I recently read an article in Fortune that highlighted Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg and discussed self-doubt. In this article, Sheryl says, “I’m a dreamer. I have big ideas for my company and for myself, but when it comes to action, I often hesitate, or worse, after I do something, I beat myself up over how I could have done it better. What I’ve come to learn is that the terrified feeling is part of being a professional, and especially part of being a female professional. I have learned to focus on what I can do one day at a time, ignoring the fear of failure. The opportunity to grow comes from taking risks, stretch assignments, and speaking up when you aren’t 100% confident. There may be a few bumps, but slight embarrassment only leads to learning.”
This was an excellent gut check for me this week! I was participating in a business meeting on Monday, and I was hesitant to jump into this particular conversation. I thought about what I wanted to say, and rethought about what I wanted to say before I finally mustered the courage to make a statement. Eventually, I said, “I have a question, which might not be a good question, so just bear with me…” Once I was finally able to spit out the real question, the other meeting attendees thought this was an excellent question, and it actually facilitated thought provoking discussion. What in the world was I so afraid of? Being off point? What others might think about me not knowing the answer? This sounds irrational as I think about the situation now, but unfortunately self-doubt is a common problem for women in business. I’m just happy to see its also a problem for some of the highest ranking women in corporate America, including Sheryl Sandberg.
Do you experience self-doubt? How do you overcome it? I would love to read your comments. (I don’t think this is just an issue for the ladies…)
Link to the full article: http://management.fortune.cnn.com/2013/03/05/sheryl-sandberg-confidence-self-doubt/