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Ph.D., CSP, CDR, US Navy Ret.,
CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame

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overcome self-doubt

How to Overcome and Eliminate Self-Doubt When Assessing Your Own Work

It is normal for many people to doubt themselves. If you have feelings of self-doubt, you’re in good company.

Doubting yourself creates a host of unfavorable scenarios and prevents you from reaching your full potential. It holds you back. Many opportunities may pass you by because you feel as though you don’t deserve them, you are not qualified enough, or that you’re lacking in some way.

Self-doubt is especially prevalent in the presence of peers. It’s easy for others on your level academically or professionally to challenge your self-belief – just by being there! You might feel like they’re ahead of you, even though you’re on the same level. It’s important to realize that you’re just as deserving as anybody else.  Stop comparing yourself to others.

Keep these concepts in mind to help you feel confident when trying to persuade others:

  1. You did the work. Take a moment and remind yourself about how much work you’ve done and how much effort it has taken to get to where you are. You know this material.  You are the expert.
    • Whether it’s getting through school or putting in years as a junior staff member, you’ve done it yourself. You’ve worked your way to where you are right now. Think back on all of the obstacles you overcame to get to where you are today.
    • It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it. And that’s why you’re worth every success that comes your way. Avoid shortchanging the work you put in. Don’t dismiss your own accomplishments.
  2. You’ve been validated. You earned your current status. Why are you questioning that?
    • If you have credentials, then the experts in your area of study have confirmed that you’re knowledgeable in your field. Your certification proves that you’re good at what you do.
    • Did you receive an award or a promotion at work? Your boss acknowledged the quality of your work and rewarded you. Embrace it!
  3. Your track record speaks for itself. Look back and assess the path you’ve taken and the successes you’ve had along the way.
    • Where you are right now is impressive. Now if only you could see it! It is hard for us to see our own progress. Our brain tends to dwell on everything else we need to do.
    • Consider how many people after you may benefit from your achievements. That’s nothing to take lightly! You continue to influence and inspire others.
  4. You deserve good outcomes from your work. That spotlight is just as much yours as it is anyone else’s. Embrace all the good things that are yours.
    • Use some of the time you spend praising others to praise yourself.
    • Avoid feeling guilty about speaking up for yourself. Your voice ought to be heard. You’re validated by your experience, expertise, and education. Have self-confidence and shine.
    • Reward yourself in ways that works for you.

Today is your day. Open your window and toss self-doubt out of your life. You’ll realize how quickly new opportunities present themselves when you make room for them. As my friend Jess Pettitt says, “you are good enough now”.  Seize your well-earned confidence and move forward to your next challenge.


  1. Vicky Skadsem

    Carpe Diem!

    • Mary Kelly

      Thank you, Vicky!

  2. Kristine Bastian

    I love this article, thank you for sharing this

    • Mary Kelly

      Appreciate your feedback, Kristine!


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