If you make your living as a freelancer, you’re going to be asked – constantly – to prove your worth.
Your clients want to know if you’re the best person for the job.Your blog readers want to know if you really have the smarts to give them advice. Your social media “friends” want you to prove that you’re interesting, funny, worth their time.
With all those people constantly questioning your authority, it’s only natural that you’ll occasionally question your worth. Of course, most of the time, you’ll pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and go right back to putting together an aggressive case for why you’re worth it.
Wait a second, though. While you weren’t looking, something happened. You doubted yourself for a moment.
And when you doubted yourself, you pulled back just a little bit in the offense. You started pulling your punches just in case someone clocked you in the face. You raced to your team’s basket for the toss, but you looked back just in case someone tried to steal the ball at half-court. You missed that critical moment to make the pass because you hesitated.
In short, you lost a little bit of faith in your ability.
Now, hang on a second. You definitely didn’t stop making a good case for your abilities or your worth. You didn’t just give up. You didn’t tell people, “You’re right.” What you did was just a little more sinister, because you didn’t even noticed it happened.
You sold yourself short.
You told the client that yes, you could definitely do a great job… but you didn’t tell him you could knock it out of the park and get him better conversion rates.
You told your blog readers that yeah, you’re pretty sure this is good advice… but you reminded them that you’re just a guy with some ideas, take ‘em or leave ‘em. I’m not infallible.
You told your social media followers (unknowingly) that you were having a rough time of it. You started retweeting other people’s stuff instead of promoting your own. You weren’t excited about your own links.
You sold yourself short.
You probably stress yourself out, too. You stand there trying to look impressive and putting forth your authority and acting like nothing ever goes wrong. But all the little bits of doubting, all the wondering if people are going to still like you the next day, if this client will be impressed, if everything is going to be all right tomorrow…
It wears you down hard. I should know.
I recently had the experience of getting a great opportunity, an opportunity I would have just killed for. Every step of the way, I sold myself short. I worried I wouldn’t get the opportunity in the first place. I worried I wouldn’t get the preparation right. I worried that I would embarrass myself. I worried I’d blow my chance at something good.
Now, did that stop me? Hell no. I put my game face on and geared up my offense and went for it. But if I’d stopped doubting myself, it would have been a lot easier. I would have saved myself a ton of stress and worrying, too.
Because I absolutely nailed it. Knocked it out of the park. Scored a hat trick. The people involved couldn’t stop raving about what a great job I’d done.
Nothing stopped me. Nothing kept me from getting out there and playing the game. Nothing held me back from giving it a shot and getting it in the net. But I would have loved the game a lot more every step of the way if I hadn’t been selling myself and my skills short.
When have you doubted yourself? Caused yourself unnecessary stress because you didn’t really believe you could do it?