It can happen in a moment: you’re assigned a new task or project, maybe even a stretch assignment. You haven’t done anything like this before, and you’re not confident you possess the knowledge or skills to do a good job. Suddenly you feel completely out of your depth.
Feeling insecure about your ability to perform well is a problem many of us struggle with at some point in our careers. However, it’s important to know that you have to step out of your comfort zone in order to grow. As William Macaux writes in his Association for Talent Development article “Making the Most of Stretch Assignments,” business leaders know that high potential employees can be coached to higher growth by consistently challenging them with increasingly more difficult assignments. Every new challenge adds to their resilience and resourcefulness, which propels them forward until they’re capable of fulfilling a more senior position.
The same principle applies to your situation. Though you may feel that your skills are inadequate, feeling out of your depth is actually a great opportunity to challenge yourself to grow. Fortunately, there are a number of strategies you can implement in order to lose the feeling of being out of your depth and instead, regain your self-confidence and control of the situation.
Next time you feel out of your depth, remind yourself that you’re being given a learning opportunity. Then use the strategies above to work through it, and watch how you’ll start to achieve more than you believed you were capable of.
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