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Believing in myself. It is insanely hard.

Photo by Ann H from Pexels

I am an ISB graduate. I have 10+ years of experience in marketing. I have owned and nailed every role and set high expectations for every successor to my role.

And yet, when I browse to apply to what could be my next role, I falter. I falter to the point of being nervous, questioning my abilities, and being unsure of what I could accomplish. The thoughts in my mind bounce around relentlessly:

What could I possibly bring to this role?

What makes me think I’m a fit?

I’ve not done most of what this job description asks for.

So on and so forth.

I’m writing this in a positive space - that’s the only reason the first paragraph appears as it does and why I’m unable to think of more negative thoughts. I know they’re not far.

I stumble. I pick myself up. I nurture myself with positive messages.

If you don’t apply, it will always be NO!

You’re a strong confident woman. You can do this

It’s alright if you fail. It’s not okay if you don’t try.

Given my situation in life for the past few years, the focus is on my career. I wonder if it is because there is a value attached that pushes me to quantify my worth - a salary; a figure that helps me compare my 'worth' with my friends and peers. A salary gives me a number to strive for and more (salary) is always good or so we're told. In my mind, I always fall short in comparison.

I wonder where this lack of confidence comes from. Because there are times when I’m confident. There was a time when I was overly confident to the point of being narcissistic. How did things change? When did things change? Why did things change? Seemingly simple questions that can take a lifetime to answer.

I’ve realized that a lot has to do with lone thoughts that we turn into strong beliefs. Beliefs such as:

I’m not worth it.

What’s the point, I’ll only get rejected.

I can’t handle rejection.

Every rejection is a needle on a punctured wound.

I’m no good.

I’m stupid.

There are so many applicants who would qualify for this, but not me. Definitely not me.

I applied to ISB because I wanted to go the next level in marketing. And the year at ISB helped immensely. It broadened my thoughts and horizons and the way I could multi-task. It introduced multiple new concepts and a thought process that helped me adopt a holistic approach. I could go on endlessly. One silver lining to ISB is that I made friends who helped. With everything.

I did not have the doubt then. ISB was the only business school I applied to. And it made sense with my work experience and the timing of the program. I also had nothing to lose if I didn’t make it.

When I compare that to job applications, I still have nothing to lose. And yet I agonize for weeks and then choose not to apply. I can reason now that perhaps I've told myself that after a high-profile MBA, I should be capable of more. I should be able to achieve more. From where I stand though, career-wise, I'm a failure.

Like I said it’s the beliefs I tied myself to. Beliefs such as 'there's no point trying' and 'you'll only fail, so what's the point?'. Most of the time, these beliefs do not serve me. I can rephrase that to say that these beliefs do not serve me at all. They are burdensome and painful and unnecessary. And most of all, they keep me from moving forward, they keep me from growing.

So how do I move past this? I'm attempting at being self-aware. I catch myself when negative thoughts arise. I am writing more - it's something I love. I'm reading a whole lot more (something that I also love). Most of all, I'm learning to love myself. To accept myself for who and what I am and taking life one step at a time.

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