Insecurity is a very normal emotion. Feeling unsure at work is something that happens to everybody at certain points in their career.
Facebook’s CEO Sheryl Sandberg has admitted to feeling like an imposter who should not be where she is, while multi-award winning actor Tom Hanks has admitted that he worries that people might ‘..discover that I am, in fact, a fraud – and take everything away from me.’ We’re in good company, people!
Even the most accomplished, successful individuals can be filled with self-doubt. The challenge is to embrace those insecurities and turn them into positives. Without doing so, they will prevent us reaching our potential and make us stand still.
So how do we leverage our insecurities? The key is to ask yourself the following four questions on a regular basis.
1) Why do you need to be perfect?
Accept that you are not – nobody is – and that it is totally normal to have your doubts. Remind yourself that everyone, to some extent, is performing a role.
2) Do you know what your job is?
You do, otherwise you wouldn’t have it. Others think you do too: you got that role for a reason. If you have any gaps in your knowledge, take control and fill those gaps through training and mentoring. Keep your professional responsibilities and objectives as a checklist you can constantly measure yourself against to keep improving.
3) What’s the worst that can happen?
As an old colleague used to say; “We’re not packing parachutes, no-one’s going to die.” It’s a bit flippant, but true – the chances are any potential mistakes will be rectifiable. Don’t panic about what could go wrong, and focus on what will go right. (Sidenote – huge thanks and respect to parachute packers.)
4) Do you take time out?
You need to relax and take your mind off work, in order to decompress and keep things in perspective. Incorporate physical exercise into your week in order to keep the endorphins flowing. Then you can really bring your best self to your job.
By referring to that short checklist on a weekly basis, you could help yourself keep check on your own insecurities.
They are part of your overall makeup after all – so they need to be embraced, but not empowered. You own them, not the other way around!