Several years ago I met a woman (I'll call her Jane) who had difficulty carrying on a conversation with more than one or two people at a time. Even when directly asked for her opinion, she was reluctant to share her thoughts.

One day Jane's life changed in an instant when her daughter was killed by a drunk driver. Within months of her daughter's death, Jane transformed from an insecure, withdrawn, soft-spoken woman to a confident, powerful, and assertive public speaker, taking every opportunity she could find to deliver her impassioned message. It became her life's work to heighten awareness about the dangers of underage drinking and drunk driving.

Jane found power in her purpose.

Learning about Jane's transformational experience caused me to ask myself some questions: What causes one woman to exude confidence and another to lack it? How do women build confidence?

Experience has taught me that often those seeking to feed their egos struggle with self-confidence. Paradoxically, it is those who show up as servant leaders—keeping the focus on how to serve others—who naturally build self-confidence. They also become powerful and transformational leaders. Working for personal gain erodes self-confidence.

I grew up with a perfectionist for a father and learned at an early age that if I did certain things perfectly, I could win his approval. As I got older, I recognized the destructive pattern I had created by becoming an "approval junkie." The more I tried to feed my ego by winning the approval of others, the worse I felt. Eventually I realized that it didn't matter what others thought of me nearly as much as what I thought of myself.

Anytime I base my self-worth on someone else's opinion of me, I am at risk of losing, because I'll never be able to please everyone. Self-worth and confidence are close cousins.

Let's revisit Jane's story. By taking the focus off herself (ego) and investing her energy into helping others (servant leadership) while connecting with her passion, she rapidly transformed her own life and has made a huge positive difference in the lives of countless others.

As one who used to seek the approval of others to find social proof of my own value, I have come to learn that it does not matter how many opportunities we are given or how much recognition we receive. If we don't feel confident inside, we will never tap into our full potential. Although our educational systems and traditional business models often erode confidence, as network marketing professionals we have an incredible opportunity to foster this confidence factor as we show up in service to others.

It's important to note the distinction between servant leadership and being a slave to what others want and expect you to do. Your activities and your schedule are determined by you, based on your own priorities. Know your why and stay focused on it. Carl Jung once said, "Your visions will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens."

If you are ready to step into your own power and passion, ask yourself these questions:

What is my purpose? One way to tap into this is to do some journal writing. Do a joy review and write about those times when you were happiest.

What is my ideal vision of how I will manifest my purpose? It's hard to get what you want if you don't know what it is or why it's important. Visualize what you want as if it has already happened. The more vivid your vision, the more real it becomes.

What am I thinking? As doubts come up, notice them. What would be the opposite of that feeling that would make you feel good? Think a better "feeling" thought. Surround yourself with positive people. Read books that help you be in a thought-form of positivity. Listen to positive CDs in your car instead of the negative news on the radio.

What do I believe? Until you can consciously acknowledge what belief you have about a situation, you cannot let go of it. Examine your beliefs and ask, "Who would I be without that belief?" Choose to let go of beliefs that do not serve you.

What is my #1 goal? Where do you see yourself in five to ten years—in your marriage, business/career, family, finances, spiritual life, health, and anything else important to you—if you continue doing what you're doing and being who you're being right now? Your answers to that question will help you get clear about what you do and do not want.

This profession is a perfect fit for women because it thrives on utilizing skills that women are born with. Women love to build community and make connections. Add passion and purpose and you have a recipe for huge success. When you show up and make a difference with who you are by tapping into the power of your own purpose, there is no glass ceiling!

Ultimately it does not matter how much wealth, fame, or power we gain. What matters is how we improve the lives of others, what kind of difference we make. That is the legacy that will live on even after we are gone.

Imagine a world where every man, woman, and child has all their basic needs met; where we build succcessful businesses that are based on servant leadership, love, cooperation, and mutual respect. We have an incredible opportunity to be part of changing humanity. We provide the path to freedom!

My boldest dream is to free millions of people from lives of limitation, helping them to achieve financial and lifestyle freedom while sharing their gifts and talents in a way that makes their hearts sing. n

KATHY PAAUW is a productivity consultant,
business coach, author, speaker, singer,
and top team-builder in her network
marketing company. Kathy is the author of
The Music
of Your Heart: Freedom to Live the Life of
Your Dreams through Network Marketing.