6 Tips to Stop Self-Doubt at Work


Everyone experiences self-doubt on a regular basis. Think about it, if you never experienced self-doubt, you would have to be 100% confident in yourself and every decision you make and people aren't perfect enough to be that way in reality. Yes, even those seemingly perfect co-workers and senior level ambitionistas experience self-doubt. This humility check is just a fact of life. It's your brain checking in to say, "Is this really the right decision to make?" You see, your brain isn't quite evolved to this modern day and age. It's trying to keep you from jumping off a bridge with all your friends or sneaking up on a wooly mammoth. But self-doubt isn't quite as useful as it would be if you were making life and death decisions. You're trying your best to do a good job at work and all of a sudden, wham! Self-doubt hits like a tidal wave. And it's not actually helping you here, it's holding you back. In your career, taking risks is necessary. Putting yourself outside of your comfort zone is often what it takes to succeed. In order to have the guts to do that, you've got to stop self-doubt and make the scary decisions to take a stand in an important meeting, ask for a raise, or find a career-changing mentor.

How can you put yourself out there without being overwhelmed by anxiety? Read on for 6 tips to stop self-doubt at work!

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1. Remember that You're Safe

In order to override your instinct to doubt yourself, you first need to remind yourself why you have this instinct and then let your brain know that everything's alright. Like I mentioned above, self-doubt is meant to keep you safe. It's meant to have you question any life-threatening decisions you're going to make, but there aren't many life-threatening things at the office.

When this little voice comes into your head doubting your decisions and telling yourself that you aren't good enough, tell it that you're perfectly safe and that you know what you're doing. Thank it for its input and tell it that's enough.

2. Keep a Brag File

Maybe you've gotten some negative feedback or constructive criticism that's taken a blow to your self-esteem. That's ok! You aren't perfect. But what might help you stop self-doubt is by having something empowering to turn to. From this moment, start collecting praise for a brag file.

Whenever anyone says anything good about the work you've done or gives you a fantastic compliment, save it in a document or email folder. Then, when you need to stop self-doubt, you can open up that file of goodness!

3. Write it Out

If you're plagued by negative thoughts about yourself that won't go away, turn to a notebook or journal and write it all out. Sometimes these thoughts get stuck in our head when we're thinking about them. We have to physically write them out to get them to stop swirling around.

At your desk or in your car, write out all the thoughts that you've been telling yourself and go over them one at a time. Is it really logical to think that? Could you prove the thought wrong? Evaluate your thoughts and turn them around. You might be surprised at how silly they are!

4. Put Your Best Foot Forward

When you're getting out of your comfort zone and thoughts of self-doubt creep in, put your best foot forward to end the negativity. Whether you're applying for a new position or proposing an innovative solution, back yourself up.

Include the reasoning behind your decision and why it makes sense to help yourself and others see that you know what you're doing and that you've thought it through.

Starting something new is an important part of becoming irreplaceable at the office. Unfortunately, it's also where self-doubt comes in to stop you. Focus on the reasoning behind your decision and you'll be able to stop self-doubt.

5. Get Realistic about the Worst Outcome

While self-doubt may have originally helped us avoid certain death, it now has no place. It may make us feel like we're going to end up on the streets if we put ourselves outside our comfort zones, but it is really over-reacting.

To stop self-doubt, think about what really might happen if things don't go your way. Remember that your company really doesn't gain a lot by firing you and having to waste time training someone else. That would cost them a lot of money. It's in their best interest to keep you around, so you aren't likely to end up jobless. And even if you did somehow lose your job, there are a lot of other jobs out there and believe it or not, you have skills.

Remind yourself that the worst case scenario isn't that bad.

6. Take a Deep Breath and Go For it

When you've done all of the above, the final thing for you to do is to take a deep breath and just do it. Even if you're scared, keep going. Get out of your comfort zone and do your best. That's really what life is about. You can do it!

What do you do to stop self-doubt? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.