Katie’s boss stops by her office. “What was the difference in annual revenues for Singer Financial in 2014 vs. 2015?” Katie has no clue off the top of her head, but she has two choices:  she can either look blankly at her manager (with her direct reports listening outside) OR give a confident answer! “That’s a great question, Nancy, let me have John pull the data for us and get back to you.” A successful woman doesn’t always know the answers, but she does always stash a few tricks up her elegant sleeves!

1) Communicate with confidence

In moments of doubt, hang on to a few powerful answers to avoid saying “I don’t know.” Katie’s skillful save works so well because successful women don’t worry about how things look, it’s about getting the job done! It is okay to tell your boss or coworker that you need time to deliver. If you find yourself empty handed, simply say, “I don’t have the information in front of me, but this will be my takeaway from the meeting.”

2) Don’t be afraid to ask questions

As women, when we feel lost, instead of looking outwards for the information we often spiral into a blame-shame game; feeding our insecurity about not being “smart enough”. Instead, try paying attention to your body and inner thoughts. Neha was at a panel discussion and the topic of discussion was lost on her. When she started to feel uncomfortable, she did what successful women do:  She put her hand up and interrupted the cycle. She knew all she needed was to ask a clarifying question to get back on track. Not surprisingly, she also found she was not the only person in the room at sea.

3) Be prepared, put in the hours

Janice was nervous before her final interview at a prestigious firm that would not only catapult her career, but also pull her out of financial debt. The more she thought about what was at stake, the more anxious she felt. But finally, Janet decided she’d had enough, put on her prepping hat, and got to work. Ultimately the only way to get over not knowing enough is to do something about it! She researched, talked to her contacts, practiced answers and got the information she needed. Successful women like Janice are not afraid to put in the hard work and preparation to find their way out of a tough situation.

4) Identify the experts

Sometimes the situation may call for an expert opinion, a specialist in the field. A successful woman is self-aware and realizes when she needs to get some support. Acknowledging that every diet she has tried has failed was Esmerelda’s first step towards getting healthier. She was then able to take a logical approach and enlist the help of a certified nutritionist to show her the way out.

5) Nowhere to go? Try inside

Sometimes, that expert is yourself! There are certain questions only we can answer for ourselves. A successful woman knows when to take some time out for introspection. Going to a quiet space to think can allow a solution to rise from within. Guide yourself with self-reflection and journaling. It is a powerful practice.


There are many times in our lives that we don’t know where to go and we don’t have the answers. It is important to accept that this is alright, that we don’t need to feel bad about it, start guessing or making things up to cover it up. The successful woman knows how to communicate confidently, request time, do the research, reflect and maintain her integrity.

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This article was first published on www.womenworking.com/profile/leena-roy/