If you’re reading this, you’re probably a woman who doubts herself at work.
Women are more likely to be paralyzed by self-doubt on the job, self-criticism even when colleagues praise them, and fear that they’re not good enough at work.
Here’s what Lisa Bloom writes in Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World.
“One of the best things about men is their confidence, their rightness, their ability to go with their gut and produce,” says Rochelle Schieck, founder of Qoya. “I rarely overhear men in cafes talking about how differently they could have or should have done something.”
Bloom is quoting Schieck, who also says: “One of the most paralyzing things for a woman is her doubt. Do I have the right job? Did I pick the right partner? Are these the right shoes? Did I pick the right place to go on vacation? Doubt is like an anchor that keeps women rooted in murky waters of disapproval.”
At work, what do you doubt about yourself? I doubt my Quips and Tips blogs. I have a vision for them – which I haven’t even fully admitted to myself – and yet I doubt I’ll succeed.
How to Stop Being Paralyzed by Self-Doubt at Work
First, here’s why you need to deal with your career doubts:
“Self-doubt brings fear, such as the fear of failure, of the dark, of being out of control, of not being good enough. We fear loving because we doubt our ability to love and so fear rejection; we fear being generous because we doubt our capacity to generate more and fear we will not have enough; we fear sharing our thoughts or feelings for doubt that we will appear wrong or stupid. Doubt brings mistrust, which appears real, even though it may have no real substance…Such doubt creates worry, nervous disorders, and even paranoia.” – from Why You Should Never Doubt Yourself.
Pick a direction, and start moving
What would you do if you weren’t paralyzed by doubt at work? Would you quit your job to go back to school? The first step to shaking off your “doubt paralysis” is to figure out what you really want to do with your career – and your life.
If you doubt yourself at work, you will be consumed by fear. One of the biggest fears is leaving the safety of your job – even when you hate it! If you know you need to leave, read How to Quit Your Job When You’re Scared.
I really want my Quips and Tips blogs to succeed! This blog in particular – it’s like David, who God said is “a man after my own heart.” For some reason, Quips and Tips For Life’s Ups and Downs (used to be Quips and Tips for Achieving Your Goals) is my favourite child, my most special blog.
It’s also the one I doubt the most. Talk about doubt at work – I live with it every day at home, because I work from home!
I doubt Quips and Tips for Life’s Ups and Downs will succeed for a variety of reasons. It’s too general for people to follow regularly; I don’t have a community. Maybe it’s because I’m a writer – my passion is writing articles to help people, not building a community of friends or followers.
To overcome my self-doubt at work and stop being paralyzed when it comes to blogging, I’m praying over my Quips and Tips blogs every morning. I will follow my heart and soul, and let God take these blogs where He will.
Why do you doubt yourself at work? If you can’t move forward because of your inner critic, read How to Stop Criticizing Yourself.
Stay connected to your Source – especially when you’re at work
For me, it’s God. Jesus. What’s your source of energy, peace, light, hope, love, and self-compassion? This is how to stop being paralyzed by doubt in your job: spend time every day connecting to whatever it is that gives you strength and confidence. You don’t need to have confidence in yourself – God knows I don’t!
You need only have confidence in something Greater than you. This is especially important when you doubt your ability to do your job.
Overcome doubt by creating a schedule – and sticking to it
The key is to find the balance between creating a plan that will move you towards your goals at work. Also, you need to be open to changing your goals/plan/schedule if the situation (or your Source) warrants it.
For example, I created a series of Quips and Tips blogs – as well as a weekly blogging schedule – but now I’m finding myself more drawn to the idea of writing about whatever my Creator brings forward. I’m co-facilitating support groups with the Alzheimer Society, and am running into lots of issues and problems that people need help with. That’s where I want to be. Here. In the moment.
A schedule or plan will take you past job paralysis and doubt, into action and career goals. What’s your plan, wo-man?
Let yourself doubt yourself at work, but take it to your Creator. Let your fears and self-doubts be washed away; renew your mind and soul with hope, love, faith, and the confidence that things will work out exactly the way they’re meant to.
For more ways to cope with the paralysis doubt brings, read Are You Procrastinating – or Do You Have the Wrong Goals?
I'm glad you're here! My name is Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen; my husband Bruce and I live in Vancouver, BC with our critters. We can't have kids, and are learning to accept whatever life brings - both good and bad. I have an MSW (Master of Social Work) from UBC, and degrees in Education and Psychology. I hope you say hello below - I can't give relationship advice, but writing can bring you clarity and insight.