When you feel ‘the dip’; when you feel your confidence waiver, instead of giving up, slowing down and settling into the plateau, it’s time to accelerate and soar.
We can all experience a crisis of confidence at one time or another in our careers. Over the past 4 years I have worked with professionals from all different industries on building their confidence to become unshakeable.
One of the things I’ve noticed during this work and that I personally experienced myself, is what I call the Confidence Dip which occurs mid-career. Let me explain…
You start your career brimming with self-belief and optimism. You have big dreams. It’s such an exciting stage of life; being open to possibilities and ready to take on the world. It’s a fresh start, a new beginning.
You work hard, build your reputation and experience the highs and lows of life. You’re cruising along but then at some point, mid-career you suddenly experience the dip or maybe it’s a feeling that’s been creeping up on you for a little while. You no longer feel like that bright-eyed confident professional you once were.
• You’re tired. You’ve been working hard for 15-20 years, maybe longer. It feels like you need a break. Maybe it’s starting to feel like Groundhog Day.
• You’ve had your confidence and what feels like your soul slowly sucked out of you. I did a vlog a couple of years ago on Career Dementors (based on the ghostly characters from the Harry Potter movies). You’ve had one or more leaders or colleagues who over time through their words and behaviours have made you doubt yourself and your abilities.
• You’re playing the comparison game. At this stage in your career, it’s so easy to look around and see what others have accomplished and feel deflated. Look at how much they’ve done and how little I’ve done. Social media adds to this of course. Everyone’s life seems so colourful and exciting. Hmm…
• Finally, you’ve added extra roles and responsibilities to your life. You’re someone’s spouse or partner, you’ve suffered devasting heart break, you’ve had children, you’ve become the carer for elderly parents, you’re a community or industry leader. There are now lots of people pulling you in different directions and you have to swap hats several times during the day. Life is busy and feels complex.
All of this means adds up to feeling lost, feeling like you’re not good enough and not knowing what do to next. I’ve had people hold their hands up and say to me “I’m done. I’m just going to ride out my career.” They’re experiencing the dip and don’t know how to pull themselves out of it.
So, what do you do when you feel like this?
1. Acknowledge that the dip is natural and it happens to the most accomplished, extraordinary people. You’re in good company. Remember it’s just a dip and you will come out the other side.
2. Take the time to reset and reconnect with yourself. The foundation of unshakeable confidence is. Knowing who are really are – deeply and intimately. It’s time to discover your values your beliefs, what have you learnt, reconnect with your magic – your strengths and know your story.
3. Find a cheerleader. Someone or group of people who can help get you through this time. Your inner cheerleader is a little flat at the moment, she’s put her pom poms down for a midgame break but she’ll be back. Acknowledge that you need someone else to help inspire and motivate you.
The great thing about us human beings, is that we can rescript ourselves, change the way we think and make different choices at any time of our lives.
The dip is a time for you to rediscover yourself and emerge stronger, more courageous and more confident than you have ever been before. You now have the experience, knowledge and wisdom to step up in your career.
When you feel the dip; when you feel your confidence waiver, instead of giving up, slowing down and settling into the plateau, it’s time to accelerate and soar.