How to Overcome Self-Doubt and Become a Pro?

Each of you must have heard an inner voice whispering: “You will not succeed,” “You are not good enough,” “People around you are much more successful.” The fear of failure and self-doubt prevent you from making decisions, working more efficiently, and achieving more. How to cope with self-doubt and finally take the career in your own hands?

When Joan Rowling tried to publish the novel Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, twelve publishers rejected the manuscript of the book. Rowling thought for a long time whether it would be better for her to get the usual position of a clerk and give up the dreams to write children’s books. We know perfectly well that she has not yielded to her doubts. Actress Natalie Portman suffers from the “impostor syndrome,” which more than 70% of people face, according to statistics. She often thinks that she does not deserve her own success. Even when she entered the Department of Psychology at Harvard, she believed that pure luck rather than her own mind and hard work had helped her.

Such examples are widespread: Hollywood stars, executives of large companies, and simple office workers suffer from complexes and fears. Moreover, women experience negative consequences much more often than men. Studies show that women tend to underestimate their results and achievements at work, are more self-critical and less likely to argue or compete. For example, a survey by Hewlett Packard showed that women usually start asking for promotions only when their qualifications are 100% higher than the desired position. For men, it is enough to know that they meet the vacancy requirements by only 60%.

Many leaders talk about how to overcome psychological barriers. Here are some guidelines to help you stop being afraid and take action.

Stop rating yourself

Studying at a school or university is in the past, and you are still mentally giving yourself grades for appearance, the work done, and the days spent. American professor of psychology Carol Dweck talks about her experiment on changing the rating system. Instead of “fail”, she began to grade her students’ tests as “not yet”. Thus, she hinted that, with due diligence, the student would definitely get through the next time. It worked – the students increased their motivation and the ability to succeed. Try to apply the method to yourself: even if you make a mistake, do not scold yourself, but believe in your own strength and think about how you can improve your performance in the future.

Get out of your comfort zone

If the work suits you, but has become too routine (and boring) and no longer brings you pleasure, you can change it. In almost every company, you can find an interesting project outside the zone of your typical functionality and join it. Try to find out exactly how your organization can motivate you or help you develop some useful skills (most probably, you have additional master classes, trainings, continuing education courses, assistance programs for those in need, and so on).

Ask questions

The manager tells you to make a report, but does not go into details, and you are embarrassed to ask about them. As a result, you can’t approach the task for a long time. Remember: curiosity is your best friend, and shyness is your worst enemy. Do not be afraid to ask your manager and colleagues about anything, if you do not have the necessary information. Firstly, filling in the “blank spots” will help you do your job better. Secondly, it develops your communication skills. Thirdly, you have a chance to build your reputation as a caring and motivated person. The main thing is that the questions should be relevant and well-considered, rather than typical and the ones you could grasp on your own.

Empathize with other people

Entrepreneur and economist Seth Godin in his book “Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?” writes that companies may not appreciate the employees who are willing to work overtime or have more experience in the industry. The most coveted employee is the person who knows how to build relationships with the team and customers. It is very important to develop the ability to understand other people and empathize with their feelings. This is one of the key qualities of not just a good person, but also a leader. Picturing yourself in the shoes of your boss, colleagues, or contractors, you will understand how best to communicate with them. This advice has one more advantage: gradually, you will learn to look at yourself from aside and abstract from your complexes.

Do not wait for a sign from above

Business trainer Srikumar Rao, author of Happiness at Work, says too many of us talk about our lives in the “if” tone. “If I were promoted,” “If my managers were smarter and offered me a bigger incentive,” “If my colleagues were more competent”… Such an approach is just a way to relieve yourself of responsibility. In fact, all the restrictions exist only in your head; nothing is impossible. Set a goal and be ready to make efforts to achieve it – without waiting for better circumstances.

There are a few more valuable recommendations:

  • Be active and consistent
  • Never be late (politeness and punctuality are the key to success)
  • Work enthusiastically and calculate the result two steps ahead
  • Set high goals (and believe that they will come true)
  • Show friendliness and express your interest in the affairs of colleagues and the company as a whole
  • Set priorities correctly and allocate your time correctly
  • Learn to work in a team and be responsible for the entire project (and not just for your area of responsibility).
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