The Day I Stopped Doubting my Experience
Today’s guest post is brought to you by Lisa Menke, communications expert and my best friend for over twenty years.
When I was growing up it seemed like there were two types of kids. There were those who, from an early age, knew exactly what they wanted to be when they grew up…and then there were the rest of us.
I had my dreams and childhood fantasies, but never seemed to be able to nail down that one thing I wanted to do for the rest of my life. After all, I had only been alive for less than two decades. How could I possibly know that until I experienced a few things first?
Experience. That was always my thing, and really, it still is my thing.
Fast-forward twenty-five years and I can say I’ve had a lot of excellent experiences! I’ve learned what kind of work I enjoy most and many things I have a strong aptitude for. I also learned many areas that I don’t have much aptitude for at all (accounting, for example). For nearly all of that time I’ve been working in a single industry and as the years have progressed I’ve been fortunate to have had opportunities to sharpen my skills and narrow in on a very specific category of work.
About six months ago I was asked by my leaders to apply for a new role. If I accepted, I’d be in for a major challenge including supervising a staff and leading initiatives that have the potential to positively impact thousands of my organizational colleagues.
Let me pause right here and say that while I have amassed a great deal of experience and peer respect, I haven’t exactly amassed an equal measure of confidence. So being faced with this big decision was, in short, a bit of a nightmare.
I was telling a dear friend about this development over coffee one Saturday morning and as I talked I could see her excitement for me visibly rising. Apparently my insecurities and doubts were also becoming visible to her because it didn’t take long before she interrupted me. She sternly said, “You need to stop acting like you’re begging for an internship!” She continued by reminding me that I have expert-level experience and that I needed to embrace that fact. It was hard for me to hear. Very hard!
My friend’s words have echoed in my mind every time I’ve felt doubt creeping up on me. I think that, despite the ding to my ego, this admonishment helped me realize that I’m not that inexperienced kid anymore. I am an expert and someone who is well-respected and highly regarded in my work.
Pushing through the doubt, I told the fear to take a hike and applied for the new role. I’m ready for the challenges ahead and I know that even on the most difficult day, I will be able to handle what comes at me because I’m confident in my experience.
I hope this encourages you to be bold and embrace your own experience and expertise. Whenever a new opportunity comes your way, remember the words of my friend and take that leap!
Lisa Menke is a digital media and communications professional who believes in participatory culture and that the key to ultimate success is not in the degrees or titles, but in the connections and experiences. Lisa believes that our human experiences are some of our only true possessions in life and strives to design experiences that are engaging and meaningful, whether that be in organizational learning opportunities, communications, or her personal art.
Lisa greatly enjoys the exchange of ideas and the sharing of best practices, tips, tricks, and pitfalls with her colleagues. Feel free to connect with her via LinkedIn or Twitter (@misalenke).