Have you ever been told not to sell yourself short? We all know that doing so would mean that you were underestimating your abilities and that your confidence wouldn’t be where it should be. Perhaps you developed this habit through time, and you were not even aware of it. Underestimating yourself may have developed early in your life. For example, you were not raising your hand in school if you knew the answers or being afraid to share your ideas with others at work or in sales meetings. Why, because you may have the fear others would not like or approve of your concepts. So you sit back and let others speak up and share their ideas. Each time you give in to underestimating yourself, you are reinforcing the notion that you and your views are not good enough, that you’re not capable enough.
You’ve probably been told to believe in yourself multiple times in your life. While you may not have taken it too seriously, there is power in that advice. Believing in yourself sets the foundation for your journey on the road to success. It can be the motivation you need to get yourself out of a funk. Do you underestimate yourself and your capabilities whenever you face a stressful situation? Do you shy away from an opportunity coming your way and hesitate in accepting stressful and challenging tasks? Then I’m writing this for you.
I always knew I wanted to work in a management consulting firm, but after two years of upskilling myself for that path, I still couldn’t get a role there. However, I always reassured myself that I’ll get there one day. I didn’t fold my arms too! Recently, I reached out to a senior Analyst in one of the top consulting firms on LinkedIn and made my request of joining her firm as an intern. I was surprised when she asked us to jump on a call to discuss further. She complimented my confidence and manner of approach, and that was what caught her attention. In the end, she decided to recommend me to her firm and one other consulting firm where she knows someone.
The thing is, when you do not have confidence in your capabilities, you will start underestimating yourself. You are afraid to put your opinions in front of others. Few failures in life too can make a person unconfident. Failure is so intimidating that you start looking at your own deservings with suspicious eyes. While I was reaching out to that Senior Analyst, I wasn’t too optimistic nor was I pessimistic. I just knew it would either be a Yes or a No. If it was a No, at least I’ve reached out and would have learned one or two things before shooting my next shot.
So, what should you think? Visualize your life the way you want it to be and whenever your inner critic raises doubt, counter it by questioning ‘why can’t I do it?’. Come out of your discomfort, and take action. Failure and success are relative terms. One can fail at some tasks despite keeping stock of his past successes. Similarly, your success may come after a series of failures. So, never underestimate your abilities.
Most of us are brought up in such a way to not boast about ourselves and to keep a modest attitude towards our achievements and skills. Even if you are superior to others in a particular arena, you don’t show it just because you are taught not to make anyone feel less than you. That is why you never celebrate your talents or your proud moments.
You don’t want to overshadow them and the result is, that people never get to know about your virtues and accomplishments.
However, you should note that by constantly making yourself feel small and others big, you become indecisive and that could be the reason why you are underestimating yourself. Therefore everything should be balanced in our life. Humility should not become your weakness. It is important to feel good on and talk about your abilities and accomplishments, not to show off but to inspire many who hesitate to come out of their shells.
This is a reminder that what you ask is what you get in life. If you are always counting your flaws and focusing on your incapabilities then it is sure to get magnified. There are many knaves around, waiting for the opportunity to bruise your confidence and to make you feel incompetent. They know your weakness. Your weakness lies in your thought pattern which manipulates and magnifies your flaws. All sorts of under and over-estimations are created in our minds.
Your flaws and mistakes are proofs that you have tried and are a guide to better yourself. If you concentrate on your worth, the reasons to be happy, your strength, your support, and above all the gratitude for the countless blessings from the One above us, your thought process will rejuvenate and you will recognize your worth.
I heard a great quote a while ago that sums things up: “One of the best opportunities you can be given in life is to be underestimated.” Powerful stuff, right? When you think about this quote and tie it together with your own experiences, I think you will find it to be true. Go on right now and think about a time when you were underestimated, and try to remember how you took advantage of that opportunity. Remember, you are your most important critic. If you can’t get yourself motivated, then how can you expect someone else to?
Love what you do, and only do what you love. But most importantly: learn to be you.
I would love to hear your thoughts. Until then, remember never to underestimate yourself, and shoot that shot you’ve been contemplating!