Ready for More? Dealing with Self Doubting Thoughts...

Swing chair with cushions on a terrace and the words 'Self Love' above it
Photo by Content Pixie / Unsplash

Supercharge your Self Esteem and Rise with Confidence for Greater Responsibilities!

If you've been successful in your role to date you may be feeling ready for more - but how do you go about seeking promotion when crippling self doubts get in the way? Here at Confidence Collaborative we want to help you rise with confidence for greater responsibilities by tackling those doubts head on!

Perhaps there is an opportunity coming up that and maybe the thought of selling yourself at interview fills you with dread?  Or you may already be comparing yourself negatively to your peers, before you've even applied.  Sometimes it can feel safer to rule ourselves out before we even start but this can ultimately lead to self-sabotage, resentment and even worse self-criticism.  So how can you change the narrative and set yourself up better for success?  

There is lots to say on this topic - and it's one we will come back to often in CC Club, but before we go any further, there is one particularly useful piece of information that is worth remembering

You are NOT your thoughts!

Just because you think crippling negative thoughts sometimes does not mean they are true.  It is very common for people even in very high positions of power to have feelings of 'imposter syndrome' - a sense that you are not good enough and may be 'found out'. You are a competent, wonderful, complex human being able to learn how to handle new challenges and grow into a new role!

Sometimes there might be evidence that we do our job well, that we are liked, respected and capable - and yet we still don't feel the truth of that on the inside.   Our thoughts are not always accurate!  

Catch the Thought!

One important step you can use to deal with obsessive negative thinking is to 'catch' the thought - notice it, identify and label it.  

Simply acknowledging that you had a negative thought helps you to recognise the difference between you (sometimes referred to as the higher self), and the thoughts you think.  Scientific research suggests we have  thousands of thoughts every day.  Not all of them are useful or true!  And we can - and regularly do - choose which of these thoughts to entertain and act upon.  So how might we do this?

  • For each self critical statement that goes through your mind, try speaking it out loud and/or writing it down.
  • Listen to your tone. Is this something you would say to a friend
  • What might you say instead?
  • Identify the thought for what it is... is it a pure insult? Or it may be an exaggeration perhaps?
  • Recognise the thought for the fear-based interruption that is is, and go ahead and take action anyway.

For example, you might read an exciting role description and then tell yourself:  Yes, but you don't have enough experience to do that role!

Step back and catch the thought.  Ask yourself, is this a truth or a lie? Or a niggle of doubt? Perhaps an exaggeration? It may be a simple insult - sometimes we are very unkind to ourselves! Or it may be a niggle of worry about the enormity of what the role entails.

If we simply allow all negative thoughts to stop us in our tracks and gain free reign on our prospects, we might never move forward! Instead - think the thought, but recognise it for the fear-based interruption that it is, and go ahead and take appropriate action anyway.

So, now that you have identified the thought, it is time to decide what to do about it...

You may have some experience but a little less than requested. Is there a genuine question that you need to ask the hiring manager - to clarify how much experience is expected?  If so, do it!  You will be making a more informed application by finding out, or you may identify a suitable next step to build up the experience.

It could be that you actually have genuine worries about the level of responsibility you'd be taking on and may need to explore further exactly what is expectated of you? If so, find out as much as you can so as to alleviate unnecessary fears, identify options for managing the new responsibilities and make a better, more informed decision about whether to apply.  

If you find on reflection that it is just telling yourself a nasty untruth or exaggeration, you can choose to override it by applying anyway and proving yourself wrong!  

The more you do this, the more evidence you will build up of what is possible, and the quieter those self doubting thoughts will become!

Full members of the Confident Career Club will find a new tool to help journal those thoughts in the membership.

Maggie and Joanne