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emerald86 28th October 2017 7:07 PM

How can I develop self-confidence at work?
I started a new job about 6 months ago, and when I first started, I was filled with enthusiasm and excitement about the new project that I'd be working on. I got to know my colleagues, and I had a certain sense of vigor. Around the time that I started, another guy joined the team as well, and my boss let me know that we'd be working pretty closely together on the project.

A few days into the project, I realized how incredibly knowledgeable, competent, and intelligent this guy really is. He not only seemed to know everything about the subject like the back of his hand, but he picked up new concepts and topics with such ease that it seemed like he had worked on this exact same project many times before. I knew right away that he was brilliant.

Because we were working so closely together, I sort of unintentionally and unfairly started comparing myself to him--I didn't want to do it, but I couldn't help myself. I know this comparison was extremely unfair because he had over 6 years of prior work experience in this field, and this is my very first job in this field--I'm an entry-level employee, and he's much more senior.

As time passed, he started going above and beyond, impressing everyone on our team with all his suggestions and hard work, and assisting all the other teammates. Our boss recognized him with an award, and starting giving him more opportunities. At this point, I should have known that comparing myself to him was utterly nonsensical, but I still couldn't help myself.

I still work hard, read up on the subject outside of work, ask questions when I can, try to take initiative in my own way, and learn from this guy as much as possible, but somehow I just get this nagging feeling that what I'm doing is not enough. I feel as if my input and ideas aren't as valued as his (maybe that is true to an extent--considering he has much more experience). Whenever my coworkers have an issue with something, they always go to him before they come to me. Whenever they have important news to share or a question to ask, he's the first person they go to. I'm not sure if this is normal, but in a way, it's making me feel drained and worthless.

Many weeks ago, my boss came up to me and told that I'm doing a very good job, but I had a difficult time believing him. Perhaps I'm being hard on myself, but I'm not sure.

How can I stop comparing myself to him (and to everyone else), and get over this feeling? Realistically speaking, I know that I'm not my coworkers--I am myself and I shouldn't be comparing my performance to that of anyone else's. But it's just so difficult.

newmoon 28th October 2017 8:02 PM

there will always be someone at work who is better than you at something and someone below you that sees you as enviable and put together. you might not even know it, but i bet some of your co-workers look up to you the same way you look up to this other guy. imagine yourself as a role model to other people, because you might be. maybe look for ways to mentor and share knowledge with people below you as well - perhaps sharing your knowledge base will give a greater sense of accomplishment b/c they will see you as you see this other guy. some people do have natural abilities in some areas, but no one is a complete package. this guy might have it 100% together at work and be at 0% in his personal life, and you might be the opposite. you have to always remember that no one has it all and despite outward appearances he might suffer from insecurities too. it sounds like you're a valuable employee as well, and instead of being in awe of this person look at the skills you have that make you different from him. comparisons are a funny thing b/c they do make us feel inferior and the person you're usually comparing yourself to isn't worth the energy you could be devoting to yourself :)

bummer 29th October 2017 3:30 AM

let go of that ego
humility comes with experience. instead of trying to play the one up game, listen. listen to how he interacts. how he comes to conclusions. listen to why other's respect his opinion. as you gain knowledge and confidence in your work, emulate the good things you see in him and strive to improve upon what he can teach you.

Charlotte123 8th November 2017 3:15 PM

I'm an academic, and we call this "imposter syndrome" - the belief that you are secretly a fraud and everyone is going to find out. The thing is - everyone has it, and nobody is actually a fraud - at least in the way you fear.

This guy probably comes across as really smart because he's well-spoken and confident - not necessarily because he's smarter or more capable. Confidence comes mostly from self-talk. You have the training, the education, the skills to do your job and do it well. YOU are the brilliant one. You just have to believe it. And until you believe it - pretend you believe it. ACT confident and you will appear confident and eventually you will be confident.

Also remember that this guy probably feels the same way at times - everyone does. Everyone has doubts about their capabilities, but they are just insecurities - not actual measures of your competency.

Fake it until you make it. It works, I promise.

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