A low self-esteem means experiencing self-doubt and a lack of confidence. Generally struggling with your own self-worth can lead to low self-esteem in work. Work encompasses both an actual job, the job search, and any schooling and education you are going for. Managing this can be stressful and paralyzing. Dealing with low self-esteem in work generally leads to constant rumination over job/school performance and not being ok with anything less than “perfect.” Operating on this level is exhausting and not sustainable. It also leads to other difficult consequences.
COMMON IMPACT OF LOW SELF-ESTEEM IN WORK
- Anxiety around work performance
- Worry about how you are being judged by co-workers/boss/supervisor
- Not feeling secure in job stability
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Not being able to get a job or start school
- Harsh criticism towards oneself
- Selling yourself short on career goals
- Missing deadlines
When you have a low self-esteem in work it is hard to get anything done. This lack of confidence takes up a lot mental energy and time. This makes it hard to actually do what you need to and can keep you from striving for all you are capable of.
HOW TO MANAGE LOW SELF-ESTEEM IN WORK
- Acknowledge that you are experiencing low self-esteem. You gain a lot more control and power when you take the time to own what is going on. It can be easy to convince yourself that these high expectations are realistic and a sign that you are setting high standards in a positive way. The fact that at the core you are dealing with self-doubt gets lost. Once you can acknowledge the problem, identify how it is impacting you in work. Making these connections is an important first step to overcoming low self-esteem.
- Label the fear. Low self-esteem in work often leads to some fear of the worst-case scenario. That might be failing out of school, not getting into the program or job your want, getting criticized, or being fired. Ask yourself what is this fear. Once you identify what it is, you can then go into the next step and challenge it.
- Challenge the Catastrophe. Ask yourself how likely that feared outcome really is. Think about other possible outcomes. Look at all the facts of the situation and see the bigger picture. For example, let’s say you are having trouble getting a work project into your boss for review out of fear of not doing “a good enough job,” and then getting fired because of it. Look at past performance- you have been doing fine so far and have not been fired. Remember that your boss reviews the project so that you can make necessary improvements and that this does not mean you did a bad job.
- Flip self-judgements. Low self-esteem in work tends to lead to many harsh self-judgments, for example thinking “I’m so stupid, what’s wrong with me?” Catch when you are telling yourself these things and change the narrative. You may have made an error on something or not gotten the grade you wanted, but that does not mean something about your overall character. Separate something that happened from who you are as a person. Combine this with the next step of encouraging yourself.
- Encourage yourself. Come up with positive statements about your performance and capabilities. Things like “I am strong and capable,” and “I am good at what I do.” Remember past feedback from others and use that to remind yourself of your talent. Keep a list of all the successes you have had in your career path so far and review it regularly. Don’t let the negative script keep playing in your mind, keep the focus positive.
- Celebrate success. Take time to give yourself credit for when you have succeeded. Don’t allow yourself to downplay or gloss over these successes. Do something concrete to actually celebrate and commend yourself.
Remember, low self-esteem in work is generally indicative of an overall low sense of self-worth. Therefore, working on confidence and self-esteem building as a whole is really important. Be on the look out for more tips and tools to help manage self-esteem. Sign up here to receive tips on self-esteem building and other important mental health topics as soon as they are released!