Boss Lady

13 tips to deal with self-doubt


Do you suffer from self-doubt — that secret lack of confidence in yourself and your abilities that could be undermining your work and even your business behaviour and personal brand?

Self-doubt is the nagging secret doubt that can do damage, even when you are competent, skilled and intelligent.

Yes, it’s hard to overcome self-doubt, but the benefits far outweigh any effort you have to make to gain confidence and raise your self-esteem at the same time.

1. Move forward in small steps

Overcoming fears or uncertainties take time and don’t happen overnight. Sometimes it helps to seek professional advice from a therapist or counselor, but you can easily take the steps yourself.

For example, if you wanted to conquer a fear of grasshoppers (yes, it’s a thing), you would be counseled to start by looking at pictures of them.

The same strategy can apply to fears attached to trying to move up in your career, so you could set yourself small goals in the workplace, like asking your boss for more responsibilities around the office or on work projects.

By setting goals that you can achieve within a shorter time frame, like a day or a week, you can conquer the fear in small steps – and they will also get you into rhythm to work more efficiently and practically.

2. Get feedback from people you trust

Getting feedback isn’t always fun. Sometimes the most constructive feedback can be the most critical. The key is seeking feedback from somebody you trust – and whose opinions you trust.

Try to seek out somebody in business who you know has the experience to give you good feedback, and the integrity to make it honest, trustworthy feedback. The worst feedback you can ever get is insincere flattery – it’s not going to help you grow.

If the feedback is criticism, take it as a gift pointing you in a better direction. Feedback is a vital part of our working life because it helps us know how we are doing and where we may need help improving. Making those improvements will help banish self-doubt.

3. Be careful with setting goals

While it’s great to set high goals for professional, or personal reasons, something you won’t want to do is set ones that you can’t reach or that might turn into mistakes, especially in the beginning of your career.

What might be a good idea, is to set smaller, more achievable goals that show what kind of person and worker you are and what you want to achieve. And in turn, you’ll be able to progress through company ranks because your boss will see the kind of worker you are.

Then you’ll be on track to achieve the serious goals you really want to achieve.

4. Find ways to hold yourself accountable

Holding yourself accountable when you make promises to those who work around you can help define you as a person and as a worker.

For example, if a co-worker has asked you for help on something they are working on because you have expert knowledge on the topic or you can put them in contact with someone else, make a point of following through and don’t just say ‘yes’ and then forget about it.

Knowing that you follow through on commitments is crucial for your personal brand – and your confidence.

5. Find mentors

Mentors are a great thing to have. They can take you under their wing, teach you things and generally guide you through various aspects of your career.

Additionally, mentors are also great for bouncing off ideas for work projects as you gain confidence in your job and yourself and can also help you work through any issues you might be having with the project or even in the office with colleagues.

6. Stop making excuses

Nobody likes an excuse-maker, especially in the business world. So if you make a mistake in the workplace, don’t run away from it — own it.

For example, if you make a mistake while working on a project, like misplacing key information, don’t fudge about it being at home or in the Ganges.

Just be honest about the fact that you have made a mistake and stop making excuses. Being honest about making a mistake won’t spell out the end of your career.

7. Beware of your close circle and surround yourself with the right people

The way you behave could be because of the way those around you behave.

Basically, if you spend a lot of time with co-workers or your closest friends, eventually, you may pick up come of their habits or ways of thinking and that can then affect your habits and ways of thinking.

So just be mindful of the fact that others can have a deeper influence over you than them telling you what to do.

Additionally, being around the right people can also affect you as a person and how you behave because it means that they are encouraging, supportive and are generally pushing you (in a good way) to do better.

So, by surrounding yourself with the ‘right people’, you are basically guaranteed to succeed and be the confident worker, team player and leader you want to be — and need to be.

8. Raise your self-awareness

Knowing how you think can go a long way to overcoming self-doubt.

By reflecting on past choices, you will develop a better understanding of the way you think and this, in turn, will affect your current way of thinking and you can even learn from past decisions by realizing how you could have done things differently.

Additionally, this can help you develop your self-confidence and esteem and improve the way you handle yourself in the future when dealing with decisions.

9. Stop asking for validation

You don’t need others to tell you what you should already know.

If you feel like you’ve done a really good job on a work project, then own it. You did do a good job and you shouldn’t have to ask others about it.

And if you frequently have to ask others how you are doing, then you might be in the wrong workplace or surrounded by the wrong people.

10. Stop worrying about what others think

No matter what you do in life, chances are, someone will have an opinion about you. And it might not be a good opinion either. But this doesn’t mean you have to let it bother you.

In your career, and life in general, one of the last things you’ll want to do is spend time worrying about what others think of you, basically because it is not worth your time.

So stop worrying because truly successful people just keep doing what they’re doing despite the negativity.

11. Be decisive but don’t fear a change of mind

Trial and error. Rehearsal. Dry run. Whatever you want to call it, it’s alright to change you’re mind about decisions, even if it’s still in the planning stage of a project.

By making sure that you know every possible outcome of all your ideas is a great way of checking that you make the right decision, especially in the planning stages of a project.

But no matter what stage of a project you are at, you should never be afraid to change your mind about the direction of the project or even just a small part of it.

12. Remind yourself of prior successes

One of the best things you can do to evaporate self-doubt – and secure future success — is reminding yourself of past success.

Looking back on past success will show you all the hard work you put in to achieve it. Which is what you need next time around.

So, if you’re worried about not doing a good job on a work project, don’t. if you’ve succeeded before, you’ll succeed again.

Additionally, this can go a long way to boosting your self-esteem and confidence when approaching the project.

13. Don’t hinge personal identity to instant success

Who you are is not immediate success. You are, however, the hard work and dedication behind the success.

So, while applause can be a good thing, don’t take more bows than you should and know when to walk away and get back to work.

Besides, instant success will not last and will also not guarantee you longevity in your career or field of work as a whole.

Hard work and humility are key.

Overcoming self-doubt will not be easy. But, if you really try, you can overcome it and become a successful and confident business-women who is able to leap any barrier and have a full, rewarding career.


About Rowena Nagy

Rowena Nagy is a Journalist at The Business Woman Media. A graduate in Journalism, Media and Communications, she is passionate about in writing, travel journalism, video journalism and Public Relations.

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