Updated: Dec 23, 2020
It’s no secret that 2020 has been a challenging year in many ways. We've all been affected by the changes to the way we live, work and socialise in some way, big or small. One thing I've found that hasn't changed, and is unlikely ever to, is self-doubt. Do you doubt yourself? Do you have imposter syndrome? Does it affect your life, or does it just rear its ugly head from time to time? I'm certainly no psychologist, and don't profess to know why people doubt themselves, but it always amazes me to find how common self-doubt is across a wide range of people, and often the most seemingly unlikely of them.
I went to my “real work” Christmas party last night and as always, it was a great opportunity to catch up with people I don’t get to spend a lot of social time with. I had a long chat with a guy who is closer to my age than to most of the staff (by that I mean older), and had been part of a team chosen for some targeted training that would change the way they think about leadership and training. He found the courage to tell me about some personal stuff: how, now that the course has ended, he is unable to remember the content because he was so pent up with anxiety about being able to learn along with the younger people in the group, that the notes he took now seem to be so out of context, that they make no sense at all. He feels dumb, and stupid, embarrassed, and scared to ask for help as he tries to relate the content of the course to his daily work.
This man is one who would be construed by most as being tough but fair, knowledgeable in his role, proactive, a great communicator and who is seemingly confident, but no! He has so much self-doubt it’s inhibiting his ability to grow and add more value to the team. The good thing is that he has admitted this problem and is starting to confront it head on, so there is light at the end of that tunnel.
And what did I take from this conversation, apart from confirming that hidden self-doubt affects even the most seemingly-capable of us? That it’s time for me to stop hiding behind those doubts when they raise their far-too-ugly heads and take the joy out of my dreams, plans, and motivation, so that my “happy place” really is just that.
Join me in banishing the doubts, won’t you? I’ll let you know how I go.