Is it Ok to Be Insecure About Your Work?
I spent most of my career in a school. When I was a teacher, I was trained to focus in on my students and connect with them to the point that they would learn. As the saying goes, "it's not so much what you know but how much you care."
When it comes to students, that's so true.
When it comes to adults, it's also the case. Your colleagues want to know that you're "for them". Coupled with a deep sense of care for others is the ability to zero in on what's truly important for the organization.
That's a balance that a good leader can manage. On one hand is what's best for the company and on the other hand is what's best for each individual.
Determining what's best for the organization is both an internal process (deciding together what we're about) and keeping an eye on "the market". It's just smart.
Imagine how much Lyft and Uber study one another's moves. Or Samsung and Apple. Or Harvard and Yale. You get the point. You've got to be yourself and yet constantly be aware of what the other guy is doing.
This applies to each person in your organization too. I want my team to play to their strengths, working in a way that gets the very best out of them. I also want them to be aligned with the values of the team so that we can deliver exceptional results.
But... what about those times when you lean more towards what the other guy is doing and not enough on being true to yourself?
It can be easy for a member of the team to occasionally experience FOMO or the Fear of Missing Out. Even with a clearly defined set of values and a healthy self awareness (e.g. I have our team take the Enneagram evaluation), you can wonder if you're "not doing it right".
This can rear its head when any of the following questions come to mind:
- Am I working hard enough?
- Am I fast enough?
- Am I valuable enough to the team?
- Am I bringing my very best to work each day?
- Is my email inbox cleaned out?
- Am I communicating well?
- Is the other guy better than me?
- Am I using the rights apps?
- Am I managing my time well?
I've certainly asked myself these questions many times over. Once, I had a boss give me some advice that I still carry with me today when I'm ever insecure about my work. He said, "Mike, the only three persons that matter are God, your wife and your boss. Other than that, the rest can think what they want about you. You've got to just do your work and that's that."
Don't worry about FOMO or what the next guy is doing. Focus instead on bringing your best energy, attention and diligence to work each day. If you don't have a performance review in place, ask if your supervisor can give you one. This is another anchor that affirms the quality of your work.
Is it ok to be insecure about your work?
Yes and no. It's honest to admit that we all have insecurities. The key is, when one shows up, to channel it into the right direction and retain confidence in your best work.