Are You Constantly Doubting Yourself at Work?

Let’s be honest: is self-doubt holding you back from the career of your dreams?

What about that bold idea you have–the one you haven’t pursued because, deep down, you are afraid the idea doesn’t measure up?

Do you have some insecurities that keep you from stretching in your career? “I’m just not good at public speaking.” “I’m terrible at closing sales.” “I’m a poor negotiator.”

Do you anxiously rewrite emails again and again, driven by a nervous voice in your head that is convinced you are saying things in the wrong way?

Many talented, ambitious women are plagued by self-doubt at work.

It holds us back – big time. The self-doubting, inner critic voice keeps us from sharing our unique ideas, from leading, from doing all the things that create standout careers.

Here are 7 things you need to know to do it differently:

1. Every woman has an inner critic, no matter how confident she seems. You aren’t crazy and you aren’t alone.

2. You can tell you are hearing from your inner critic when you hear repetitive, negative thoughts about yourself, things you would never want to say to a person you care about.

3. The inner critic isn’t an evil enemy. It is actually trying to protect you from ever feeling embarrassment or failure. It tries to keep you from failing, from the unknown, by convincing you that you just aren’t talented enough to even try.  

4. For that reason, as long as you are growing in your career, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever get rid of your inner critic. Sorry! Victory over the inner critic isn’t getting rid of it. Victory is learning how to not listen to you inner critic. Can you let its ridiculous chatter just be like background noise?

5. Here’s what that means day to day: When you hear that inner critic voice, simply name it for what it is. Say or think to yourself, “Okay, I’m hearing my inner critic now. That’s not the core of me or the wise part of me. It’s just my inner critic.”

6. See if you can find the humor in what it’s saying. Often our inner critics are so extreme and irrational that what they are saying is truly absurd. Let yourself laugh at its ridiculous words!

7. Give your critic a name. Is your critic a version of that mean girl from junior high? Is your critic saying to you the same things that very critical boss from 10 years ago said? Create a name and imaginary character for your inner critic, so you can remember that its voice is not your real, core voice. It’s not the truth or your best thinking. It’s just your inner critic.  

Tara Sophia Mohr is an expert on women’s leadership and well-being. The creator of the Playing Big leadership program for women, Tara is a columnist for Huffington Post and has been featured on The Today Show,, USA Today,, and in numerous other publications. Click here to get her free download, the 10 Rules for Brilliant Women Workbook.


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