When did I stop believing in myself?
I’ve been asking myself this question a lot lately. There’s a new opportunity for me at work- to apply, get interviewed (hopefully), and advance (fingers crossed)- but I keep doubting myself. When I take other people’s opinions of myself out of the scenario, I’m fine. I’m raring to go. I’m 110% thinking I CAN DO THIS. But when I look at myself through the lens of other people, my vision becomes completely skewed. I start to believe that people at work can only see me as what I have been- a competent volunteer coordinator. But nothing more. And my pioneering spirit takes a hit.
The real kicker is, no one has ever said anything negative to me about my job performance. Quite the contrary, actually. So why do I put this false negativity on myself? Who will believe in me if I can’t? How can I achieve my career goals if I won’t let go of the negative self-talk?
This new position within my agency is exactly what I was hoping to do when I moved to Seattle two years ago. I even turned down a higher paying position just like this at a different agency because I felt more pulled to the mission of the non-profit I currently work at. I had a gut feeling and, as I am wont to do, I went with it. Even though it was lower pay and work that I felt I could do very easily. Sometimes I’ve wondered if I took the easy way out. But I was new in town and wanted to have a job I was sure I could be successful at. And I have been.
I feel like an island though. Like my position is isolated with a bunch of bridges to other programs but mainly, I operate on my own. Everyone at the agency has had to work with me in some capacity and the work I do can positively or negatively effect their work. This is both good and bad. This new position would allow me to do what I used to do back in California- something I was very good at. But unfortunately, that former job also came with a lot of drama and frankly, I have what I would call PTSD from it. It’s a long and involved story but the short of it is: I was seemingly very well supported by the higher ups for years and then, in a heart beat, back stabbed by the Board of Directors and the Executive Director (who was also a close friend) while being scapegoated for serious issues within the agency that were not mine. It was painful to be betrayed like that. To believe that one thing was happening when something entirely different was happening. It felt like how I imagine being in politics feels like.
So when I think about applying for this new position within my agency, I freeze up. I start to think of how it was back then at the old job and how awful that experience was. I start to wonder if I was any good at all. I begin to imagine similar shit happening now and panic. And then I wonder if anyone at work can see me as more than I have been these past two years to them- pigeonholed in a job that is only using about 25% of my actual talent.
I know it is time for a change but can I muster up the belief in myself to go for it?