In the current climate of fast paced change, uncertainty, volatility, disruption and innovation, self-doubt is becoming a big issue for people. We ask ourselves, “Am I good enough to transition into this new role, can I learn the new program or the new software, is my job at risk from Artificial Intelligence, can I adapt to this change, am I too old, too young, too inexperienced for this role” and so on.
Self-doubt is defined as the lack of confidence in our own abilities. It can make you overcompensate because you always have this nagging feeling of not being good enough or of being a fake.
Self-doubt can hold you back in your career and your job prospects. It can impair your performance in the workplace, and you can self-sabotage your chances of success. Often self-doubt will manifest in your nonverbal communication, signalling to others that you lack confidence.
Here are three common themes to avoid, as they have the effect of enhancing your self-doubt.
1. Comparing yourself to others.
For example, we may believe we cannot do something and when we analyse these thoughts, they are usually associated with comparing ourselves with someone else. We see those people who are fast learners, embrace new technology, pivot and change quickly and we run a thought pattern of not being as good as the others we work with or associate with. Therefore we doubt our own ability and skills.
2. Fixation on a particular outcome.
The fixation on a single and fixed outcome can paralyse us with fear of failure. We have all heard of paralysis analysis. The risk is that we close ourselves off to opportunities that may come our way. Perfectionism is one form of paralysis and we never launch or try anything new, because we are not yet perfect, and we know we can do better. Sometimes we cannot control the outcome and we need to accept that and recognise that we can only do the best we can.
3. Feeling like an Imposter.
Imposter syndrome is more prevalent in women than in men and is associated with successful, high achieving people who dismiss their success to luck. Good luck, good timing, knowing someone who helped you, and being at the right place at the right time is rarely the main reason for someone’s success. If you run with an imposter syndrome thought pattern, then you will continue to experience self-doubt as your career progresses.
Being aware of these three common sources of self-doubt enables you to self-regulate, take responsibility for any negative patterns of criticism and putting yourself down and increase self-confidence confidence.