How To Overcome Career Doubt

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When the world seems uncertain we sometimes struggle to make choices. We seek certainty. We want to know that something will happen. We look for perfection in our decisions.

But that’s not reality. No decision comes with absolute certainty. It doesn’t matter if it’s picking out clothes in the morning, what to eat for breakfast or making a career decision. None of it comes with the perfect outcome.

When it comes to our careers it’s easy to fall into a trap of doubt. It only takes getting burned once or twice to feel like things will always work out that way. And it’s not even getting burned, but making a change or choice and having it not work out. We can fall into traps of indecision.

Do you feel stuck in your career? It could be doubt creeping in.

Here are a few thoughts on how to deal with it.

1. Make Smaller Decisions

We often think of our careers as these big occurrences. We look back at job changes. Those are often huge things in our lives. But it doesn’t always have to be that way. Not every decision is life and death. Especially in our careers.

If you’re considering making a big change in your career and you’re struggling with it, perhaps focus on building up to it. Get comfortable with making smaller decisions. Build that confidence so you can feel better about making the larger change.

Start with a choice that affects today. Then this week. Then this month. Focus on a project you’re working on. Things like that so you can build the comfort that can lead to a solid choice for the big event.

2. Focus On Past Serendipity

It’s easy to feel doubt when the sting of a bad decision hits home. When something bad happens we start seeing it more and more. And it can kind of blind us to the good things that have happened. Not just the times when we’ve made a choice and it’s worked out just fine. But perhaps the times we did something without really expecting a certain outcome only to have it turn out really well.

Think back in recent memories to a time when you did something and it worked out really well. Maybe you went to an event and met a really interesting and inspiring person. Maybe you said hello to a person at the bank and it led to a discussion about them working with you on a project.

These things don’t happen all the time, but they do happen. It’s proof that work and life provide all kinds of unforeseen good things and not just the bad kind of uncertainty.

3. Rule Out External Scrutiny

Do you fear what your friends, colleagues and peers will think if you make a career decision? It could be part of the reason you’re struggling with doubt. The reality is that these folks, even those you’re closest with, don’t really give much thought to you and your career. They’re busy thinking about their own careers.

It’s not that they don’t care about you and your job. It’s just that they have their own lives to worry about. They likely don’t define you and your friendship with them by what you do for a living. They likely care about how you interact with them and how you treat them and how you make them feel.

How often do you think about your friends and their careers? And not just in the context of comparing them to yourself.

Final Thoughts

Doubt can be a real killer in life. It can lead to procrastination and unhappiness. Neither are good for life or for work. If you’re struggling with doubt in regards to your career, consider what may be the source. And hopefully these thoughts here can help get you back on the right track.

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