5 Ways to Conquer Self-Doubt at Work

*Please note that this blog post contains referral links where a benefit is shared with me for the referral.

Self-doubt can come to you like a silent storm.  At first, you sense a small inclination that something is not right.  And then all of the sudden you are caught in a downpour of self-sabotage, negative self-talk, over-thinking, and second-guessing.

Even if you are not someone who often gets off track, when true self-doubt comes for the first time you can feel completely scattered, unfocused, and defeated.

Self-doubt is normal, but it doesn’t have to hold you back from accomplishing what you set out to accomplish. Here are some tips for overcoming self-doubt and becoming more confident in your abilities at work.

“Our doubts are traitors,

and make us lose the good we oft might win,

by fearing to attempt.”

William Shakespeare

1. Be Honest with Yourself

You can attempt to give a confident impression to others (and sometimes you should), but you always want to admit to yourself when you are experiencing self-doubt.  This gives you the opportunity to pause, inquire within yourself about the source of your concerns, and attempt to address them.

Have you been given a new project and just aren’t sure where to start?

Do you know what to do, but are afraid you may fail?

Is it that you have an idea that you believe is solid, but you are concerned others will not approve of it the way that you do?

Knowing your core issues of concern can give you opportunity to focus and address the problem head-on. 

If you don’t know where to start, maybe reflect on a project you did well in the past and how you began then.  Or you may be inspired by another person’s work.

When you want to ensure what you do is approved by others, it is always a great idea to get clarity and insight regarding their needs before you start.

And sometimes it is simply worth taking the risk on yourself, moving forward, and learning from your experience.

Do your best and you can always feel satisfied that you put forth your best effort regardless of the outcome.

Be honest with yourself regarding fears, concerns, or areas of opportunity.  Then work diligently to respond, react, and resolve your concerns. 

By taking productive action to calm your fears and resolve your worries, you can remove self-doubt and build better confidence in yourself.

2. Get Support

When you are experiencing self-doubt at work, it may be necessary to get support from outside of work. 

You may have an entire resource bank of family members, trusted friends, or even co-workers from former jobs who can help with the issues that you are confronting.

Other people may have dealt with the exact issue that you are facing and minimally can make you feel as if you are not alone in your dilemma. 

You do not want to lean on a “misery-loves-company” campaign.  But you may instead want to feel a sense of hope that people you respect and admire have insecurities too.  

And further to find evidence that it is possible to move from self-doubt to self-empowerment.

In addition to those you know personally, it can be tremendously impactful to lean on different motivational speakers, social media influencers, podcasters, and more that remind you that self-doubt is commonly an ingredient of success.

In all cases, to gain the right support for your self-doubt from others, it is important to be open about your concerns.  And also, to be receptive to the guidance that you are provided to soften your anxiety.

Even if you are not sure that others’ advice is applicable, be patient to listen as you may learn a new method for calming your self-doubt that you never considered on your own.

3. Take Small Steps

When you find yourself with more on your plate than what anyone could conceivably do you likely are going to feel self-doubt. 

No matter if you loaded your own plate or someone else did, the outcome is the same.  It’s hard to feel confident when confronted with the impossible.

When the pile is high and the list is long, it is important to start small.  Don’t try to tackle everything at once.

Instead, take baby steps toward your goal.

Start with one thing at a time.

The goal then is two-fold.  Get the small things done and gain momentum and confidence by repeatedly getting things done.

It is harder to have self-doubt when you are on a winning streak.  So create a path of small steps that keep you winning and erase concerns and self-doubt at the same time.

4. Keep Learning

If you have self-doubt because you don’t know something, then figure out the best way for you to learn.

Never before have there been so many ways to learn new information and skills.

If the information or practice that you need is very specific to your current place of business, take a vested interest in spending time with others who are more knowledgeable.

So long as others have time to share, most people love when others take a real interest in their job.  Simply ask questions and gain answers.

There are many who will take the route of formal education with college courses, certifications, conferences, or trainings in certain fields. These are excellent options for learning and broadening your network of individuals to learn from and share what you have learned.

There are also other vehicles that are more easily accessible and less costly depending on your field of interest.

Skillshare is an online educational platform with thousands of classes on a wide range of subjects for those interested in creative fields.  With an active membership, you have an open field of opportunity to try different courses and complete as many as you want.

This is an excellent opportunity to gain new skills or to expand upon existing skills. 

And what truly helps is that you can browse and find the right personality, teaching style, and instruction type that fits you personally.

MasterClass is another online educational platform boasting an impressive list of courses and a wide range of subjects from economics to writing to business strategy and personal branding. 

In addition to gaining access to a diversified field of subjects with well-crafted course content, you have the added benefit of learning from the absolute leaders in the respective fields. 

Pulitzer Prize winners, Nobel Prize winners, best-selling authors, Grammy Award winners, and more.

The curated information is presented in an engaging style and often marries the share of information with a more in-depth and behind-the-scenes view of the presenter.  This not only makes the information shared more intriguing but makes learning that much more engaging, entertaining, and fun.

Choose the method of learning that best suits you.  As you learn more and adopt your learnings to what you do, you will increase your confidence level along with your skill and abilities. 

Learning is the key to expanding your knowledge and also to diminish your self-doubt concerns.

5. Give Yourself Permission to Fail

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.

Thomas A. Edison

The hardest thing to do when you fear failing is to admit to yourself that you really may fail.  But self-doubt becomes stronger when you avoid the truth.

In reality, even experts can fail.  And most often the biggest successes have learned the most through their failures.

So learning to fail and then continue to move forward can be one of the best skills for you to learn.

Do not let fear stop you from trying new things.

Ignore self-doubt if it leads you to hold yourself back.

Manage your negative self-talk if it distracts you from your goals.

And learn to take risks so that you can teach yourself all the ways that you succeed.

You will succeed by working hard, and you will succeed by making processes easier.  It is possible for you to fail and also to recover. 

Or you may fail and never do that same thing ever again!

Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.

Napolean Hill

All the roads that you take after risk and failure lead you to know yourself better.

You can conquer self-doubt when you know yourself well enough to believe that you can thrive in any situation.   


Self-doubt is something we all face at some time.  However, to gain the success that you desire at work, it is important to find ways to conquer it when it comes.  

Gain better insight into yourself by exploring the specific reasons you feel doubtful.  And discover ways to ease this self-doubt by finding support from others or challenging yourself to address your concerns.

Self-doubt can be diminished by actively working to build confidence in yourself. 

You can build confidence by learning more through others, studying independently, or even picking yourself back up after a failure.

While the road to success is more likely to include failure, stress, and self-doubt than not, this does not mean that you must suffer through every challenge. 

Take a proactive approach toward facing your fears, challenging your doubts, and building your confidence.  You will be stronger in your work because you took steps to gain strength and skill in conquering your self-doubt.

Looking for more inspiration on being your best at work. Take a look at these posts:

3 Ways to Change Your Work Life for the Better NOW

How to Conquer Self Doubt at Work with Positive Affirmations

5 Reasons You Want to Quit a Job When Maybe You Shouldn’t

Posts You May Also Like…