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Feeling Insecure? How to Still Get Your Dream Career

Accepting the human condition and coping with it (Installment 1)


Someone recently asked that I write a post about how to build up confidence, so that you can get everything you want in your career. This is such an important topic, I’ve decided to split it into a blog series. Today I’ll cover installment 1. The following installments will be released in the next two days.


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Installment 1: Accepting Insecurity



Insecurity is a Fact of Life


Can you think of a time that you really wanted something, but lacked the confidence to pursue it?


You're not alone!


Throughout my roles, I’ve had a chance to speak with so many different employees at different stages in their careers. What I have learned is that everyone suffers from some amount of self-doubt, even people who exude confidence on the outside.


I strongly believe that feelings of insecurity are part of the human condition. Humans are emotional. We can review the facts a million times and still fail to be rational with our behavior.


Examples:

  • Yes, I was valedictorian! → None of my top choice colleges want me. What’s the point in applying?

  • In the last two years, I’ve been my department’s top performer! → Raises only happen when everyone gets one. Maybe I’ll ask next year.


The champions in your life are going to try to appeal to that rational part to reassure you that you are worthy. You’re probably going to struggle to believe them. They will walk you through the facts. Your mind will keep returning to this feeling that you might have to cope with not getting what you want.


The Uncaring Paradox


I have a theory (empirically untested!) that, skill being equal, people perform better naturally on things when they are less emotionally invested in the outcome.


Have you ever shot off a hasty response to a recruiter who contacted you on LinkedIn (you weren’t even looking!) and gotten 3 interviews the next week? Meanwhile, when you’re in desperate need for a new gig, the cover letter you spent 12 hours on produces literally ZERO results.


What is going on here?! (No, I don’t think the answer is to stop caring altogether.)


I believe that in these moments, your emotional brain is unengaged and your rational brain takes over. You act in your own best interest and don’t self-sabotage. You follow the advice you’d give a friend in the same situation.


Self assurance occurs. Others notice. Others want you.


What’s Next


There isn’t a path forward that doesn’t include self questioning, and that is okay. I bring this up because if your goal is to remove all self-doubt, you’re likely going to fail. That failure will increase your sense of self-doubt and will be counterproductive.


Instead, I encourage people to be realistic with themselves. It’s okay to suffer from feelings of insecurity. My goal is to help you cope with those doubts so it doesn’t impact your outcomes.


The secret is separating your feelings from your actions.


Installment 2 lays out three tactics for managing these feelings so that your actions can flourish.

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