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  • Writer's pictureJackie Booth

Are you struggling with self-doubt and questioning your leadership abilities?

How often do you doubt yourself and question your leadership abilities?

If you’re anything like me, when I first started managing and leading others, I felt like a fraud most of the time. I was full of self doubt.

So, you are not alone!

Whilst that’s nice to acknowledge, let’s also explore why we feel this way.

And, most importantly, how we can overcome these feelings.

Why we have self-doubt and question our abilities

In my early days of being a leader, I constantly questioned whether I was capable or had the right qualifications or experience. It can be hard at times to feel like you belong or have the confidence to get the job done.

Self-doubt is a pretty common hurdle in leadership. You’re pulled every which way, negotiating priorities and receiving instructions from senior staff, tackling new projects and workstreams, leading meetings, or managing conflicts and expectations.

It can feel that the challenges are endless. And you end up believing that any difficulties are your fault because of the unrealistic expectations you either put on yourself, or are exposed to by others.

Our self doubt can also rear its head when you compare yourself [unfavourably too!] to others.

You wonder if you'll ever measure up. It can be particularly disheartening when your contributions go unnoticed, or you're passed over for promotions.

I felt like I’d never attain the level of poise and confidence that seemed to come naturally to other women.

However, I did find a way and now I want to help others, like you, too.

What you can do to overcome feelings of self-doubt and boost your confidence.

I want you to recognise your worth, embrace your unique self and see the contributions you’re already making. I want you to overcome your self-doubt.

Because you’re not alone.

Everyone experiences moments of self-doubt, even the most accomplished individuals.

Understanding this universal struggle can alleviate some of the pressure you feel. Most female leaders have or are still grappling with insecurities and confidence issues.

Social media doesn’t help either, as it presents an idealised image of perfection, which is usually not the full picture.

So, with all of this in mind, how can we overcome these negative feelings and change self-doubt to self-belief?


Here are 9 ways that I recommend  that you can put in place to make you feel like your leadership is less of a struggle for you:


Stop comparing, start reflecting 

Instead of measuring yourself against others, take a look back at your own journey and compare yourself to where you were last year, last month or last week.

Acknowledge [and celebrate!] your own progress and achievements – it’s more than likely you’ve come further than you think.

Don't dwell on setbacks 

I’ve learned the hard way that dwelling on mistakes too long can really impede your progress.

I’m not saying it’s not important to acknowledge and process your emotions, because it is, just don’t fixate on failure. Try and focus on the learning you’ve gained and how you can take action to move forward.

Take time to reflect on your experiences and ask others for their perspective - a different viewpoint can make a world of difference in the way you look at something.

Don’t hesitate to ask for help

Reach out for support, advice and encouragement from colleagues, mentors, friends or your external networks.

Ask them to share their experiences, fears, mistakes, and self-doubts, especially if you think you’re the only one feeling this way.

And don’t think asking for help is a weakness because it’s not - it’s a sign of strength.

Avoid negativity 

Remove yourself from negative conversations, experiences and people that bring you down or undermine your confidence because they don’t believe in you. 

You need to have positive influencers around you who will encourage, inspire and motivate you to reach your potential.

Have clear boundaries

Set those boundaries especially around your time, energy and priorities.

Feeling that you have to be the one to do everything– at home as well as at work – is overwhelming and puts you under unnecessary pressure. This increases your stress and undermines your confidence, because you think you’re not coping or not capable. 

In actual fact, you are probably doing more than is humanly possible with the time and resources you have.

Learn to say no to tasks and commitments someone else can pick up - and delegate more. Read more about the delegation in my blog: The Power of Delegation: Empowering your Team for Success

Be kind to yourself 

 Please give yourself the same level of kindness and compassion and understanding you would offer to a friend if they were facing similar challenges. 

Perfection isn’t attainable - it’s good to strive for improvement, but give yourself the space to make mistakes and stop judging yourself so harshly.


Own your achievements

Don’t downplay your contributions or successes. So many times, I’ve attributed my success to luck or external factors, rather than my own abilities.

Celebrate your accomplishments and give yourself credit where it is due.

Pay it forward 

Mentor, empower and encourage others where you can and be an advocate for other women in leadership roles.

Supporting and guiding others helps you recognise what you’ve learned and what you have to offer, and that in turn boosts your confidence.


Believe in yourself  

You’ve overcome challenges and failures in the past, which means you can do it again.

See new challenges as opportunities for you to develop your skills and grow as a leader.

Invest in building your expertise and confidence in areas where you feel less secure. You might want to do a formal training programme or work with an experienced leadership coach [like me!] 

Just stay curious and committed to your ongoing learning as a leader.

Tackling self doubt and confidence together

Confidence isn’t always about being fearless but rather taking action – by acknowledging your fears and insecurities, and moving forward in spite of them.

If you're ready to take your leadership journey to the next level and overcome self-doubt once and for all, I encourage you to get in touch.

My Next Level Leadership 121 Coaching Programme will give you personalised guidance and support to unlock your full potential as a female leader.

You’ll be able to work through your challenges, leverage your strengths, and feel empowered to step into your role with confidence and conviction. It’s time for unwavering self-belief.

And as a final thought - every time you step outside your comfort zone and confront your doubts, you're not only proving your capabilities to others, but also to yourself.

When you believe in yourself you are capable of achieving greatness.

Jackie x

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