Conquering Self-Doubt After Failure: How to Win

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Maybe your boss overlooked your hard work and instead promoted the know-it-all who gossips behind everyone’s back and gets half the amount of work done you do. Maybe you had a job interview but didn’t get the position. Or you finally confessed your love for your crush, but your crush shot you down. Whatever you’ve failed at, you feel embarrassed, likely ashamed, and inadequate. Also, you’re afraid to make your next move, because you’ve failed before. Fear is fine. Folding to fear is not. You must shake your fear, treat your bruises and move on. New opportunities have (or will) presented themselves, but you feel incapable or inadequate for those opportunities. You must overcome that self-doubt, but how do you do that?

I told myself I am worthy

Recently, a college offered an interview for the job of my life. I imagined myself in a suit and tie teaching eager 20-something-year olds how to master grammar. Me, a professor. The thought alone blew my mind. The offer followed my having some professional hiccups. Coming from humble beginnings, I could be lecturing a class of students and guiding them. That thought is as overwhelming as it is exciting. Knowing how hard I worked to get in the position to even have a college consider employing me as a professor did nothing to quell the nervousness bubbling in my gut. However, after doubting myself and worrying, I told myself I am worthy because I earned it.

In 2021, do away with toxic humbleness, the type that tells you that you aren’t good enough. Humility is a good thing until it takes on the corrosiveness of self-doubt. Whether you’re applying for a new job, thinking about changing careers or simply changing yourself, you have to remind yourself that everything you want, you deserve it. Easily, you can think of a million reasons you can’t achieve or deserve a goal, but you have to find the main reason you can. That reason can be because you need it, worked for it or just because you want it.

In a sea of people, you stand out.

Moreover, when was the last time you looked at yourself in the mirror? Really looked at yourself? Look yourself in the face and say, “I got this.” They say crazy people talk to themselves. Well, I’m nuts, because I often talk to myself. If you don’t encourage yourself, who will? The belief of the world in you starts with your own belief in yourself. Peer into that mirror and remind yourself of your worthiness and greatness. Whether the president or the pope, no one is above you. In a sea of people, you stand apart. The kindle of self-worth is within you. Your belief in yourself is the spark to set it ablaze.

Next, you have to stop pitying yourself. You failed. So what? It happens. You shouldn’t mope about it. Sure, take time to process what went wrong. Replay the scenario in your head and see what could have gone better. Analyze. Don’t obsess. People fail all the time, and sometimes, it is out of their control. Delinquent homeowners are foreclosed on by heartless banks. Maybe the homeowners had a gambling problem, so their issue is their own creation. Even if this is true, even if you somewhat helped in your failure, you can not pity yourself. Not a soul walking this planet has walked it perfectly. For proof, catch the news on politicians caught participating in the same activities they publicly discourage. This is what happened when someone caught former president Bill Clinton smoking weed while president. That didn’t stop him from seeking — and winning — a second term. Be bold as Bill.

Embrace every part of yourself…

So, you’ve made some mistakes in the past and missed an opportunity. You feel like a failure. You feel inadequate and discouraged. Failure together with fear will inhibit you. To blossom, do away with those feelings. Forgive yourself for whatever you didn’t succeed at and move forward. A failure is someone who accepts failure. A winner doesn’t let defeat dictate their next battle, other than to ensure that battle goes in their favor. Try. Fail. Try again. Search for new opportunities. Do not feel overwhelmed. Embrace every part of yourself and beat your self-doubt.

*Jermaine Reed, MFA is a writer from Chicago who writes fiction, nonfiction, local news stories and national news stories. For self-publishers, authors and other writers and creatives, Jermaine provides proofreading on Fivver. Please join Jermaine’s email list to get updates on blog posts, writing advice and free books. Get my recently released Science Fiction novel A Glitch in Humanity by clicking here.


Published by J Reed

J Reed is a Chicago-based fiction writer. When he is not making a pretense of writing, he's making a pretense of working.

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