How To Conquer Self-Doubt In Your Career

By Zach Seybert
In April 11, 2018

Have you ever been sitting in a meeting listening to your colleagues speak and been envious of how smart they are? You start to wonder how you even got your job because you are nowhere near their level intellectually and set a goal to continue learning your craft. While you might aspire to be as smart as them, thinking you aren’t already smart could be the first inkling of self-doubt creeping into your mind regarding your job performance.

Our friends over at the VIKTRE Career Network published an article by professional athlete turned entrepreneur, author and speaker Malcolm Lemmons. The article, titled “6 Ways to Overcome Self-Doubt to Help Your Job Search,” highlights the fact that everybody, at some point or another, doubts themselves and their abilities in certain situations both personally and professionally. While this article focuses on the job search, which can be a demoralizing experience at times, doubting yourself does not stop once you get a job.

There will always be people that have skills or knowledge in other areas or are “smarter” than you, because after all, “if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.” While it is easy to abide by that mantra, it is hard to avoid thoughts of self-doubt creeping into your mind regarding where you stand at work.

Although this happens throughout our careers, there are some ways to conquer these feelings of self-doubt that can be applied to both your personal and professional life. In an article for TheMuse, Richard Moy wants you to remember three things when you start feeling this way:

You’re Your Own Biggest Critic

Whether you are a self-proclaimed perfectionist or just really hard on yourself, you will drive yourself crazy if you constantly dwell on things you could have done better. While “striving for greatness” a la LeBron James is not necessarily a bad thing, constantly questioning your abilities can have a negative effect on your life.

To help take some stress off your shoulders, Moy suggests taking a page out of his own book. He reserves some time each week to review all the positive feedback that he has gotten over the last few days. You can go through emails with bosses or colleagues that say how great of a job you have done, or take notes of conversations you have had. Find a way to focus on the positives and you will ultimately be happier.

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Everyone Makes Mistakes

Although you might think that it is the end of the world when you make a mistake at work, it usually is not. The best thing, if there is one, about making a mistake is that it can be seen as a learning experience. Although it may seem like some people are perfect all the time, it is key to remember that they are still human, and an intrinsic part of being human is that we make mistakes.

If you are constantly worried that you are going to make a mistake while you are at work, and the possible repercussions if you do, chances are you will end up doing just that. It is similar to an athlete constantly playing in a culture of fear. He or she is scared to make a mistake because the coach will yell at or bench them, so they do not play to the best of their ability and ultimately end up making that mistake.

You Wouldn’t Have Been Hired If You Weren’t Smart, Too

At the end of the day, you were hired for a reason. If the company did not think you were smart or capable enough to do the job at hand, they would not have offered you the position. If you are really doubting yourself and wondering if you are really cut out for the role, schedule a time to speak with your boss and ask what he or she thinks you could improve upon. Once you get that feedback, take classes to gain more knowledge or become certified in certain components of your industry. By always being open to learning, you will prove to be more valuable to your boss and company as a whole.

Wrap Up

There are times throughout our careers when we question whether we are good enough at our job. Whether you feel that you aren’t learning anything new, or maybe that you aren’t an asset to the company, you’re not alone. Whenever you start feeling this self-doubt, remember these three things to recognize your worth.

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Zach is a Digital Content and Marketing Specialist with NexGoal, who specializes in creating career transition and job search preparation content.