The Whole Human

5 steps to take when you’re feeling insecure at work

When you’re surrounded by other hardworking coworkers in a rewarding but fast-paced work environment, it can be easy to feel like you’re falling behind— especially when your job involves juggling multiple projects and everything feels like a competition. Here’s how to manage feelings of insecurity in the office so you can move forward.

Know your worth

When you’re feeling down, remember what you bring to the table, what you’re proudest of, and the positive characteristics of your job. This can help get your mind off things when working through a particularly challenging project.

Don’t ignore deep anxiety; address it

Michele Hoos writes about how integrative psychiatrist Dr. Katherine Falk suggests “simple breathing techniques” before providing more of her advice in an article for The Muse.

“Keep in mind that if you are suffering from intense anxiety that is disrupting your personal life considerably, you don’t need to try to overcome it all by yourself. Dr. Falk says if you’re noticing a pattern in your life where new projects or roles create anxiety, where you’re not enjoying anything, or where your eating or sleep is disrupted for more than a couple weeks, then it may be time to seek therapy. If you’re not sure whether or not your anxiety falls within a ‘normal range ,’ try taking an online test,” Hoos writes.

If your anxiety doesn’t seem to be clinical, but still bothers you, yoga and meditation can work wonders — as can getting enough sleep and taking breaks during the day. Remember that your job is not your identity and that you still have to function as a human, not just an employee.

Keep your own objectives in mind

Lolly Daskal writes about “why you need to stop comparing yourself with others,” which applies to work, in an Inc. article.

Keep working toward your goals. Instead of comparing yourself to anyone else, measure where you are now compared to a month or a quarter or a year ago and appreciate the progress you are making. And if you see instead that you’re not progressing toward your goals, it’s most likely because those goals are not clearly defined. It’s not because of anything wrong or inferior with you, and it certainly doesn’t have anything to do with anyone else. Measure your own progress and hold yourself accountable for that–and no more,” Daskal writes.

Find a mentor

Melody J. Wilding, LMSW, wrote about how to improve upon “weaknesses” in an article for The Muse.

“When we’re in a self-critical mode, we often turn inward. So, to constructively address your shortcomings, it can help to shift your focus outward and engage with others. Finding a mentor is an especially constructive approach. Find someone who has the skills and traits you’d like to emulate, and start spending more time with him or her. Not only will you learn through observation, your mentor can be a great source of positive reinforcement and guidance. When you’re facing a challenge or dealing with a stumbling block, your mentor can provide feedback that’s helpful, constructive, and honest, which can help you move forward in a positive way (not to mention, remember that others have been there before, too!),” Wilding wrote.

See if what others are saying about you is a real opportunity for growth

Gwen Moran features advice from Jim Haudan, CEO and chairman of human resources development firm Root, Inc., in a Fast Company article.

“If you’re often the butt of jokes about your disorganized approach or inability to be on time, it could be a clue that these are issues the people around you are trying to correct through humor. Haudan recommends listening to the people around you for clues about the things that really bug them, then analyze whether they’re areas that could potentially hold you back,” Moran writes.

But we’d like to add that you should take further action if you’re getting made fun of for things that don’t apply to you— if you’re being targeted unfairly or inappropriately for things that are out of your control, consider telling your manager or HR.