Strategies to Combat Self-Doubt In the Workplace 

Confidence is often seen as an essential trait in the workplace. It’s what allows us to speak up in meetings, take on new challenges, and put ourselves out there. While confidence is important, there is another trait that is even more crucial for success in the workplace: courage. 

Why Courage Is More Important Than Confidence  

Courage is the willingness to take risks and face challenges, even when we are unsure of the outcome. It’s what allows us to step outside of our comfort zone and try something new. Confidence can be fragile and easily shaken. It can be based on external factors such as praise or validation from others. Courage is internal and not dependent on external factors. It comes from within, and it allows us to take action even when we are not confident. 

In the workplace, exercising courage can mean standing up for what you believe in, advocating for a new idea, or taking on a difficult project. Imposter syndrome is a common issue in the workplace, where individuals feel like they don’t belong or aren’t qualified for their job. This can lead to a lack of confidence and a fear of taking on new challenges. Cultivating courage can help combat imposter syndrome and build the confidence we need to succeed. 

Here are a few ways that can help combat imposter syndrome in the workplace:  

How to Cultivate Courage in the Workplace 

  1. Unsubscribe from Self-Doubt  

Instead of focusing on the potential negative outcomes, reframe your thoughts to focus on the potential benefits and learning opportunities of taking a risk. It’s crucial to keep in mind that failing does not make you fraudulent; even the most skilled athletes stumble, top lawyers suffer defeats, and renowned actors have unsuccessful projects. Experiencing setbacks, defeats, and errors is just a natural aspect of any profession. Don’t let these experiences define you. Instead, take the opportunity to learn from them and keep progressing. 

Adam Grant, a professor of management and psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, discusses the concept of two types of doubt in his book “Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World.” The first type is self-doubt, which can cause us to become frozen and unable to take action. The second type is idea doubt, which can motivate us to improve, experiment with, or test a promising concept. To turn self-doubt into idea doubt, try reminding yourself that early drafts of ideas are often flawed and that you simply have not reached the final stage yet. This can help you reframe your doubts and inspire you to continue refining and enhancing your ideas. 

  1. Share Your Experiences  

It’s important to be kind to ourselves and recognize that it’s normal to feel uncertain or unsure at times. Surround yourself with supportive colleagues and mentors who can encourage and guide you. Research from Harvard revealed a sharing paradox when it comes to imposter syndrome. Individuals who are currently grappling with imposter syndrome may be reluctant to open up about their own experiences, even though people often find comfort in hearing that others can relate to how they feel. You are not alone, do not convince yourself of any different. In fact, a survey found that over two-thirds of people in the workforce across the world have experienced or currently are dealing with imposter syndrome.  

  1.  Be Patient With the Process 

Start by taking small risks and gradually build up to bigger ones. This will help build your confidence and courage muscles. As you grow more proficient, witness tangible results, and taste success, your confidence will naturally increase, and you may not need to rely on courage as much. However, at the beginning of your journey, courage is the only tool you have at your disposal. Therefore, courage is more vital than confidence. As you get started, you must draw on your courage to propel you forward. Practice positive self-talk and building up your own personal confidence in all areas of life. Recent research form the University of Michigan suggests that the way in which you talk to yourself can impact your self-image.  

You Got This 

Courage allows you to take risks, face challenges, and continue learning and growing. While confidence is important, it can be fragile and lead to complacency. By cultivating courage, you can combat imposter syndrome and build the confidence you need to succeed. 


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