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mistakes at work
Work Talk

Your lack of self-confidence can lead to costly mistakes at work

I’ve been wanting to write a bit more about my story, sharing some of my experiences. So today I’ll tell you about a costly mistake I made at work.

Everybody makes mistakes. But hopefully, when you find yourself in a situation similar to the one I’m about to describe, you will think of this example. And do the right thing!

Although we women are very talented, we often tend to underestimate ourselves, ending up lacking self-confidence in moments that can be key in our career.

Even though it’s something you can work on all your life, I find it took me way too long to reach the level of confidence I have today.

How Lack of Self-confidence Can Lead to Costly Mistakes at Work

So far in my career, I’ve had some great wins, and have accomplished many things that I’m really proud of.

Of course, I also made mistakes, some costly.

Many years ago, I was in a first-level management position and had been identified as potential successor to my boss – as Director – if ever the position became open.

As part of the company’s succession management program, a meeting had been organized between me and our division’s President so he could get to know me a little better and tell me more about what to expect from this program.

During the meeting, the President asked me this, “So do you think you’re ready to take on your boss’ job tomorrow?” Here is what I said, “Well yes, but I feel I need to improve my knowledge in finance to be more comfortable in some of the large mandates my boss handles.”

W R O N G   A N S W E R.

Instead of looking at the big picture, I only had my boss’ strengths in mind. Thinking I didn’t have everything he had.

Whereas I should have thought of it this way: “My boss has strengths that I don’t have… but that’s ok… because I have strengths he doesn’t have… and anyway I’ll just learn as I go, as I’ve had to do so often in the past… and if necessary I’ll find the support I need… so the answer is yes, I’m ready now!”

When I came out of that meeting, I knew I had made a big mistake. By showing lack of self-confidence, I had just raised a doubt in the President’s mind about my capabilities to replace my boss.

The President ended up changing the structure after a while so the opportunity to get the job never came up. So I’ll never know…

They say when you mess up, you need to forgive yourself, learn the lesson for good, and moved on. That’s what I did.

So Remember

Hopefully you’ll remember this story the next time you’re hoping to get selected to work on a special project, join a new team, get a promotion, or want to apply for a new job. You need to tell yourself “YOU ARE CAPABLE AND READY!”

You will never have all the qualifications and experience anyway. You need to jump. That is how everybody else does it!

And if you ever need a pep talk, you can contact me. I’m not kidding! I will gladly give you the motivational speech you need to make the leap :-).

LAST BUT NOT LEAST… WOULDN’T IT BE GREAT IF WE ALL SHARED ONE MISTAKE WE MADE? Share the one you think other women would benefit from knowing.

You can either write to me directly here, or simply comment below.

To the power of women!

Martha xx

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