When it comes to self-doubt, you’re in good company.
4 min read
By any name, “self-doubt” is (a maddening) part of the human condition. Women certainly haven’t cornered the market. Indeed, after posting My Cultural Inheritance of Self-Doubt, we heard from some very thoughtful voices sharing their own experiences with self-doubt.
“…as a first generation immigrant, I can relate, I always felt I had to be twice as good as everyone else to avoid the comment that I got there because of affirmative action or quota. It did not matter what I accomplished, I always battled with self-doubt as well.”
“Unfortunately this is a similar feeling for some people because of their skin color, social background or as part of a minority, for instance.”
“My journey has not been without a ton of self-doubt and I still feel it just about every day.”
For Chicago Executive Creative Director Janet Barker-Evans, our post brought to mind her own 2013 blog post, Fear Is A Liar. In it, Barker-Evans shares some sound advice she routinely offers her agency team members:
“As a creative leader, one of my favorite moments is when I share with a new writer or art director that every single one of us is afraid. Afraid someone will ‘find out’ that we aren’t sure what we’re doing. Afraid our boss will realize we’re ‘winging it.’ Afraid we aren’t smart enough, creative enough, good enough.
“The look on their face when I give voice to the fear deep inside them, as the fear bubbles up and they think ‘how does she KNOW?!’ Then the subsequent relief when they realize they aren’t alone anymore in their fear. Liberation.”
Over the last month or so, it seems as if articles, interviews, podcasts and memes that touch on the topic of self-doubt are everywhere. (Scroll to the end of this post for a links to some of our favorites).
Even former FBI Director James Comey spoke about doubt and its surprising value to good leadership: “Listening to others who disagree with me and are willing to criticize me is essential to piercing the seduction of certainty. Doubt, I’ve learned, is wisdom.”
And what is the universal recommendation to overcoming doubt that turns into fear? Action. By taking the risk and pushing through our self-doubt, we discover which doubt is wisdom and which fear is a lie.
Coming Up | Self Confidence in the Face of Unconscious Bias
While self-doubt is universal, cultural conditioning — how a society values attributes of the ‘feminine’ — creates an added layer of complexity around this very human condition.
We are all (regardless of gender) more critical of those who step out of the traditional roles, often leading to an extra dose of self-doubt.
In our next post, we will look at how participants in the Women’s Leadership Lab tap into their own Self Confidence in the Face of Unconscious Bias, as we wrap up our discussion on My Cultural Inheritance of Self-Doubt.
Mixed Links related to Self-Doubt
- “Fear Is A Liar” by Janet Barker-Evans
- “The Hidden Power of Your Self-Doubt” by Ravi Raman
- “How to Tame Your Inner Critic” by Lisa Firestone
- “How I tackle lack of confidence” by Jennifer Openshaw
- “Imposter Syndrome” | The Lead Podcast (ep. 14) from WomenWill, a Google initiative
- “How to Beat the Imposter Syndrome” by Fran Hauser