One of the things many people face when they are working on their own or remotely, is doubt. Sometimes even imposters syndrome, where one feels that he/she is not competent or worth the positive feedback.
If you are having self-doubt thoughts, you are not alone! That is an increasing phenomena due to remote work as well as the increase in specialising and hence being perhaps the only one in your organisation knowing of that topic. In remote work we do not get all the feedback we need in order to maintain healthy self awareness. A lot of facial expressions, not to mention body language will be lost in remote meetings. Words, being only 7 % of communication, can be misunderstood. When facial expressions are not to support or to convert the meaning of words, we make wrong interpretations. We lack the feedback also in situations, where we don’t have colleagues, creates the same emotional stress.
Moving from self doubt to healthy self awareness is possible for everyone. The first step is building a network of people, who can and do give feedback. When you get feedback, both positive and constructive, your brain reacts to that in a positive way. The value and point is in live feedback. You need to get the feedback so that you see facial expressions and body language. Those give your brain the social signals needed to confirm the words you hear. Written feedback is nice to share, but it does not really remove the doubts you have. Asking for feedback is a good solution. Just make sure, you ask for it in the right way! Don’t ask if people feel that you are good or if they did like what said or presented. Using open questions like “what were the valuable things you got from me today?” will tell you more and helps you to overcome self doubt.
Reflection is another way to build positive and healthy self awareness. Reflection of daily activities i.e. in the form of diary is a good way to remove imposters syndrome and to build self esteem. “Life is a roller coaster” they claim in a song. If you are having days when you doubt your self and then days when you are fully confident, you are like most people. As long as you in most days are on the positive side, this is good. The days when you have self doubt are the days which take you to learn more in order to be better the next day. Self awareness, where you also admit that this was not the best possible day, is just being humble in a healthy way.
When you have those days, where you are in self doubt, you need to remember that it is only temporary and needed for growth. Be compassionate towards yourself. Even the best of the best have better days and then those other days. Learning to accept that nobody can be at peak performance all the time is the key to move from self doubt to positive self awareness. Couple of strategies which are also helpfull in order to remove negative self doubt: 1. Create an avatar of you, and then as an “outsider” compare that avatar to common people. 2. As our brain is wired to focus on risks and hence negative feedback can have very strong impact on us, reduce the reading of negative feedback (specially that in social media). 3. Listen to your inner talk and convert the negative sentences with more constructive ones. When you are in self doupt, instead of saying “I’m not good” say “I could have done better today and to do so I will learn to …..”.
We are different in our personality. Genetic heritage and how the environment we have lived in has impacted our ways of thinking and feeling do have an impact. They are not though defining our future. We can change our way of thinking and hence feelings and behaviour. Conscious acts on leading one self and in converting the negative thoughts to growth thoughts takes us to the more positive future.
#emotionalintelligence skills which help you to more forward. Getting to know how your personality is constructed will help you to choose the best possible strength to move forward. As we are different, we also need to apply different approaches. General guidance like “use these 5 words to be more self confident” only work for a very limited number of people. When you want to get the higher level and reach healthy self awareness, get in touch. I can help you!
Your partner in making success happen, Kari I. Mattila, emotional intelligence advisor