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How to Manage Self-Doubt and Advance Your Career

shutterstock_158445290Do you ever notice those people who seem to have “it” all figured out? They are confident when speaking in meetings or in front of large groups. People who seem to always have an intelligent comment to add or are frequently called upon when a decision has to be made?

I notice people like this all the time and I envy them. I envy them for the way others, myself included, elevate them in our minds. I envy them because everything seems to come just a little bit easier. I wonder what it would be like to have the answers available at a moments notice, just waiting there for someone to ask the question.

Do you sometimes find yourself in a social group conversation or business meeting just staring at that person in awe (not literally…that would be creepy!) and wondering how they do it? Are they just that much smarter than me? Is there some active gene in their genetic code that has somehow been left dormant in my own DNA?

In all honesty, I feel this way, to some extent, about 99% of the people I interact with, both in social and business settings. I always have, and at times it has held me back from things I wanted to achieve. I feel it even as I write these words and when I publish a new post. Yet I continue to publish!

Its my inferiority complex and if you struggle with this, even just a little, then you know just how debilitating it can be.

Recognizing Your Insecurities

Now, I am not saying that we barricade ourselves in our homes, isolated from society (although sometimes that is tempting!), and maybe the term “complex” is a touch dramatic, but however the severity, it is something we have to internally manage in our own way. This is also not to be confused with a lack of confidence.

The truth is, at one point or another, even the most seemingly confident people grapple with some form of insecurity or phobia – to a varying degree – the difference is that some of us are able to manage our emotions more effectively than others.

In many cases our insecurities can serve as a motivator or incentive in achieving our goals both personal and professional. Maybe we are driven to overcompensate in an attempt to prove something to ourselves and others or achieve some level of affirmation. Regardless of our individual reasoning, if it works why question it!

How Our Insecurities Affect Our Careers

So you are probably wondering why I am writing about this in the first place? What does self doubt, social phobia, or fear of spiders (sorry, I suffer from this also!) have to do with career advancement or Quality Management for that matter?

Well, if you strive to progress in your career and continue down a path of professional achievement, you are going to have to take chances and walk through some spider webs. You are going to have to come out of your shell and network with people that you may feel intimidated by. Remember those confident people with the special genetics I mentioned earlier? By the way, let me share a little secret, these people don’t have all the answers either!

Sure, some may have a more advanced academic pedigree or experience on a given subject. Instead of intimidation, strive to learn from their knowledge and experience. You would be surprised how open and willing most people are in sharing their knowledge with someone who displays genuine interest. You may also find that you have something of value to offer in return.

Working in quality management has its own set of challenges as well, but its those challenges that make for exciting and gratifying work. You must deal with different types of personalities and be able to challenge someone’s point of view. Not for the sake of provoking a disagreement or to be argumentative, but to reach the root of a problem or to continuously improve a process that has shown signs of becoming ineffective or impractical.

You will be required to ask questions that others may not want to be asked because it challenges the “status Quo”. The benefits that come out of these difficult questions and discussions are extremely valuable.

Managing Self Doubt and Using it as a Motivator

Now, I realise at this point I am supposed to offer up some wisdom on “How to Overcome Insecurity Once and For All!”, or “5 Steps to Eliminate Self Doubt Forever!” The truth is, I don’t believe there is a cure or step by step method to silencing our inner dialogue. The key is in recognising and accepting these insecurities for what they are and developing ways in which to manage and even utilise them to our advantage.

Here are some recommendations to manage insecurity and self doubt and move forward with your career development:

  1. Recognize: Take note of your inner dialogue and identify your fears when it comes to advancing your career or taking uncharted steps into new territory. What exactly do you find unnerving when dealing with people.
  2. Accept: Once you have identified your insecurities you can start to understand and accept them for what they are and determine the methods that work best for you in order to see past them.
  3. Utilize:Put these insecurities and feelings of self doubt to work in a positive way and use them as incentive to achieve your goals. I recognised early on that I had a fear of speaking in groups because I was certain that someone smarter than me would call me out. So instead of shying away,  I put myself in situations where I would have to speak. That exhilarating feeling of success you get after completing something you find difficult is a powerful motivator. This fear never truly goes away but you can learn to accept and manage it effectively.

So now I would like to hear from you. What are some of your inner struggles when it comes to advancing your career? How have you learned to overcome or manage your insecurities, phobias or internal roadblocks?  Leave a comment or send me a message with your thoughts. I would love to hear from you!

This Post Has One Comment
  1. Hi Greg,

    Thanks for typing out a good read for us who are facing difficulties in terms of self doubting.

    I for one am in a situation whereby I have been rejected from potential companies where I have applied for jobs. The one that hit me hard was from an interview with a project manager and he was relentless in pointing out how unqualified I am and how incompetent I am in the engineering field.

    A little background, I am working as an development engineer in a research and development company. I am a Chemical Engineering Degree holder and have been working in this company for 3 and half years. as for what I see, I have been too engross in the work I had done in this company to know that there was no light at the end of the road. currently we are unable to sell a single project and there were no positive feeding from potential clients.

    I have been trying to get a job in different fields such as Oil and Gas but to no avail. I have applied hundreds of jobs and I fear that my confidence has taken a blow since I have not secured any potential jobs. To add insult to injury, my current company decided to double my pay (to secure me i guess) and I am now in a dilemma due to the fact that I could not find a job with the same remuneration or at least better. I do not have the skills to be in a senior position and yet I am earning much higher. I do not see a future in this current company and I fear that I am “trapped” with the income I have.

    As this is my first job, I do not know whether a pay cut is logical if I were to secure another job.

    I will find a way out. I hope to be successful one day but definitely not at the situation I am currently in.

    Thanks again for the article.

    Kind regards,
    Dexter

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