You listen to what others say about you often enough that you start believing them. This is particularly true when others point out your “limitations” and “shortcomings”. I have gone home feeling angry because a co-worker, intentionally or not, wronged me. It really used to irritate me when some individuals infer that I am somehow in my position because of preferential treatment or that I’m not qualified. I have been asked jokingly “How many asses did I have to kiss to get my position” or that I’m a “neophyte”.
I convinced myself I was not qualified for a position because I don’t have the education, I don’t have the abilities to do the job, I don’t have the experience or I’m of the wrong color. For years, I played the “victim” role. At some point, I guess I got tired of feeling sorry for myself and I stopped apologizing for what others have pointed out as my shortcomings. I also realized I needed to adjust how I view myself and proactively took actions to get me away from the victim mentality.
Below are some things I have come to believe and try to practice. By no means am I always confident in my abilities but I think my self-doubts have certainly become less.
- Surround yourself with those that believe in you. From time to time, I spend time with my mentors to be reminded that I am okay. It helps that I have supervisors and some co-workers that believe in me. What helps me the most is that I have a partner, my wife, who provides me unconditional support.
- Be your biggest cheerleader. You are your biggest ally and sometimes, you may be your only ally.
- Don’t take it personal. I read a quote somewhere that went like this “hurt people hurt people.” Unfortunately, in our lives, we will deal with folks who take out their anger, jealousies, insecurities on others.
- Focus on your strengths. In my case, I like talking to people and I love being able to develop teams, getting people to work together, helping motivate others and so I’ve focused on learning more about how to be a better project manager, a better leader.
- Stop trying to get people’s respect. Aim to do the right things and respect will hopefully be the by-product. But, doing things just so you can get people’s respect is just a waste of time. There will always be those that no matter what you do, you will never be equal to them in their eyes.
- Keep “poisonous” thoughts out of your mind. I once read this good advice – “You wouldn’t want a poisonous snake to enter your home. Why would you allow poisonous thoughts enter your mind?”
- Stop apologizing. Your accomplishments did not come overnight so you do deserve your them. In addition, when you do make mistakes, just acknowledge them as mistakes, learn from them and move on. We’re our own harshest critic sometimes.
- Stop taking yourself too seriously. No one’s perfect, we won’t always accomplish our goals, but doesn’t mean we should consider ourselves as failures.
Any other advice you can add to the list above?