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Stop Doubting Yourself at Work. Here's How!

September 20, 2023

The mind is a fickle beast. It can motivate us and even deter us from growth.

But all too often, many professionals find themselves doubting their abilities. Some of us even have negative thoughts that sway us from pursuing what we want in our careers.

“Am I smart enough? I can’t possibly do this. Do people understand me? I’m not ready to take this on. I’m going to fail. I’ll never get promoted.”

These sentiments and more can cripple ambitions and the execution of dreams. If you find yourself doubting your abilities, now is the time to be encouraged. Remember, the age-old adage: “You can do anything you put your mind to.”

If you’re ready to put an end to self-doubt at work, here are four things you can do to put your mind at ease.

Embrace self-doubt

Self-doubt is normal. And it’s incredibly human, too. Feel assured that you’re not the only one experiencing this dilemma. You will also be surprised to discover that a bit of self-doubt from time to time is healthy. In fact, the most successful people continually question themselves.

Despite its bad rep, self-doubt can lead to deeper thinking. Properly managed, self-doubt can also boost performance, combat complacency, improve results and foster innovation. Tapping into our second order of thinking is okay, but self-doubt isn’t beneficial when we sabotage our chances of success.

Focus on what you’re good at

It’s okay to have doubt but be sure not to let doubt overwhelm what you think of yourself.

To minimize negative thoughts, it’s important to prioritize what we can be confident about. As humans, we all have weaknesses and strengths. Often, we can find solace by focusing on the things we're good at.

If you don’t know your strengths, take time to ask a trusted peer for their opinion. You can also recall positive feedback you’ve heard in the past. Once you’ve identified your strong suits, make a point to build or showcase them. Utilizing your strengths at work should feel natural and easy. If you think counter to that, make positive steps toward relieving harsh feelings.

Work on the things you’re insecure about

While avoidance of self-doubt might seem like the easiest path to take, it can hurt you in the long run. It’s never a good idea to let self-doubt fester into obstacles and negative behaviors that hinder our growth or performance. As we mentioned before, it’s essential to embrace self-doubt. It’s even in your best interest to tackle the very things that cause it. Our growth depends on it.

Are you nervous about meeting new people? Do you find yourself counting yourself out?

Work on whatever issues your self-doubt is rooted in and make a plan to grow confident in these areas. Overcoming these areas is essential to help eliminate the self-doubt that often sabotages us from pursuing our desires.

When making a game plan, be sure to identify the root fear and create opportunities that help you overcome your insecurities. For example, if you’re uneasy about leading a team during an effort, your root fear might be assuming more responsibility. To help overcome this fear, one could consider asking management to take on small additional tasks that a leader would normally execute to grow more confident in their abilities one task at a time.

Regardless of the scenario, you can always do internal introspection to identify the root fears behind self-doubt and the small tasks that can help build your self-esteem. All it takes is embracing self-doubt and doing your best to overcome the fears that make you question yourself.

Celebrate failures and wins

It’s additionally important to remember that conquering self-doubt is a journey, not a race. There will be ups and downs. That’s why you mustn’t forget to celebrate your failures and wins. After all, there’s always a lesson to be learned.

While working to overcome self-doubt, give yourself credit for the progress you’ve made when you successfully tackle an obstacle that hinders you from self-actualization. Vice versa, be sure to acknowledge failures positively by examining what you did well and what can be improved on in the process of overcoming fear at work.

By looking through this lens, you’ll be able to work harder on the areas that trouble you with more constructive insight from previous experiences. You’ll also be able to lead with the strengths you know you already have.

Use self-doubt for its hidden power—self-reflection. The fear of failure is empowering. Knowing what scares us only helps identify the things we want the most.

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