A significant chunk of my early career was spent moving two steps forward in my performance and then falling three steps backward due to lack of confidence. I never fully trusted myself, my talent, or my ability to perform the task of my jobs with excellence.
When I was successful and received accolades for my work, I silently waited for my peers and superiors to realize that this was an anomaly…that I was an impostor.
This lack of confidence drove me to perform flawlessly in every task, yet never reap the rewards of the flawless performance.
I continued to advance in my career, but was easily hampered by my own efforts at self-sabotage. I was particularly susceptible to management challenges. If I felt that my direct superior did not trust my ability to do my job, which I often thought, I was crippled with indecision. Literally, I rendered myself unable to make a single decision without checking with that manager.
I second-guessed everything and gave up opportunities to showcase my ideas. I would pitch my ideas to my peers so they could champion them at the big meeting. I would deflect praise by insisting it was a team effort, that sort of thing.
I got over it. Well, to be clear, I got over myself. Maybe it was maturity, maybe is was increased responsibility, maybe it was the fact that my career continued to advance. I am not sure there was a single catalyst that brought me to the solution, but the problem was crystal clear…I needed to get over myself.
I had been engaging in a subtle form of professional self-flagellation…yup, monk style. I wish I could identify why. I wish I understood the root cause of my “unworthiness.”
Then I stopped thinking about it and got over it.
Why does not matter. I also no longer waste time comparing myself to others or worrying that I am underperforming.
The Dirty Little Secret
See, I discovered this little secret; the proof of your performance is all around you. If you are doing your job well, it’s obvious. If you are not, that is also obvious. All the rest of that noise is your ego talking. Even if it is talking down to you, it’s still ego and ego has no business being in your business life. Not if you want to be successful.
We simply need to get over ourselves. That includes obsessing about other people’s perceptions of us.
In your career, the only thing worth obsessing over is the quality of your work. I am not saying you have to work hard…that is a different post (hint, less really is more). I am saying that you have to remove “yourself” from your evaluation process. Get over “you” and get to work.