Does everything you do feel like it has hidden pitfalls?
Are you surprised by good news, and constantly expecting bad news?
In short, are you always waiting for the other shoe to drop?
I sure am. Not as much anymore–not nearly as much–but it’s still a bad habit of mine.
Because that’s what self-doubt is: A habit.
Instead of worrying about what could go wrong, or the mistakes you haven’t even made yet, why not think about the hundreds of other things that you did do right?
Successes never stick in your memory as much as failures, but that doesn’t negate the fact that your successes still happened.
I think about this because things are going well in my professional life. Really well. I’m starting to achieve some level of mastery. I’m starting to, for the first time in my legal career, shake the imposter syndrome, that is:
high-achieving individuals marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud.” Despite external evidence of their competence, those exhibiting the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.
I’ve always felt this way, even as a musician, when I’d have a successful recital, or pass an audition, or play a really good show, and people would compliment my playing even though I thought I was pretty bad.
“Are they just saying this to make me feel better?” I’d think. “Are they being nice?”
Why did I think this?
Who knows? I’m no psychoanalyst. Bad experiences growing up? Certain overbearing people inculcating a sense of self-loathing?
At the end of the day, though, WHO CARES?
My message is this: We’re all imperfect, and we’re all going to screw up. Don’t let the past ruin your life.
Personally, being religious, I also put my trust in God. This might not be your bag, and that’s fine.
The point is this: Anything you can use to help ease your anxieties–short of drugs, which I never recommend–should be used.
I’ve found that soliciting feedback from colleagues and supervisors does wonders to ease anxieties. Because if you are on the wrong track, they can let you know before those thing do become real issues.
And if the other shoe does drop? Oh well. There are few mistakes in life that can’t be fixed.
Here’s one final thing to keep in mind:
Maybe, just maybe, you really are good at what you do.
And check out my Instagram here.