Ever find yourself hesitating, holding yourself back or even dimming yourself down at work for fear that you'll be discovered as the impostor you really are? Do you lie awake at night worrying you're not really "good enough" to achieve the kind of success you dream of?
If you find yourself plagued by self-doubt, you're not alone. In fact, one study of managers by the European Institute for Leadership and Management revealed that 50 percent of female managers and 31 percent of male managers admitted to experiencing self-doubt.
"Unfortunately when we're worried that our abilities are going to be questioned, we lack the confidence to turn our thoughts into actions," explained Louisa Jewell, positive psychology and self-doubt expert when I interviewed her recently.
"Self-doubt causes us to engage in self-protective strategies at work like procrastination, hesitation and self-handicapping to avoid failure," said Louisa. "While we may start out consciously using these strategies, once we realize they're working they often become unconscious habits that limit our potential for growth and success."
While often viewed as an internal phenomena -- something created by the stories we tell inside our own heads -- Louisa points out that researchers are discovering self-doubt is socially constructed.
"Self-doubt is often generated in your mind because of the social evaluations of others," she explained. "Human beings are generally sensitive creatures, and the moment someone questions you, challenges you or looks at you in a funny way, you start to doubt your own abilities."
Louisa suggests you can move beyond self-doubt by using the following approaches:
- Be aware of who you're surrounding yourself with. Your social network can either increase or reduce your self-doubt. If you're embarking on something new, make sure you've got really supportive people around you who are uplifting you and encouraging you to move forward.
If you'd like more tested, practical ways to show up, shine and succeed at work, download the free podcast series of practical strategies from leading thinkers in human flourishing here.
This article first appeared in Live Happy Magazine.