It’s Time to Stop Doubting Yourself and Here’s How

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I’m not a creative person… at least, that is what I told myself for the majority of my life. This is hard to admit publicly considering I now own a marketing business and its success depends almost entirely on my creativity.  

I’m sharing this because I made a commitment when I agreed to write for Making Moxie, to share my own experiences in an effort to help other women. I know I’m not the only woman who has doubted her abilities but I can say from experience that once you let these falsehoods go, a world of possibilities opens.

My story begins as a third grader who had bad handwriting (and an adult who still does), who couldn’t draw and who didn’t like art class. I proclaimed to myself – and others – that I wasn’t creative and proceeded to tell myself this for 20 more years.

In college, I decided to get a degree in marketing because I thought it was exciting and felt there were many marketing jobs that don’t require creativity... that I could work in marketing analysis or research.

My career has twisted and turned. With each job, I was required to be more creative than the last and I slowly realized that creativity comes in many different forms. Thinking of innovative solutions to solve problems – that’s creativity. Looking at a process then finding a better route to the same outcome – that’s creativity. Having the ability to articulate your opinions in a way that influences your audience – that’s creativity. The list goes on….

As my career progressed, I found myself performing creative tasks every day and suddenly labeling myself as “not creative” didn’t make sense anymore. The moment I stopped telling myself this lie and started to view myself as creative was the best thing that could have happened to my career. I learned how to be a marketing designer and I found a passion in something that I had previously not allowed myself to consider as a career path.  

What is it that you are telling yourself that you can’t do? If you are ready to set yourself free of your own stereotypes then here is how to start.

Stop telling yourself that you can’t do it

“But what if someone finds out I don’t really know what I’m doing.”

Those who have similar thoughts to this may be experiencing imposter syndrome, a term used to describe a person who feels fraudulent about their skills and career regardless of how experienced they become. The first step to combat these feelings is to recognize them when you begin “feeling like a fraud” and remind yourself that 70% of people have felt this way at least one time in their career (source). If more than a third of the population has experienced these feelings, chances are one or more of your colleagues feels like an imposter at times too.

Find an opportunity that will allow you to learn or refine the skill

Staying in your comfort zone isn’t going to allow you to grow into the person you want to be and if you are reading this, you are asking for more. Have a little “fake it ‘til you make it” pep talk with yourself and do whatever it is that you are telling yourself that you can’t. Once you start showing yourself that you can do it, it’ll be easier to stop the inner negativity from creeping up.

Finding an opportunity where you can learn the skill doesn’t have to be difficult. If there is someone in your network that possesses this skill then ask them for a cup of coffee and find out what they did to get to where they are. Start reading blogs and listening to podcasts from people who possess the skill. Find people on LinkedIn and make a connection with them. Take a class, either on your own or ask your employer if they’ll cover it. Get a new job – you don’t need to have all the skills that are outlined in the job post, if you have some of them, and the others are the skill you desire, then apply and learn on the job.

Keep reminding yourself that you are smart, successful and driven

I would be lying if I told you it would be easy to take on your “lie” – it’s not. I still doubt myself at times but in these moments I remind myself of specific instances in my career where my creativity shined. Keep a list of examples of when you rocked it in your career and think of them often – this will help keep your confidence up. If you can’t think of any examples then go back to the above paragraph and get going!

It doesn’t matter if you naturally possess that talent or skill you are seeking. What matters is that you are willing to do the work to learn and you are actively working towards your goal. Stop doubting yourself and start shining.  

My name is Jonna Demeo and I am creative. What is your truth?