What To Do When You Don’t Feel Qualified For Your Job
You’ve landed your dream job. Congratulations! Except, now that the excitement’s worn off, another less welcome emotion has started to creep in. Fear. Fear that this was all a mistake, that you’re not actually qualified for this job after all. What if you show up, give your very best and then find that it’s not enough?
You’re not alone.
Earlier this year I was kicking-off the first session for one of my group coaching programmes. Everyone seemed to be settling in well until I discovered that one of the participants very nearly didn’t show up to the next session. Why? She didn’t feel that she was qualified enough to be sat at the table.
Her self-confidence was getting in the way. This is an incredibly talented, driven and smart woman, and her fear of not being worthy was trying to block her from continuing with the programme. Yet, she continued to show up. She put herself out there and knocked-down those barriers. She’s now running an incredibly successful business here in Brunei and I’m constantly inspired by how she’s growing each and every day.
Sometimes ‘faking it until you make it’ isn’t enough. Sometimes you need to tackle those issues of self-confidence and self-belief head-on so that you can grow into the confident leader you’re capable of being. Nobody wants to feel like they’re walking on eggshells the whole time, you need to be able to put your insecurities to one side in order to do your job properly.
Find the cause
Before you can start moving forwards, you need to find out what it is that’s making you feel underqualified for your job. What has created these limiting beliefs?
Try to retrace your steps back to when these feelings of not being qualified first started. Perhaps someone made a throwaway comment in your last role that really stuck, maybe you find your job description intimidating or it could be that you’ve fallen into the comparison trap.
62% of employees have been offered a job where they didn’t meet the exact qualifications. Your employer didn’t hire you just because of what you offered on paper. They hired you for your potential to grow, for your own unique experience and for your compatibility with the company culture.
It’s time to rewrite your thoughts and remember that you were interviewed, you were hired and you deserve to be here.
As you work to rewrite your narrative you’re going to need to gather your own evidence to prove your qualifications to yourself. This means building yourself a folder or diary of everything you’ve achieved that you can turn to when your confidence is a little low to remind yourself of all that you’re capable of. Really, you’re going to need to become your own cheerleader.
Treat yourself to a new notebook and start noting down everything you do at work, with a particular emphasis on the big projects that are integral to your role. Be sure to include your personal input and how your contributions impacted the end result. Not only will you be amazed at how much you’re doing, but this is also a useful reminder of all that you’ve achieved to look back at the next time you’re interviewing for a new role. Look at everything that you can do!
If your company has a culture that encourages open dialogue (and I really hope it does), ask your manager or your coworkers for feedback. Make it easy for them to be both friendly and constructive by asking two simple questions:
- What am I doing well?
- What could I improve?
The first question will help you see all the good that you’re doing, whilst the second will help you to continue to grow and develop. It’s always a little scary to start asking for constructive criticism but it really is the best way to grow and, the more you do it, the easier it’ll get.
Now that you’re focussed on what it is you’d like to develop, and what it is that you’re doing well, you can start taking action.
Put yourself forward for new projects and test your skills. You’ll find that the more you challenge yourself, the more your skills and experience will grow. As will your self-confidence. I’m pretty sure that you’ll surprise yourself when you find out just how much you’re already capable of, you just haven’t tried it yet!
Don’t shy away from your fear. If you don’t fully understand something or don’t yet have the knowledge needed to complete a project, try to reframe the situation. Rather than looking at that blocker as the end of the road, ask yourself what you can do to overcome it. What is in your control? We can all keep on learning, and we can all ask for help when we need it.
It’s important to remember that this is a process. Much as I’d love it to be the case, you’re not going to wake up one morning and suddenly feel like the most qualified person in the office! It’s going to take daily practise and consistent effort.
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