July 27

Why do I doubt myself so much?


You sit there, wondering if you’re doing the right thing. You wonder if you’re saying the right thing to the client.

You even wonder if you’re ever going to make it through, or if you’re going to be sacked.

This won’t be easy.

But breathe.

It will be better.

When you’ve had the rug pulled from beneath you, and you’re told your work sucks, or that you will never meet the standard, it is painful.

You start to think if you will ever meet the standard again.

Why do I doubt myself so much
Sure, you may wonder if you will ever win that trophy again. You can and you will.

And being in that place can be difficult, because you are still expected to perform at a great standard every day, without fail.

So what can you do?

But first off, who are you to talk about this?

I had a Performance Improvement Plan issued to me in January 2021.

After that, I was caught in a negative doom loop where I wondered if what I was doing was right. I went into work not feeling terribly enthusiastic about what I was doing.

First understand where the self doubt is coming from

There are mainly two issues that appear whenever you see this arising.

The first is a knowledge gap, where you’re not sure what to do.

The other is the skill gap.

You don’t know how to do it.

Why do I doubt myself so much
Figure out what kind of gap you’re facing

But often what we don’t realise is that we ruminate over what has happened.

The trauma of what happened previously, that made your boss scold you, or issue you a warning, may be replaying in your head. We chew on it, think constantly about it, and it ends up affecting our future work.

The antidote?

Stop the movie camera from auto-playing in your head

Guy Winch, the psychotherapist behind the book, “Emotional First Aid”, suggests that you

  1. Freeze the scene that traumatised you about work. This may be the time when your boss scolded you.
  2. Then slowly imagine yourself detaching from that scene, like an outsider watching from above.
  3. Slowly distance yourself from that scene in your mind, seeing the picture zoom out even further.

Each time you chew on the scene, do this exercise.

Stop comparing yourself to the self of yesterday

Okay, you may have done this before.

But you look at the work you did in high school, and you immediately wonder if you will ever get there.


Just focus on the work you’re doing, rather than trying to remember how much ‘better’ you were then.

I face this often, and I tell myself,

I may not be there now, but I am getting there.

Remember the good in you

You’ll have times when you do the right things. Outside of work.

Take time to remember those, and to remind yourself of it.

One thing that is helpful is to write down 2 things you’re proud of doing at the end of each day, and 1 thing you can improve on. This keeps you focused on progress, and not just perfection.

Secondly, write a letter of love to yourself.

Try this letter of love to yourself.

This sounds weird… but hear me out.

Write down the qualities you see in yourself, and how you’ve shown them in the past. You will find yourself feeling better about yourself after that exercise.

You need to fight for joy

Fighting for joy seems like a paradox. How do you fight for it? Isn’t it something that comes naturally?


You need to fight for it.

Every time you see something funny happen, take it, amplify it, and laugh about it.

Knowing what I do now, I realised there needs to be an intentional desire where you go and have fun.

Plan out moments that you look forward to, whether it be treating yourself to a movie, playing soccer at the bottom of your block, or even taking a walk.

Don’t feel sorry for yourself

This will be hard, but the moment you go down the rabbit hole where you curse and swear at how unfair the world is, why everyone seems to pick on you, and focus on your problem, you will miss the possibility in your situation.

I’m not trying to put a positive spin on what’s happening to you.

It is painful.

And I don’t know how painful it is, but I do have an idea that you are close to giving up. You just want to sit and gripe about how unfair everyone has been. You just want someone to go,

yeah, yeah. Those people are really mean.

But just think. Does that do anything to change your situation or make it better?


Then why do you do it?

Because you might just want to sit in your pity party, and wear the party hat saying,

Look at me! Won’t you pity me?

Or you might just want to self-sabotage what you can do with your life.

Because when someone doesn’t believe and see the good you can bring… it’s not your loss. It’s theirs.

You know that already.

So why do you still do it?

Because you want to.

Because it’s easier to say how sad your situation is, than to take charge and do something about it.


We will all go through hard times in life.

But this is what makes you.

You choose to grow or you choose to give in.

Your choice.

This is going to be hard

For the first 2 months after the performance improvement plan was issued, I was lost. I didn’t know what I was doing, and what I could do.

It was almost as if someone had thrown a cover over me and I was fumbling in the dark.

I even refused a perfect opportunity to move on.

And when I look back, I realise self-doubt is like a drug. You know what it does to you, but you continue to take it because it serves your needs.

Don’t give in to that.

You’re greater than that.

People can knock you down, but they can never knock you out.

In your corner, give that lunge and that punch.

Don’t give up, at least not yet.



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