It’s a dirty little secret in business management circles, but a lot of leaders struggle with self-doubt. We have to keep a brave face out in the spotlight and in front of our team, but there’s still a lot going on behind the scenes. While for some, this can be crippling and a job change might be in order, that doesn’t mean we all don’t deal with some level of self-doubt from time to time.
When those times come, we can either pack up our tent and quit or push through it. The latter is almost always the better choice, but it’s often easier said than done. Here are some tips that can help.
Be confident in your “why.” Sometimes, what you’re doing is not nearly as important as why you’re doing it. When you understand your core motivation, you can shrug off doubts and work past them. Sure, you had a rough day, but you can remind yourself why you’re doing this, focus on what you got right and where you can improve, and then build an action plan to get that done.
Don’t let what you do be all about you. Build mentoring into your priority list. When you are engaged in inspiring and equipping others to do what they do well, you are constantly aware of the process of small steps toward success. You realize failure and falling short are just part of the process so you can apply the same criteria to your own development as a leader. Yes, you will have stress, and you will have added responsibility … but you also have opportunities to succeed. Nothing much keeps you focused on that more than offering that opportunity to others.
Build relationships with people around whom you can afford to be vulnerable. While it may not be a great idea to be too transparent about your doubts and fears with your team, you need to have people in your life you can share those moments with. They need to be people you trust enough to listen to, who will tell you the things you need to hear with a focus on building you up, not tearing you down. When you are actively involved in personal growth, you might become more aware of your shortcomings, but you are also too focused on getting better to worry overmuch about whether or not you have the right stuff to get the job done.
Finally, one of the best ways to conquer doubt is focusing the majority of your energy on only the things that only you can do in your team. Delegate the things that are siphoning your time and distracting you from what you do best. When your focus is zeroed in on the activities most important to you and your position, you are in a much better place to achieve success … and nothing beats back doubt better than getting a few good wins.
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