Is your self-doubt defining your career?

Originally published on Linkedin

– Marwa (name changed), you are using an incorrect equation!! Now we’ll have to repeat everything.

I am sorry. If you break down the equation it doesn’t fit with the consistency of the oil our client is using, so I changed it. I wasn’t thinking, I’ll redo it all again.

Marwa was right; and we found that out months later. What came naturally to her required hours of explanation to others of her team.

This was a situation I witnessed at my very first job. Every company I have worked at since had a Marwa, an employee who is very good at what they do but is always consumed by fear of being challenged and self-doubt.

In the above situation, of course, she should have explained beforehand. But, while convinced she was right, she preferred to avoid being challenged and proven wrong.

It is our role, as leaders, to open room for the Marwas in our team to speak their minds and to make mistakes. The larger role, however, falls on the Marwa-folk themselves.

Are you a Marwa?

If it’s difficult for you to share new ideas or speak your mind. Then maybe take it one step at a time.

1- Begin small: Ask your manager for a suitable time to share an idea you have in a one-on-one meeting. Pick something you are passionate about that isn’t a major change.  Yes, managers can be a part of the problem but this allows you to test waters and gain confidence as things progress.

2- Write an email: It is easier to communicate in writing. If you think there is a more efficient way to handle a task,  do some research, find backing to your suggestions, and write a point-by-point email to your manager.

3-Test and practice: Speak to your close coworkers first about your ideas and suggestions. Get their take on the matter, understand the common concerns and find solutions for them. Once ready share your ideas with the decision-makers.

It is important to share your ideas. It is important to help your company grown, not for its sake but for yours.

Every small step you take to improve the status quo allows you to gain the needed experience, to know what to change, when, and how to do that.

Great ideas in your head aren’t always perfect as they are, the experience of implementation is crucial in developing your skill-base and progressing career.


**Respect to all those who are named Marwa out there, it’s one of my favorite names.