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Low self-esteem is holding back my career. What can I do?

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Hello Mark,

I've been in the same job for over ten years and, at this stage, it's really beginning to wear me down. I'm 43 years old and I know I should be moving on in my career and earning a lot more than I'm earning now.

I've suffered from lack of self-esteem and confidence all of my life and I think this is what's really holding me back. In other words, the fear that I won't be capable of performing in a new job at a higher level, that I'm just not good enough and eventually I will be 'found out'. I've even withdrawn my candidacy from job applications after I've been offered interviews out of fear of the unknown. I'm not a managerial type, more an expert/specialist, and would love to work for myself.

The tragic thing is that I'm good at my job (according to my employer) and people close to me, such as my wife and siblings, tell me that I should be way ahead of where I am now. They also tell me I'm very capable and talented, but none of it 'sticks'.

I don't particularly enjoy what I do, but I'm bored most of the time, which doesn't help. I feel such sadness and desperation when I think of how my life has turned out. I have children and all I've ever really wanted is to be proud to tell them what I do for a living and to provide for them.

I've done numerous career change courses over the years, but never really took decisive action for the reasons already outlined; i.e., fear. Depression is a reality for me now and despair is my default mode of thinking.

Thank you for reading.

This question was submitted by 'Mark'

mark tyrrell

Mark says...

Hello Mark and thank you for writing in.

Exasperation and frustration with a situation can be a major (and underrated) psychological fuel for change and it sounds like your exasperation with the same old job is rising rapidly.

Fear is imagination. And misuse of imagination produces fear and what people call despair. You fear you won't be able to thrive in a better job or if you work for yourself, yet logically you know you have a great chance and it's better to at least try than to stagnate. You may have been stalling by doing lots of courses but not actually getting on with changing anything. Fear of success is the other side of the coin to fear of failure.

Learning to use the tool of your imagination to help you, rather than be used by it, is vital as part of your self-development in seeing yourself as you are, not as you have been conditioned to believe that you are. You don't need to think you are wonderful, although you might be in some ways, but to be calm and fair about yourself, that is all.

You feel conflicted because a more real part of you wants to provide better for your family and to actually inhabit the role you are made to inhabit, but that little brainwashed-from-the-past bit still keeps tripping you up. Like a caterpillar that has transformed into a butterfly but doesn't really know it properly and still insists on crawling everywhere.

The Universe made you and made you well. And you owe it to life, not just yourself, to really go for it. It's not just for you.

All the rumination and frustration that doesn't lead anywhere can be a depressant, but knowledge is power. It's not your thinking that needs to change, but your feelings.

You need to be prepared to fail in order to succeed. I suggest you look at the 'Overcome Fear of Failure' and 'Overcome Fear of Success' downloads and also the '10 Steps to Solid Self Esteem' program.

But whatever you do, remember that the definition of 'low self-esteem' is that you think and feel you are worse than you really are. It is a bias and an under-appreciation. So it is not the truth. If it was the truth, then it wouldn't be low self-esteem, because low self-esteem is always a gross negative exaggeration. You need to pursue the truth about yourself more because you can do it.

All best wishes,


watch icon Published by Mark Tyrrell - June 1st, 2015 in

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