Self-doubt is unnerving and shatters your worth. Getting sceptical about your abilities to be productive and start questioning if you have it in you to produce anything worthwhile is discouraging. Undermining your abilities is self-defeating. It nibbles into self-confidence; slowly affecting productivity, efficiency and dedication.
If you are experiencing all of that, you might be suffering from ‘Impostor Syndrome’ or ‘Imposter Phenomenon’, as coined by psychologist Dr. Pauline Rose Clance and Dr. Suzanne Imes.
Self-doubt and overthinking are setbacks that not only affect the productivity but efficiency and dedication too.
What is Impostor Syndrome?
In spite of being successful, you start to feel that success has come due to fluke or luck. You question your achievements to think they are a result of some ‘breaks’ and not due to your ability or competence. This leads to believing that you will have to put immense efforts to repeat this success, and fear that you don’t have the potential to be successful again.
Why would you start doubting your potential to be successful, when in the past you’ve delivered successfully? Excessive thinking about how others perceive you and your work could be one of the reasons. This kind of thinking is excruciating and sucks energy while others are oblivious to your worries.
In actuality, they might not even notice you because they might be busy worried about their own performance if they have their own work in hand but you won’t take it that way because you’re somehow getting focused towards that doesn’t really matter like overthinking about a dejected thought over ten compliments, that’s negative bias.
These hovering thoughts would surely bring your productivity down because, you are what you think.
Conclusively, self-doubt and excessive worrying are a lot about innerself than changing external environment. Excessive worrying is an inner battle, which you fight in a competitive environment. You are being your worst enemy by attacking yourself through charting a path towards it when you know, a calm mind is a prerequisite to perform and achieve success.
For example, while writing you might think to such an extent before penning down words that nothing might get written. This will not only push you back but will dive you into a depressed state, in result, the output is zero and the victim is you.
I’ve heard most coaches closing their motivational speeches by saying, “Go out and have fun”. Why would a coach advise this when he knows it’s important to win? Because, excessive worrying will mar performance while enjoying the game will motivate you to deliver the best thus, win.
If you step into the self-doubt mode, take a break, get out of those thoughts to overcome the negative bias. It’s a matter of perspective if you want to get back from self-doubt to self-belief, revise on your achievements. Revise what you have created and achieved in the past. What do you have inside you to create and succeed?
Reminiscence about occasions when you have guided colleagues to achieve their goals. It reassures your worth. Focus on positive things; compliments, guidance that you have received. Be amongst people who make you feel confident and positive.
Is self-doubt any good?
Now, let’s also look at the other side of the coin. Self-doubt is rather a gift at times. Wait, I’m not contradicting to what I’ve said above but what we often mislead is the linkage of self-analysis with self-doubt. Self-analysis is the pro deal to make the best out of yourself and it occurs when you are dubious about anything you are doing.
It keeps you grounded and reminds that making consistent efforts is an imperative on the path of success. Observe and understand how self-doubt creeps into your mind and treat it as a test to keep moving forward. Combat it with the will to move ahead. It might creep while you are moving out of a comfort zone and doing something different. Act, take the plunge in spite of self-doubt.
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, once remarked, “I force myself to sit at the table, even when I’m not sure I belong there — and yes, this still happens to me.”
Self-doubt can then lead to self-improvement. It leads to self-assessment and stops you from becoming over-confident to the point of arrogance. Thus, you invest more efforts to improve upon your last performance.
Self-confidence and self-belief are pillars of success and self-doubt can hamper it. But, a bit of self-questioning can stop you from being oblivious to your mistakes and blocking your own progress. So, are you still feeling like an impersonator when you are not?
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