Saturday, February 4, 2012

Patience and Confidence

I've recently talked to a couple of people who are starting new jobs.  It's exciting to do something new, but it's also a scary transition to go from a job that you knew well and felt comfortable performing to a brand-new role in which you don't have all the answers. 

Whether you're faced with a new job, promotion, account, or a completely different company, you have to adjust and learn.  New programs, tools, team members--even simple tasks like finding your way around, navigating the email and voicemail systems, and tracking down new lunch spots--can throw you off and make you question your capabilities.

I've always heard that it takes at least six months to feel comfortable and confident in a new position, which is a reassuring reminder in those early days.  I find myself telling others who are just starting a new gig to be patient with themselves.

It's funny though... because I'm not reminding myself.  In the past month or so, I've totally changed my career path, started my own business on top of finishing grad school and everything else on my plate.  For some reason, I have so easily forgotten that this is a new job.  It's a new company... one that I'm in charge of.  I have to be patient with myself as I figure out each step, even the little ones.

It is tough for me to be patient.  I'm a fairly impatient person by nature (I guess that comes with perfectionism), and it's strange to not feel confident doing my job when I have felt that way for the past few years.  Sure, changing accounts and getting promoted meant I had to deal with new challenges and learn new skills, but I went to the same office for over five years.  I spent a lot of time building relationships.  I practiced skills over and over until they were like second nature... shooting out emails, putting together print plans, negotiating, meeting with vendors, providing recommendations.

Now, I find myself second-guessing the smallest details, those things that don't matter to anyone but me.  I take everything personally because I'm a one-woman business and I am a newbie.  On the outside, I'm using a "fake it till I make it" attitude to hide any uncertainty... and I think I'm doing fine with that.  But inside, I have to reassure myself. 

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There are a few things I like to keep in mind, thoughts that boost my confidence (or at least help me deal with that nervous, I'm-not-sure-what-I'm-doing feeling)...

1) I am who I am.  I can only try my best.  I can act confident, but when it comes down to it, I can't change who I am as a person.  I can work to improve and learn, but I can't make everyone happy or get every job out there.  I have to remember that I have a lot to offer: my strengths and skills in writing, communication, relationship building, creativity, organization...  With what I know and who I am, I can only try my best and keep moving forward.

2) Take things with a grain of salt.  I don't know what people are dealing with, how their day is going, or whether they intended for the tone of their emails to come across that way.  If I read into every detail or let feedback bring me down, I won't survive in this business.

3) Every failure is an opportunity to learn.  All of you know that I can't stand failure... or even just a little criticism or a very-nicely-worded rejection.  But those things are going to happen.  I'm going to get things wrong along the way, but that isn't a reason to give up or feel down.  It's a chance to learn and gain experience, then move on and do better next time.  Every "no" brings me closer to a "yes."  Even the veteran writers and business owners out there continue to learn.  Besides, if I didn't stay challenged, I'm sure I would get bored.

I just have to remember these points... and have a little patience with myself.  Do any of you have mantras, ideas, thoughts that help keep you feeling confident when insecurity creeps up?

8 comments:

  1. Your post sings all the lyrics my heart is humming. I'm actually six months into starting JostWrite, and many days I feel like I have no idea what I am doing.

    One mantra I hang on to is "Start where you are and keep going." I'm going to keep moving forward. Also, when I decided to believe and enjoy the journey, I have more peace. Day by Day. Little by Little. Steps by Steps, Poco a Poco. Patience is a virtue I struggle with.

    One last thing, as long as I let my trademark be Excellence, Integrity, Hardwork and Good Judgement, I can rise out of anything as I fake it 'til I make it.:)

    Geez, Sorry, I just wrote an epistle but you wrote all I've being struggling with

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