I don’t care who you are or where you come from, if you put yourself on the line in any new endeavor there’s going to be self-doubt. I’m having a bit of self-doubt just writing that statement! It’s a big statement to make and I am taking a chance!
So what do you do with the self-doubt of your career and life? In looking back at the start of my career I remembered all of the angst I had doing ANYTHING that put me out on a limb. I was worried about what my peers thought, about whether I knew enough to do the job, about whether or not I’d be hired again and on and on. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but I don’t think that self-doubt ever goes away even after many years. I don’t think that is a bad thing. I know it may not sound very uplifting or encouraging on the onset, but it can be the best thing that ever happens to you in getting where you want to go.
I haven’t had a full time job in over 20 years and so have always had to look for the next project. Even now, although not as difficult as when I began, there are still those moments when I wake up in the middle of the night wondering if I have made the right decision. Yet I know that however it turns out I will be closer to having more experience to use if that particular moment happens again. And inevitably it does.
I think not knowing if I have the right stuff every time keeps me learning how to do it better. I still overcompensate and try to think of every scenario possible so that I will come out of it shining. In that process I dive into the unknown (thank God for the internet) and prepare for the worst. To this day I still pack more equipment than I need “just in case”. But the feeling I have when I go to the job knowing I have done everything I can to succeed is what also keeps me interested and excited in my work.
Whatever it is that you choose to do in your life just make sure that it will keep you busy enough to constantly have that voice inside of you to ask “what if”. Because when the project is finished and your self-doubt disappears, for that wonderful moment, your work is something you can be proud of. That’s when the feeling of self worth out weighs the fear of self-doubt.