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How to Get Over “I Have No Idea What I’m Doing” Syndrome?

If you are thinking to yourself that “I Have No Idea What I’m Doing” Syndrome doesn’t apply to you, then you might be kidding yourself. I am sure we have all been there. Some of us more times than others. I know I have, and in some circumstances, it is still a place I visit occasionally. These days though, I have learned how to deal with it.

The feeling that we don’t know what we are doing is interesting. Its arrival in our minds is often completely unannounced, unexpected, and can be extremely worrying. So the question is How to Get Over “I Have No Idea What I’m Doing” Syndrome.

how to get over i have no idea what im doing syndrome

A Variety Of Environments

If you are thinking that this might only apply to people working in offices, you would be wrong. If you think it only applies to management, again, you would be wrong. It can happen to anyone, anywhere in any environment.

The majority of the feeling comes from a deep-rooted fear we all have. And that fear is the failure or of being seen as vulnerable. And this is especially true where others around you have high expectations. It is then that the panic really sets in.

Being Vulnerable Is Not A Weakness

However, it is to some who view a ‘loss of face’ as the ultimate disgrace. That is rather a childish belief. The real disgrace comes in not facing up to things. Vulnerability can actually be turned into a strength, especially in the eyes of others who watch as you seek to sort out the problem.

Failure Can Work In Our Favor

How do we learn the most important lessons? By not being completely successful at something. That is when we learn what went wrong, and next time, we know exactly what we want to do.

If ‘I Have No Idea What I’m Doing’ Takes Hold?

It will sap your confidence and create self-doubt. It will make you think you can’t actually do it. If you let it persist, it will prevent you from fulfilling some opportunities. And that could have a major impact down the line. The natural result will be that your mind is completely filled with self-doubt. ‘I can’t do that; I’m not good enough.’

At first, it might only be a sporadic occurrence, but if you don’t learn to deal with it, it will be a long-term problem.

Let’s take a look at some of the things you can do…

how to get over i have no idea what im doing syndrome guide

You Don’t Have To Know Everything

There will be those who ‘pretend’ they do, plenty of them, but they don’t. And neither do you. Learning is part of the process, and that applies especially to new projects. It is similar in a way to running a race. Beforehand you are nervous. The same applies here.

You have a project or an activity to fulfill, and you get a feeling of uncertainty, possibly even anxiety. For the race, you use that to make you go faster. In the business world, you use that to encourage you to figure it out.

One Step At A Time

Work it out step by step as you go along. It may take some time, but in the end, you will have learned. They gave you the task because they believe you can handle it. But you also have to believe you can handle it as well, and of course, you can. You don’t need all the answers from the moment you start.

Life would be very boring if we did. But because you don’t have all the answers at the beginning doesn’t mean you don’t know what you are doing.

What Do I Do If They Realize?

Realize what exactly? And who are they? The only thing you have to fear about this scenario is not trying to pretend you have all the answers. By doing that, you are heaping pressure on yourself.

Worried About Outcomes?

That is a natural enough feeling. But I shall repeat what I said earlier. They wouldn’t have given you the project if they didn’t think you could handle it. You haven’t got to worry about the Outcome. You are in control of the outcome. If you want to worry about something, then worry about things you have no control over.

Peer Group Pressure

Well, that can be a real situation. You get the sort who thinks they know better than you. Ignore them, and quietly get on with making a success out of whatever it is you are doing. And if you don’t know something for sure, don’t take a guess just to put a tick in the box.

Find out, ask someone if necessary. And don’t forget, if one of your team provides an answer, don’t be worried about thanking them.

how to get over i have no idea what im doing syndrome tips

Don’t Think Everyone Else Is Better Than You

There are two considerations when this starts entering your mind. Firstly are you the ‘newbie,’ and secondly, are you one of the more experienced?

As the newbie

You are new, still getting your feet wet under the table. Still learning the ropes. You will come across people who you wish you could emulate. Those who speak well and get their point across. Those who always seem to find solutions, and those who always seem to make the right decisions.

It can be a bit soul-destroying to know others just know more than you do. Those that just seem better equipped for the job. It can be a hard thing to accept.

But take a minute to think

Were they this good when they first joined the company? No. In their first few weeks, were they always able to make the right call? No. They learned how to do it, just as you are learning how to do it. Sometimes it seems like everyone is better than you. They aren’t; at this stage, they have more experience.

And more experience usually means more knowledge. Learn from them. Listen to them. Try and understand why they make certain decisions. That way, you learn. Being surrounded by experienced people shouldn’t be negative. Make it into a positive part of your learning curve.

Are You One of the More Experienced?

Once again, you do not need to concern yourself. There will be some who will be looking to you for guidance. Help them where you can. Be the mentor. You have been there a while; you know a little more.

Consider for a moment all the things you do know. If there is a project to be undertaken, break it down into little steps. Tick the boxes of those elements you are certain about. Then mark those you are not a hundred percent certain of. Finally, add a special marker to those things you don’t know.

Be Precise In What You Do

That gives you a place to start. But once more, no guesswork. Do it right and be precise. And the more you do it right, the more relaxed you will feel. And this feeling of inferiority will just go away. You’ve done it before, so why not this time. Put that experience to good use in your mind. Just concentrate on what needs to be done.

Feeling Good About Yourself

One thing you can do is rather self-indulgent, but it can make you feel at ease with yourself. That is to look good when you go to work. These items may help:

A classy briefcase always looks the part, so check out the Tassia Luxury Leather Executive Case Attache Briefcase, as does a nice pen such as the Parker IM Fountain Pen.

And don’t arrive at work looking like a drowned rat having been caught in a shower, so get yourself a Lilyxin Premium Automatic Compact Umbrella Windproof.

Not Feeling That Confidence Yet?

No problem, we’ve got your back! Why not read my advice on What Motivates You? for a bit more insight first.

Secondly, check out these amazing online reads we’ve found for you, such as The Self Confidence Workbook, the Unstoppable Self Confidence, The Confidence Gap: A Guide to Overcoming Fear and Self-Doubt, The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance, Self-Confidence Strategies for Women, the You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, all available online in 2021.

And that’s not all, take a look at Self-Esteem: A Proven Program of Cognitive Techniques for Assessing, Improving, and Maintaining Your Self-Esteem, Get Out of Your Head, the Get Out of Your Own Way: Overcoming Self-Defeating Behavior, the Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and into Your Life, and Stop Overthinking: 23 Techniques to Relieve Stress, Stop Negative Spirals, Declutter Your Mind to really boost that self-esteem.

Final Thoughts

By comparing yourself to others, we’ve all done it; sometimes, we think that others are just better than we are. Here’s a thought – They aren’t. If you think that everyone else has it all worked out, then think again. And here’s a little motto you can take with you.

“I don’t need to compare who I am and what I do with others.” This is so true because you don’t; you really don’t.

All the very best with your future!

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About Carmen Smith

Carmen grew up in San Diago but now lives in Boston. She loves traveling, experiencing other cultures, and basically exploring the world, be country at a time.

Her other passion is helping people find the perfect career. We spend 33% of our working lives at work, so it's ridiculous that many people do jobs that they do not enjoy. Carmen wants to change this and thinks that anyone who isn't happy in their employment should keep looking until they find something that they really enjoy. 

She firmly believes that "Everyone's perfect job is out there; it's just a case of continually looking until you find it."

Carmen lives with her husband Johnny, a keen birder who also loves to travel. He finds birds while Carmen makes plans for where they will be eating next...

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