This is the second article in a three-part series spotlighting careers. 

It’s the job, the boss, the loud cubicle neighbor, the commute, the toxic environment. You need a change. You need it now.

Scene change: New job, new boss, new colleagues, new culture.

This must be what it’s like to do a job you love with people you love. That was Day 1, Week 1, Month 1… And then the familiar voices of self-doubt start creeping back in.

Maybe it’s me.
Maybe I just can’t catch a break.
Maybe I’m just not good at this and they will soon find out they made a mistake.
Maybe they’ll think they overpaid for my skills.
Maybe they’ll find my experience irrelevant.

Am I good enough? Will they love me in the long run or will this just turn into the last job? Just like the guys my sister dates. Larry, Barry, Harry. Same guy, different name.

It’s normal to want to make a good impression and prove that they made the right decision to hire you. It’s also completely normal to worry that you can’t deliver. Stephanie, one of our executive clients, hired a coach after she read that the riskiest time to “blow it” in her new job was actually in the first 90 days.

The irony of wanting to succeed so badly — right out of the gate — is that it’s exactly the pressure you put on yourself that creates room for self-doubt. No time to lose. With her coach, she created an action plan for her first 90 days and beyond. She consulted with her circles of influence on how, as a newcomer, she could best relate to all the legacy players and gain their support.

“Roll it!” We’re filming.

They really could make an HBO series based on the movies in your head. You know, once you start believing them your energy drops and your performance drops. You head to the kitchen for another pick-me-up snack and cup of coffee. Then comes the double-feature.

First, you let that inner voice bring you down. Next, you drag yourself down even further by being pissed off for letting the negative voices take over. If only you could control yourself. If only you had the self-confidence. If only you had received more love as a child. And we’re still rolling… and rolling… and rolling.

CUT!! Stop the madness! Stop the self-sabotage! Don’t believe the hype!

This may seem overwhelming since thoughts and beliefs have such a grip, so let’s start with a few helpful techniques.

PAUSE. Yup, just like that, hit the pause button. Print a pause button, put it on the corner of your computer screen. Stick it to your phone, wear it on your wrist. Whatever it takes. Just a very short, quick pause to help make room for an alternative (or more positive) thought.

REALLY? Just like that. A curious, even cynical (if that works for you…) question. “Really?” You want me to believe that nonsense? Really? Just because it happened in the past, you really think it’s going to turn out badly again? Really? You expect me to blow my dream job because you want to cast doubt on my performance? Then you can tap into the choice words you have in your treasure chest and tell the bully to go…

ACCEPT YOUR PROCESS. The process is the purpose. If you bit into an unripe apple, would you blame the apple for not being ripe? No, you accept that the apple has a process and you respect that that the process takes time, sun, and water. So do you. We all take time to develop. As long as you’re doing your work and making an effort, you will continue to grow and ripen. It’s a process. Accept it.

SNAP OUT OF IT. This is where I have to say – get outside of yourself. The WIIFM (what’s in it for me) weighs us down. Do something for someone else. Just a little something. Drop a piece of chocolate on a colleague’s desk. Surprise everyone with a Starbucks run. Ask a peer how their ailing Mom is doing.

PAST TENSE. Challenge personal theories and even the memories. Avoid making them about “who” you are but rather assign the memory to “what” you did in the situation, knowing that now is a different time and place. You’re a different person. What happened does not define you. Put it in the past tense. Instead of “I’m just not good at that,” you can say “I didn’t do it then, but I can learn how to do it now.”

Step out of your movie theatre. Go see what Cinema 4 is playing. You may even be able to save someone from their reel.