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One of my friends recently took a high-paying job in sales. I was happy for her and caught up for coffee with her to tell her in person.
She’d gone through a similar career battle as me trying to find the right role. I’ve always looked up to her as she has this way of selling that is seamless, inspiring and effective. I sometimes sit awake at night hoping I can master the art of sales like her one day.
When we caught up for coffee, I asked her about the first few days of the new gig. In my mind, I imagined her kicking goals and closing deals like Elon Musk did in his PayPal days. I pictured high fives, big pitches, folk wearing suits and celebration dinners.
Then I got taken back to ground zero.
“I am not sure I can do this. I don’t know if I can sell and will have a job in six months.”
I was taken back.
My idea of one of the best salespeople I’d ever met was completely turned upside down.
Luckily I had witnessed this mystical event before — it wasn’t my first rodeo, as a former prime minister once said to me.
Doubts are normal.
What my friend taught me was that even the very best have their doubts.
Having doubts is normal.
Having doubts is part of the process.
We’re all scared shitless when we try something new.
There is no trying something new without a bit of fear, anxiety and a ton of doubts. We’re often wondering “Am I enough? Can I do it?”
Image Credit: Maria Sporthelsa
Seeing doubts in others brings empathy.
I get to have people pitch me all the time at work.
Knowing that each of us has doubts has helped me be more empathetic. The reason is because I know in my mind that as someone is pitching, they too are having their doubts. They are hoping that their pitch is working. They are hoping I’m feeling the way they do about their life’s work.
Seeing doubts in others makes you less critical of people.
You provide feedback in a completely different way. I try to imagine myself when someone is pitching. I have thoughts like “How would I feel if I was doing the same pitch? What doubts would I have?”
Don’t just notice your own doubts. See other people’s doubts and use them to benefit the way you live your life.
Lean into your doubts.
I’ve had these same thoughts and I’ve learned that you have to lean into your doubts.
Your doubts are there to drive you forward and hold you accountable.
Your doubts are the things you need to work on. Without doubts, you’d enter into situations overly confident, underprepared and flashing your ego like a Rolex watch. Doubts keep you grounded.
When I walked into my first leadership role in a long time, a few months back, I had doubts too. “Will people listen to me? Can I hit the revenue target?” There were endless questions floating around in my head.
There is no answer to your doubts.
When I had doubts about being a leader again, I realized that there is no answer to each doubt you have.
The endless movie script that plays in your head will never stop if you try and answer every doubt.
Doubts are a sign.
They are a sign you’re taking a risk, breaking your comfort zone and growing as a person.
Doubts come knocking at your door when you’ve said yes to an opportunity. Doubts mean that you didn’t settle for perfection and decided that you’re good enough.
Knowing you’re good enough will help you win the war against your doubts.
When Richard Branson launches a rocket into space, he too has doubts. The people you admire because of how they’ve achieved the impossible, experience the phenomena of doubts more than the average person does.
Having doubts increases the more you chase success.
You could fail.
That’s the harsh truth.
What I know from experience is that having regrets because you never tried — due to your doubts — will leave you in a far worse state emotionally. Accepting the fact you have doubts, and failing, is something you can handle.
Understand your doubts.
Learn from your doubts.
And keep moving forward knowing you’re going to have them.
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