We all fall into the trap of doubting ourselves sometimes, but have you ever considered that these thought patterns may be hurting your career growth? Negative self-talk will do nothing but hinder you anywhere in life, and your career is one place that will suffer the most from it. Here are three different ways you may be unconsciously self-sabotaging on the job – and even more things you can do to combat these mental traps.
Think about all the times you may have set yourself back in your career because you doubted yourself. Have you ever backed out of applying for a job because you were worried you wouldn’t get it? Maybe your skill set is better than you think, or maybe they didn’t get a high number of qualified applicants and you would’ve stood out. Do you have a tendency to refuse to speak up in team meetings because you don’t think your ideas are good enough? Maybe your idea could’ve done even better than the one your employer went with. The point is: you won’t know if you don’t try.
These negative thought patterns are hard to break out of, but it’s important to try – I guarantee you’re a better employee than you give yourself credit for! Whenever you catch yourself crippled by self-doubt, remind yourself that it’s your brain’s assessment of yourself and the situation – not the truth – and you need to give yourself a chance. After all, the worst that could happen is you get rejected from a job opportunity (which happens to even the best of us!) or your boss moves forward with a different idea. But without giving yourself a chance, there’s no way of knowing how much you could succeed.
2. Comparing Yourself to Others
Another form of self-doubt is comparing yourself to other people. This may be higher-up employees at your workplace, friends of yours who’ve made it further in your field than you, or even people you follow on social media. Whoever it is, you need to remember that their personal career journey has no bearing on yours – you’re an independent person and no two career pathways are going to look the same. Your higher-ups have been in the field longer than you, your friends in your field may have found different opportunities, and the people you follow on social media aren’t highlighting the hardships that they’ve been through, only the positives.
All you need to do is learn to focus on yourself – keep your eyes off others, unplugging from social media, if need be, and try to advance your career the best you can. If possible, you can even reach out to the people you’re envious of and ask for tips on how they made it!
3. Imposter Syndrome
Imposter syndrome is yet another form of self-doubt, but the people who struggle with it are often high-achieving people who do not believe they deserve the opportunities that they’ve been given. Oftentimes, imposter syndrome leads to self-sabotage: passing on opportunities you’re offered or refusing to ask for better opportunities. Even if your imposter syndrome doesn’t take you to these places, it still may cost you opportunities without you knowing, as people with imposter syndrome tend to lack confidence in their workplace, leading to more mistakes and missed chances.
Every time you catch yourself having feelings of inadequacy, try to remind yourself that you wouldn’t have gotten this job if you weren’t qualified – employers don’t tend to take chances on random people, especially for high-up positions. If that’s a struggle for you to do, consider the thought that you still have this amazing opportunity, and you need to do the best with it you can. Use this chance to prove yourself to yourself!
In short, remember to be kind to yourself throughout your career journey. If you ever find your thoughts wandering too deep in a negative direction, try your best to re-route them. It may be hard to do at first, and you may just continue to think you’re lying to yourself, but negative thinking isn’t cured overnight. Keep reminding yourself you’re good enough and that you deserve all your opportunities and continue to work hard. You’ll build your confidence up soon, and you’ll deserve it!
Need some guidance on your career journey? Book a Virtual Career Meeting with Style Nine to Five founder, Christie Lohr!
Emily Morrison is a media professional with passions for writing, film and popular culture.
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