One of my most rewarding discoveries since joining adulthood is that pretty much every other adult is winging it too.
As a child I thought parents and teachers knew it all. Cutting swiftly through my teenage years when I thought they knew nothing at all, we come to early adulthood. I was a newbie, all these people working around me had done this for years, they knew everything there was to know about their field. I changed career (more than once) and transferred these beliefs in the skills and abilities of others with me.
Then something changed in me. I don’t know if it was age or turning the corner from low self-esteem that did it but I began to notice that others were also failing to have confidence in their abilities. It wasn’t just me, it seemed everybody was just jumping from one day to the next, one panic to the next, assuming everyone else had all the answers except themselves?
I looked at accomplished colleagues and friends in other fields and wondered if there’s anybody without an unhealthy level of arrogance that believes they know everything or that they’re the best person in the world to do their job or live their life? I think maybe we all unfairly doubt our own abilities and spend far too much time obsessing about everyone else and how it seems they have a clear path to success while we’re meandering aimlessly.
I guess it’s not dissimilar to that unhealthy practice of comparing our lives to those of our Facebook friends. They’re quite obviously happier, more successful, more outgoing and so on. What we’re doing is comparing all that we know of ourselves, including our insecurities with what others portray for the world to see. Do we wear crippling self-doubt on the outside? Do we post on Facebook that we’re sitting in alone on a Friday night? No, of course we don’t, and neither do your colleagues or your Facebook friends.
Do your colleagues wince at the sight of a challenge or a crisis? No, of course they don’t and neither do you on the outside, you may well do it on the inside though and it’s not fair on yourself to compare your inside with their outside.
So go easy on yourself, nobody else knows what the hell they’re doing or how they’re getting there either.