From Self-Doubt to Self-Discovery

Why do we doubt ourselves? Even as I sat down to write this blog post, I’ve already restarted three times and doubted each glimpse of writing I produced. This likely stems from fears and insecurities. Why is it that we do not always trust our instincts or feel super great about ourselves?

This is something I have always struggled with, but it seems more apparent than ever before. In job interviews, I struggle to find an answer when they ask about my strengths. I often feel mediocre at best, and even my “strengths” could be stronger. In today’s world, selling yourself is an essential skill to get ahead. Articulation of experiences is incredibly important. These are things I am still working on.

This past week, we had our New Student Orientation (NSO), welcoming incoming students and their families. This was a very exciting event for the SLT team, although I wasn’t excited at first. Days leading up to the event, my supervisors would ask for a rating of excitement vs. nervousness, and I was consistently the most nervous in comparison to my peers. My hesitation was partially because I was asked to speak publicly at the beginning of the day in a theatre full of strangers. Although the speech was minimal, the task seemed daunting. The thought of public speaking induces sweaty palms, shaky hands, a stuttering voice, and feelings of doubt and fear within myself. Regardless, I walked on staged with my chest out; shoulders back, a false sense of confidence, and conquered the speech. I received lots of positive feedback and support from the incoming students & families, as well as the SLT Team. It was really encouraging to see that the way I view myself is not often how others see me; other people see attributes, which I cannot always see in myself. I realized I had nothing to fear in the first place; I was being challenged in a safe environment for growth.

This false perception of self is probably common. So why is that? Why do we doubt ourselves? Why do we feel an instinct and then second-guess or ignore that gut feeling in our abilities, decision-making, or social situations?

Confidence is a relative term, and a spectrum. For example, in the past year, I have become a lot more confident in my appearance and my social presence, but in the workplace environment and tasks associated with professionalism, my confidence is lacking. I suppose these things grow in time, with practice and exposure.

Growth requires change, and often a challenge. This position has become more than just a “summer job” for myself. This job has provoked a lot of thought and reflection within myself, and presented me with personal challenges. These challenges are appreciated, as I am learning so much about my potential and myself. This is my first “professional job”, far different from working as a cashier or in a retail position. This is the first time I have been exposed to things like tactical meetings, professional blog posts, revising policies or documents, and acting in this kind of team dynamic. It has been empowering for me to me have these experiences and learning opportunities before getting into the “real world”. It is helpful for me to have gain professional experience while learning in a safe space, prior to graduation and looking for “real jobs”. Each day is a learning curve, and there is something to be taken away from each experience. I was not expecting to learn so much when I came into this job, but I am very grateful for this entire experience.