What you need to know:
- Although it can be debilitating when it accosts an individual unabated, few individuals are unfamiliar with doubt.
- Have you always had the same level of doubt or is this a more recent career experience for you? Do you have similar doubts at a personal level?
- Have you established a pattern of when doubt seems to swell or ebb? What inspires or undermines your confidence at work and in general?
I am a senior manager in a bank. I have been promoted four times in the last seven years of my career in the company. Although my performance has been above average throughout, I tend to doubt myself and this affects my confidence. Is it normal to doubt oneself? Should one disclose such things to a supervisor?
You must have made significant contributions at work to receive four promotions within the past seven years of your career with your employer. Such an experience does not characterise the majority of employees in organisations. It is therefore important to keep your hands on the levers that underwrite your achievements in order to sustain the momentum of your career growth.
Although it can be debilitating when it accosts an individual unabated, few individuals are unfamiliar with doubt. Have you always had the same level of doubt or is this a more recent career experience for you? Do you have similar doubts at a personal level? Have you established a pattern of when doubt seems to swell or ebb? What inspires or undermines your confidence at work and in general? Do you mostly experience doubt when in the company of others or when you are alone? What is the timing of your doubt relative to periods of looming success or struggle?
Many people, including those who have excelled exceedingly in their fields of endeavour or personal lives will acknowledge occasional bouts of doubt. Claims of absolute certainty about self, life or the future stem more from ignorance than confidence. Any form of self-confidence that leaves no margin for uncertainty cannot permit or invite constructive feedback from others, an important factor in the pursuit of personal or professional success. A little uncertainty helps to summon the adrenaline required to perform at an optimal level. Ask sports people.
If, however, your doubt begins to overwhelm you, consider seeking a coach or have conversations with your mentor about the matter. Conversations with a confidante might also temper your perception as you draw comfort from knowing that others too experience doubt from time to time. While you would not be fully human if doubt never paid you a visit, you need not play perfect host to it lest it takes over your life.
Reflect upon the opening words of an art commentary by Robert Hughes: “The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.