How to Cope with Self-Doubt in your Career

The task of succeeding in our careers can be overwhelming at times. In fact, career success today hasn’t turned out as many people expected. Some are already accustomed to failure and disappointment. Some can’t even tell where they started going wrong. And so, we’re left to wonder, what’s with the consistent career disappointments in people’s lives? Does it have to do with the state of our economies, insufficient governments or...

A world full of people caged in Self-doubt

As kids, anything was possible and I’m sure millennials can relate to this:

  • The career rule was simple... ’if you can dream it, you can achieve it’.
  • This belief made us entertain all sorts of lucrative career ambitions in our hearts and minds.
  • We were convinced back then that as long as we worked hard in school and passed exams, then the career world would be more than eager to embrace us.

But with time, we’ve come to realize that...

Our teachers and guardians gave us advice based on an outdated job market system

Many of our teachers and guardians succeeded under the Adam Smith economic era. Their education system was up to date and academic credentials back then were like hot cakes. The global economic weather was relatively favourable as well as the employment figures: 

  • However, our teachers and guardians weren’t prepared for the speed at which the world would change.
  • Moreover, the education system didn’t adapt very well to the evolved job market system.
  • In fact, things changed so fast that job loss, pay cuts and retrenchment overwhelmed people after the global recession of 2008.

Now we are overwhelmed by the same mountain of challenges and interfering limitations in our careers

Many years later, these challenges have now been passed down to us:

  • We are graduating into job markets that practically have negligible jobs. And many jobs that are available are underpaying and unfulfilling.
  • The childhood dreams we held on to with such fervent passion have now become constant reminders of our disappointment. This in turn has led to self-doubt which tends to magnify the interfering limitations of our present job market reality.
  • We now have a job market laden with a serious deficiency in job opportunities and an abundance of arduous competition, eagerly waiting to frustrate our career progress.

How then do we cope with self-doubt in our career?

Self-doubt, in this case, stems from being overwhelmed by job market challenges. We get bruised by disappointments to the point where we wonder, am I going to make it? Well, the answer to that lies in dealing with the interfering limitations that spring from self-doubt. This means that you should...

#1 Stop retreating into the conformist cocoon

It is said that it’s better to be safe than sorry. And as a result of being too safe, we ended up conforming to a system that has failed many of us:

  • We’re now grappling with a wild job market jungle that doesn’t offer that much comforting security any more.
  • The days of being accommodated are long gone. It’s now about working to keep your job.
  • This means that with time, you’ll have to seek precautionary alternatives as contingencies against job loss.
  • Some of us are trying out entrepreneurship and freelancing on the sidelines. Others are even opting for volunteer work and internships to stay afloat career wise.

#2 Consolidate your key strengths to define a unique personal career brand

As the job market evolves, we’re now seeing careers coming up that can’t be defined by any one single context:

  • Some of us have been involved in jobs with versatile roles.
  • These jobs may not be exactly as we anticipated but, we are also moulding a unique personal career brand.
  • It might seem confusing at first, but once you get a firm grip on your career ambition, then all cards fall into place.
  • Irrespective of your career experiences, you ultimately consolidate your key strengths and define a unique career brand for yourself.

#3 Surround yourself with Positivity

Your problems will be magnified if you decide to go solo on this one. Remember, you’re weak and vulnerable at this point, which means that you’ll need all the extra help you can get:

  • If there are friends that are making it in their careers, then it’s time to win their trust and make them key allies.
  • If there are career acquaintances that are well connected to job opportunities, then befriend them.
  • You’ll get expert advice for free and you’ll always have someone to help you when self-doubt clouds your judgment. After all, no one is an island.

Self-doubt largely stems from the fear of failure. And I tend to think that failures are the most prejudiced people on earth. We fail to acknowledge the fact that it takes one to put their self-doubt aside before failing at something. Plus, at least a failure tried. As an anonymous tip once put it, "Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will."