Doubting yourself is often the beginning of self-discovery. It's certainty safe and comfortable, but you achieve greater levels of success when you accept change and explore the unfamiliar. To be a good leader, you have to manage self-doubt and use your inner critic to make productive decisions. The next time you start doubting yourself, follow these tips to silence negative feelings and overcome your fear of failure.
1. Confront Your Worst Fear
No matter how successful you are, you can still feel like an impostor who's just getting by at work. A common downside of praise is the tendency to question whether everyone else is overestimating your skills. The pressure to achieve good results over and over again can make you second-guess your worth. Not to mention, it's a natural reaction to bottle up anxiety when you're afraid of losing respect from peers.
Sometimes, letting your worst fear play out is the best way to stop doubting yourself. You're usually your biggest critic, and you may see weaknesses and limitations where others only see strength and confidence. Consider the worst thing that can happen if you admit you don't have all the answers. What are the consequences of asking for help? No one really expects you to know everything all the time, and showing vulnerability lets your team know you value their insights and strive to learn from them.
2. Reinforce Your Values
Personal values help you define your priorities, and they can get you back on track when you keep hitting the same roadblock. Think about the emotions you experience when doubting yourself. Do you feel afraid? Panicked? Guilty? Angry? Stressed? Reflect on positive decisions you made in the past and how your values shaped those choices.
Once you tap into the forces driving you, it's easier to figure out if your current path aligns with your goals. When you frequently feel angry or guilty about your leadership decisions, you may be fighting against your values. On the other hand, constant fear and stress may be signs that you're taking on too much responsibility and should trust in your peers more. Decide what's important to you as a leader, and change how you react to self-doubt to better serve your goals.
3. Ask More Questions
Doubting yourself makes you prone to thinking in absolutes. You back yourself into a corner by believing you can't succeed, aren't smart enough, don't have the right skills or lack good ideas. Few situations are cut and dry. Looking at each element of a problem can help you navigate around self-doubt and find a solution.
Let's say you feel nervous about being picked to lead a project. Instead of giving in to self-defeating thoughts, ask yourself the following questions: What motivated your boss to choose you? How have your past experiences prepared you for this moment? Why are you doubting yourself? Answering the first two questions enables you to view yourself from the perspectives of people you respect. By the time you get to "why," you start realizing your doubts are unfounded.
Fear of failure can be crippling if you let it shape your mentality. Doubting yourself is a normal part of moving forward, so you should get comfortable with confronting fear if you want to advance in your career.
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