How to Reduce Self Doubt at Work

How would you rate your confidence at work out of ten? Do you sometimes feel like you’re not up to the challenges that your work throws your way?

If you feel that way, don’t be hard on yourself. It’s natural and normal. We all feel that way at different times – it’s just the situation and the extent that varies.

Today’s wellness tip focuses on ways you can reduce self doubt so it doesn’t hold you back from being all you can be and doing all you want to do.


Self doubt is a common feeling at work. We all doubt our own abilities at times, particularly when facing a challenge at work that we haven’t faced before or are unused to dealing with. It’s normal and natural to feel that way.

The problem with doubting your own abilities is that it can create a self-fulfilling prophecy. You think you’re going to fail and so your mind looks for evidence to confirm that thought. Your thoughts then lead to behaviours that produce less than ideal results.

See if you can recognise this cycle in yourself…

You tell yourself that you’re going to botch a presentation even though you know your subject matter well and have done similar presentations before. Your mind goes crazy thinking about all the times you’ve messed up in the past. This leads to feeling anxious, which impairs your performance. It’s a cycle that many of us know only too well.

However… there is good news! This cycle can work in the other direction too! (That’s a relief, hey?)

Research proves that you can also create a self-fulfilling prophecies that support your success.

It’s entirely possible to manage the voice in your head that causes you fear and instead focus on a new voice that pushes you forward by focusing on the good within yourself and your positive attributes.

The challenge is to allow yourself to feel those normal feelings of self doubt and to act anyway.

We’re all able to walk and chew gum. The same is true for feeling self doubt whilst also replacing unhelpful negative thoughts with positive and supportive self-talk.

Action Steps

Here are 3 ways you can start training your mind toward greater self-confidence…

1. Stop trying to be perfect

A commitment to excellence is admirable… so is wisdom about when good enough is good enough. Tweak your expectations until you find a sweet spot where you’re doing your best without being driven by fear or a need for approval. This will help you feel more confident that you can achieve what you set out to do, without negative self talk undermining you.

2. Stop dwelling on the past

Don’t keep going over past disappointments or failures in your head. It only reinforces the neural pathways in your brain for negative thoughts and feelings. Your past doesn’t have to be your future.

Focus on the present moment, with positive thoughts about your future. Visualise things going well and turning out as you hope. Then take one small step forward at a time.

3. Start developing your strengths and skills

Often our self-confidence suffers because we feel unsure about our abilities. The best way to build confidence in yourself is to identify your strengths and work out how you can use them in the situations where you feel unsure. Then practice – we don’t get good at something by hoping!

How can you apply these in your work life this week?

Adele Sinclair is a wellness coach and trainer who focuses on mental wellbeing at work. She has a background in management and experienced job burnout twice as a result of ongoing work stress. If you liked this article, you'll love Adele's coaching programs to help you with strategies for a great worklife.