Self-doubt can be a killer. You know the feeling. You need to tackle a new project and instantly you begin to wonder if you’re capable enough, good enough, smart enough. The feeling can spiral out of control and along the process your confidence is left bruised and prone to even more self-doubt. Stop!
Here are seven simple steps to help you avoid the self-doubt funk.
1. Own it - Ownership is the first step. It is okay if you don’t have the confidence of a super hero - don’t concentrate on that. Realize that the project or task at hand is yours, and yours only, so own it.
2. Feel the fear - Find the uncomfortable spot. Is there a particular part of the project/task that makes you uneasy or uncomfortable? This is probably what is fueling the self-doubt. Define what that is, even if it’s the entire endeavor. Now move to step 3.
3. Ask for Help - This is a given, yet so many of us fail to do it. Attend workshops, coordinate a pow-wow/think session with your team or email a colleague/friend. Ask and always give credit where credit is due.
4. Use social media - Look into LinkedIn and Facebook for professional groups in your industry. Join these groups, participate and ask questions. Extra hint: If you’re a Twitter person, check out Twitter chats in your industry. This article outlines 20 Twitter Chats worth checking out.
5. Read, read and keep reading - Ask your colleagues and friends about the type of blogs they read on a daily basis and connect these sites to an aggregator like Google Reader. Also, ask about case studies, white papers, etc.
6. Strategize - Write your strategy (your plan of action) and add on and adjust continuously. Understand that you are not going to create the golden strategy during your first try, and that’s okay. One step at a time right?
7. Stop comparing yourself to others - Doing so won’t allow you to see your capabilities and wins (big and small). Don’t fall into this trap and stop focusing on he/she/they. Celebrate your victories and growth, and keep moving forward.
Self-doubt may linger and show its weakening force within any level of your professional life – student, young professional, business owner, etc. This self-doubt and fear is when you are outside your comfort zone and where real change can happen. If you have the passion and curiosity, and most importantly the drive to push past insecurities, it can actually act as a driving force and take you a long way. It’s easy to reach a comfortable level within any profession, so purposely look for those uncomfortable spots. Are they hindering from your next fabulous project or milestone? See if you can make the uncomfortable spots manageable. And manageable doesn’t mean doing it half-assed. Remember, you don’t have to love every aspect of your project or job, but you do have to perform at your highest level.
The goal is to start small, very small and then celebrate the small wins and keep growing. Cocktails and wine are completely optional, but self-doubt doesn’t have to be.