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Feeling like you don't Measure up at Work? Here's what to do.

Updated: May 25, 2023

As social beings, we all have an innate desire to belong and feel as though we measure up especially in our workplace. However, there may be a time when you feel exactly the opposite. A time when you feel as though you don’t fit in or have a place at the table.

What situations or scenarios could contribute to those feelings? What interpretations or perceptions could you hold that may exacerbate those experiences. It could be because you just lost your job, or you are new in your position and are trying to gain your footing.

You may feel marginalized by your manager or other senior leaders in your organization or there may have been a leadership transition and there is a high level of uncertainty about what changes may be coming around the corner.

Regardless of the situation or the contributor to your feeling not good enough, it just doesn’t feel good. In addition to this undesirable feeling your level of self-confidence may have taken a major jolt.

Rebounding and building back your confidence is critical for you in the workplace and truly feeling as though you measure up and belong is important to you and your psyche. So, if you are feeling as though your confidence level has bottomed out at work and needs repair use the following three tools to jack it up.

#1 Declare Your Worth:

If you are telling yourself absurd stories that you are not good enough you are giving your brain permission to find all the evidence to support those absurd tales. In a blog post, I noted that if you tell yourself that a work situation is untenable, that there is no possible way that you can move forward, your RAS, (Reticular Activating System) will find all the supporting evidence to prove you are right. The situation will be untenable and will lack a solution. So, what you think will determine what comes your way.

So, if you are feeling “less than” it is because you are informing your brain that you are less than. To combat that line of thinking start telling yourself that you are worthy, deserving and capable.

As a runner, there is a lot of inner work that I must do while running. Whether I am going out for a short or long run, I know it is mostly a mental exercise. To stay in the mental game, there are phrases that I repeat to myself while running that get me through.

“I got this!”, “Nice and steady,” and “You can do it” are some of the empowering statements that keep me mentally on track. I repeat those phrases whether I feel them to be true or not. I tell my brain that I got it, to go nice and steady and that I can do it. Whether it’s running or building your confidence at work positive inner statements are a great place to start.

#2 Take Stock in your Strengths:

As corny as this may sound it is true; you are here for a reason and you have many gifts to deliver to the world. Take stock in the areas that you excel in. Do some soul searching, explore and speak to your innate talents with pride.

If you are feeling a bit rattled or off your game because you just lost your job stop beating yourself up. Things do happen for a reason. Use this time to do some exploratory work. This may be a great time to assess your career path, evaluate more closely and identify what skills and aptitudes that you bring to the table and find ways to optimize your professional branding for your next position.

You may consider hiring a career coach like myself to work through this period to help you regroup, capture your talents and gifts and market yourself for the position and organization that will optimize your strengths.

#3 Do What Makes you Afraid:

Have you just been asked to present at a national conference and you have never spoken in front of a large group never mind on a topic that you have little expertise in? Are you worried that if you transition into another industry that your experience and your skill set will not be transferrable, valued or recognized?

How are you going to know if you are born speaker or were destined for another industry unless you take the scary risk and go for it? You won’t I am afraid to say.

There was a video that demonstrated a study conducted in NYC where a chalkboard was placed on a city corner with chalk. On the chalkboard it said, What’s Your Biggest Regret. Throughout the day various people wrote notes and phrases of their “regrets”. The common underlying theme was that most of the notes that people wrote were things they wished they had done but had not. No one indicated a regret of something that they did do. Therefore, get out there and do what makes you afraid.

As Eleanor Roosevelt said “you must do the things you think you cannot do.”

Measuring up at the workplace is up to you. Feeding your brain positive self-statements, taking stock of your gifts and talents and doing what makes you afraid are three strategies to build yourself up to enhance your self-worth.


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