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  • Writer's pictureMel

“If you doubt yourself, shouldn’t you also doubt your low opinion of yourself?”

For 2024, my friend (let’s call her Jane here) and I have this pact to get more rejections, more no’s. The idea is to make more requests, set and enforce more healthy boundaries, apply to more things, and be more willing to walk away from bad deals. We’ve both negotiated higher rates for our work, for example, and celebrated each other’s successes.

Are there moments of doubts sometimes? Sure, and we talk about them.

While discussing whether to apply to a certain fund the other day, I recognised that a longstanding self-limiting story that we (and many people) have had installed seemed to be: “Have I done enough to deserve this? I don’t want to take this away from someone who has more of a need.”

Me: “There are eligibility requirements clearly stated, right?” Jane: “Yes.” Me: “And you meet them?” Jane: “Yes.” Me: “So if they’d wanted to keep you out, they could have done it already. So apply and let them decide. Maybe they’ll decide there are more suitable applicants, maybe they won’t. Let them do their job.”

And because Jane and I are great friends who know each other well and value challenges that are rooted in and delivered with empathy, I also shared this observation: “Isn’t it funny how on one hand you have these doubts about whether you’re good enough, and on the other hand it’s almost as if you think you can do a better job than they can in selecting the right applicants?”

It reminds me of this paradox that organisational psychologist Adam Grant talks about in Hidden Potential: The Science of Achieving Greater Things (yes, I know I quote him a lot – there are just so many well-articulated gems in his books):

Not long ago, it dawned on me that impostor syndrome is a paradox: – Others believe in you – You don’t believe in yourself – Yet you believe yourself instead of them If you doubt yourself, shouldn’t you also doubt your low opinion of yourself?

I think that’s a great question! And it connects to my core value of integrity, not having double standards, and not being so grandiose – because what are the odds that that I’m the one person they’re wrong about?


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