Validation Is For Parking – Reclaim Confidence With Nicole Kalil

AL 66 | Reclaim Confidence


They say confidence is key. But how can you harness something you don’t fully understand? Let in-demand speaker, leadership strategist, respected coach, and host of the This Is Woman’s Work Podcast, Nicole Kalil enlighten you as she tells us what confidence is all about and how it hinders us from performing our best and attaining our goals. She shares highlights from her upcoming book Validation Is for Parking and the five key confidence derailers and their antidotes to help us overcome our insecurities and be able to step up, bring ourselves out there, and take on whatever challenges may come. So ask yourself, if you had more confidence, what decisions would you make? What risks would you take? What dreams would you chase? Tune in to find out more about how you can build internal trust, reclaim confidence and live your purpose.

Listen to the podcast here


Validation Is For Parking – Reclaim Confidence With Nicole Kalil

How Women Can Beat The Confidence Con

I am excited to have Nicole Kalil here. It’s great to have you.

It’s great to be here. Thank you so much for inviting me.

I want to tell our audience a little bit about you because you come with vast experience. Nicole has a passion for eliminating gender expectations and redefining women’s work. That keeps her up at night and going in the morning. She’s an in-demand speaker, leadership strategist, coach, and the host of her own podcast, This Is Woman’s Work.

She is a fugitive of the C-Suite. She has a corporate background at Fortune 100 company and has coached hundreds of women in business, which gives her insight as to what to do structurally, systematically, and socially, and what is, and what isn’t serving women and leaders within an organization. What we’re excited about is your book. It is called Validation Is For Parking: How Women Can Beat The Confidence Con. First of all, where did this book come from? I love the title. Please share where you got that title from.

It’s four hours of brainstorming. I thought people came up with the title pretty early on. For me, I’d already written quite a bit of the book. My publisher has somebody whose job is to help people with titles. That’s all she does and she’s fantastic at it. We had several calls. At the end of the fourth call, this one finally came out and I love it, too. I’m proud of it. Interestingly enough, it was new to me. I didn’t realize the title isn’t supposed to tell you what the book is about. The title is supposed to grab somebody’s attention, then the subtitle gives you a little bit more of a sense of the book. That was learning on my part.

I call it that the title of the book is the noun and the subtitle is the verb. The verb is how people are going to be transformed by reading the book. Let’s look at your subtitle. It is How Women Could Beat The Confidence Con. I’d love for you to speak about that, and why did you write this book?

Confidence has become wrapped up in perfectionism. Click To Tweet

I’m sure like most authors, there are a variety of reasons, including a personal one. It’s been on my bucket list forever. I’m an avid reader. I knew from a very young age that I wanted to write a book. I had every reason under the sun not to do it. I finally said, “I’m never going to be ready. The time is now.” That was reason number one.

The reason number two was I had read a stat that 92% of business books are written by men. I almost fell off my chair. That disturbed me and my background is in finance. That’s a male-dominated industry. I learned a lot about being a professional, sales, mentorship, and leadership from a masculine lens. I’m not saying that that’s a bad thing. I’m just saying it is one-sided. As a woman, coming up through a large corporation, it was hard to find my authentic self, my confidence, and my way of succeeding in that company or in that work because I was learning from that masculine lens.

When I read that stat about the book, I was like, “It’s not just me.” Most women are learning about what it is to be a professional or be at work from a masculine lens. One of the other big reasons is that I wanted to write a business book that was written with women in mind. I hope anybody of any gender can read the book and take good nuggets from it, but I wanted to do something about that 8%.

I’m competing to support people to write books. My focus is on women leaders. I was talking to a new client. We were talking about the word confidence. She’s a female leader and an athlete. The world needs more female leaders, female voices, and voices from all walks of life. We need a diversity of voices. I love how you heard that stat. You’re like, “I’m going to do something about it.”

The topic of confidence was one that is a personal passion of mine. Mostly because I went through most of my 20s and early 30 with very little of it. It was a painful experience for me. What was interesting about it is that I was at a high level, at a fortune 100 finance company. Nobody on the outside would’ve ever guessed that I was suffering from a lack of confidence. The way it looked was different than how it was.

It is true for so many of us. The pain that stemmed from living inauthentically and being completely disconnected from my own confidence is what drove me in the direction and the obsession with learning about what confidence is, what it isn’t, what it takes to build it, and what’s derailing it. I wanted to pass forward those learnings and experiences with the hopes that any person reading it might connect to their confidence a little bit sooner and faster than if they hadn’t read the book.

AL 66 | Reclaim Confidence
Reclaim Confidence: It doesn’t require much from us to trust ourselves when things are going according to plan. A greater learning opportunity is to choose to trust ourselves during harder times and harder moments.


You call it the How Women Can Beat The Confidence Con. What’s the con about it? I’m curious about it.

A lot of us don’t have confidence because we don’t know what confidence is. The con is that the word itself has been misrepresented and misused so much that we don’t even know what confidence is. We keep equating confidence, especially as women, to how we look and to what we achieve. For us, confidence has become wrapped up in perfectionism, and that is not confidence.

If you look at the root of the word confidence, the etymology, and I geeked out and went back to the etymology and how it translates in all different languages, confidence means trust. It’s self-trust. It’s that firm and bold trust. It is almost active. The con is this idea that confidence is something outside of us, or it’s external, and we need to prove something, achieve something, do something, and be something in order to feel confident. When the reality is that confidence is trust, we can choose at any time we want.

It’s available to us anytime and anyplace. We get to just call it in and that’s it. That’s true. I love that. Let’s jump into your book. First of all, where can you buy your book?

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, you can go to my website and a few independent booksellers. I happen to live in the town with the oldest independent bookstore in America. It’s going to be available there, which is cool for me.

I want to jump into some of the lessons in the book. Let’s dive deep. What can you share with our audience, people reading at home in terms of what they can do to beat and tap into trusting themselves and beating this confidence con?

Confidence means trust. It's firm and bold self-trust. Click To Tweet

The book is divided into three parts. The first part is about confidence in the female experience. It talks about the nuances and the differences. Most of us, as women, how we’re socialized and what we are told we should and shouldn’t from more of a career lens, but it is trying to expose us to and think about why women are entering the workforce. The statistics show that we are entering the workforce with less confidence than our male counterparts. We delve into why. The second part of the book is redefining confidence. It is talking about the con and then replacing it with what confidence is, which is trust. I have another definition in there. It’s more of a working definition.

The third part of the book goes through what I’ve identified as the five key confidence derailers. To me, that’s what it is. It knocks us off course, off track, and disconnects us from our confidence. I identify five confidence derailers, and then their antidotes, confidence builders that we can choose anytime we want that will help get us back on course and connected towards what matters and to trusting ourselves. I’m happy to dive into any of the derailers or the builders if you want, but it ultimately keeps going back to how you build trust within yourself.

What’s one that you found the most surprising?

The most surprising for most people that I interact with and me is one of the confidence builders. The confidence builder that surprises people the most is failure, mistakes, missteps, losses, veering off course, whatever you want to call it. It was shocking to me to find out because the reality is that none of us enjoy those moments when we’re in them. Knowing that they’re a confidence builder doesn’t make the experience any more enjoyable.

What we know is that the most confident and successful people are experiencing failures, mistakes, missteps, and losses at least as much, if not significantly more than everybody else. There is a clear connection because if confidence is about trust, it doesn’t require much from us to trust ourselves when things are going according to plan. When everything’s working out the way it’s supposed to, that’s pretty easy.

It becomes more challenging and then, therefore, more rewarding and a greater learning opportunity is to choose to trust ourselves during those harder times or moments. That was surprising to me. The last thing I’ll add, too, is that a failure is a neutral event. I know it doesn’t feel neutral when we’re experiencing it, but we are the ones that are bringing meaning to these events. The way that we know this is what I might see as a big, huge insurmountable failure, you might look at it and go, “That’s not that big of a deal.”

AL 66 | Reclaim Confidence
Reclaim Confidence: Women don’t raise their hands, won’t apply, and won’t ask or advocate for themselves at the same level as their male counterparts.


I remember hearing somebody speak at a conference and he talked about how he started his business year at a $500,000 deficit on the first day. The whole audience was shocked. For him, it was like no big deal. He still ended up having his best year ever. The point is that it is a neutral experience. We’re the ones bringing meaning to those experiences. If that’s true, then we have the opportunity and ability to choose a more meaningful and productive interpretation of it. We could choose to see it as a gift, a lesson, an opportunity, one door closes, so others can open. There are many options available to us. I could go on for days. It’s the most surprising.

It’s all perspective. I love that humans are meaning-making machines. We will apply meaning to every event, circumstance, or story that surrounds our life, and this is something important that you point out. One thing I want to ask you specifically about women is what do you think holding women back in your studies, stories, and your personal experience?

What’s holding women back in a professional environment, for example, from becoming CEOs or in the C-Suite is complex and it’s not just one thing. I do think our confidence is contributing. We know women don’t raise their hands, won’t apply, ask, or advocate for themselves at the same level as their male counterparts. That certainly plays a part in what opportunities, raises, and career trajectory they’re on, but that is not the only variable. There are other biases, certainly.

One of them, we know that people get referred, promoted, and put on lists based on the relationships they have and the people they know. If the person who’s making a decision is a male executive at XYZ company he gets referred to somebody on the golf course when he is smoking cigars or from somebody in his club or network, the reality is he’s most likely going to be referred to or somebody’s going to be brought to him that looks like him.

Bias, exposure, network, and/or whatever you want to call it are some examples. There are a bazillion more. The reason I focus on confidence is that it’s the one I feel like I have the opportunity to do the most about or with because I can relate to it and I’ve experienced it. All the other things are big and complex. I can’t control whether or not somebody’s going to choose to try to get a referral outside of their normal network. I can’t choose whether or not somebody’s going to work on their biases, but I can choose how much I trust myself and how often I connect to my confidence and live authentically. That is why I go in that direction.

Confidence is an inside job. It’s something that we can harness and claim at the moment. It is important. We are going to jump into our speed round. This is where I ask you questions and you’re going to say the first thing that comes to your mind.

We have the opportunity to choose a more meaningful and productive interpretation of our failures. We can choose to see it as a gift, a lesson, and an opportunity. Click To Tweet

Let’s do it. I’m choosing confidence at this moment.

What is your legacy?

To eliminate gender expectations so that we can all live authentically and be who we are meant here to be. Live our purpose.

Favorite book.

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman.

Favorite author.

AL 66 | Reclaim Confidence
Reclaim Confidence: You can’t control whether or not somebody’s going to get a referral outside of their normal network or whether somebody’s going to work on their biases or not. But you can choose how much you trust yourself, and how often you connect to your confidence and live authentically.


I’m going to say Fredrik Backman because I love so many of his books, but Louise Penny is on the murder mystery side. Brené Brown on the self-development. There’s Glennon Doyle. I could go on for days.

I get to read Glennon Doyle’s book. I keep on hearing about it. I follow her on Instagram. I have not read one of her books. That’s something I’m going to earmark. What are you reading next?

I just finished a book called The Personal Librarian. It was about the librarian to JPMorgan. She was a Black woman who lived as a White woman and nobody knew. Her legacy is insane and what she accomplished. She was the most powerful woman in the art world, in the world during that time. That was incredible. I had no idea.

That could be turned into a movie. Is that a historical biography?

It is historical fiction, but it is based on their letters. It’s well researched.

Is it a true story?

One door closes so others can open. Click To Tweet

Yes. Ordinary Grace by William Krueger is probably my next one.

I love that you have your bookshelf right in earshot and eyeshot. You just launched this book. What are you writing next?

I started writing a different book. My first book was going to be debunking all of the more masculine approaches to living a successful life, the morning routine, 5:00 AM club, the hustle grind, and all the stuff. I was going to target a few of these and debunk them. I ended up going with what I know and what I speak about on a regular basis. I figured my first book should be something that’s already been well-researched. My second book will be a title yet to be determined, but debunking some of the more masculine.

Where will our audience find out more about you and purchase the book?

The best place is my website, There will be a book section. You can order a pre-order right off there. I would love to have you join my community.

Are you on Instagram as well?

Yes, @NicoleMKalil.

What is one last piece of advice that you want to leave our target audience at home, aspiring authors, people who have written books, and thought leaders?

Confidence isn’t out there. There isn’t anyone or anything outside of you that’s holding onto your confidence like some weird game of Where’s Waldo? and it’s your job to figure out who and what has it. Your confidence, whether you’ve connected to it recently or not, is there living inside of you. You have value and worth. You are the only you there ever has been and will be in the future. That makes you pretty special. It’s that loving reminder to connect with yourself, build trust within yourself, and have that be where your confidence comes from. All the other stuff will be icing on the confidence cake.

Thank you so much for sharing. Go out everyone and purchase Validation Is For Parking: How Women Can Beat The Confidence Con. You can get it on Until next time. Thank you so much for joining us this time. Be well.


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About Nicole Kalil

AL 66 | Reclaim ConfidenceNicole’s passion for eliminating gender expectations and redefining “Woman’s Work” is both what keeps her up at night, and what gets her up in the morning. Well that, and an abundant amount of coffee.

As an in-demand speaker, leadership strategist, respected coach, and host of the “This Is Woman’s Work” podcast, her stalker-like obsession with confidence sets her apart from the constant stream of experts telling us to BE confident. She actually shares how you build it, and gives actionable tools – not just stories – to BECOME confident.

A fugitive of the C-suite at a Fortune 100 company, she has coached hundreds of women in business, which has given her insight into what – structurally, systematically and socially – is and isn’t serving women and leaders within an organization.

Maintaining some semblance of sanity in her different roles of wife, mother, business owner successfully is an ongoing challenge… in whatever free time she has, she enjoys reading and wine guzzling, is an avid cheese enthusiast, a hotel snob, and a reluctant peloton rider.

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