what the other person wanted to share. That is not how I want to show up.

This is only the beginning of a long list. What are you learning and benefiting from on your leadership journey? I’d sure love to swap stories, so look me up!

Keep living intentionally.


Deborah Degner is the founder of The Leadership Bridge LLC. Email her at


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