Last week I went to visit a professor in order to get a recommendation. After exchanging greetings he told me that he would write me a recommendation if I could answer one question for him. He then proceeded to say, “I am a very busy man and don’t have a lot of free time. People frequently ask me to write them recommendations and I honestly don’t have time to write them all. Why should I write this recommendation for you?” I instantly looked like a deer caught in headlights. My mind had hitched a ride on the self doubt train and was looking for the nearest exit. While struggling to come up with an answer I was wondering why I had even wasted my time, after all there was no way he was ever going to write a recommendation for me. Words came out but they were all over the place and my self doubt was evident. He then asked me why I had come to him in the first place. I explained that it was his class that started my interest in law and passionately spoke for a few minutes about how much his class meant to me and how much I had learned. When I was done he asked me why I hadn’t said all of that in the first place. He explained to me the power of self doubt and how crippling it can be. He also explained how unhelpful it is and how it’s a major factor in a lot of things in life. Much to my surprise he agreed to write me a recommendation.
You don’t get anywhere in life by playing small. If you don’t value and believe in yourself no one else will. Doubting yourself gets you absolutely no where. When applying to jobs and working on applications I find it really hard to sell myself. I range from being unsure of my abilities to not wanting to sound arrogant. I usually play it on the safe side and end up really downplaying whatever I am saying. This has never once helped me. If you doubt yourself, other people are going to doubt you as well. Would you ever hire someone who was unsure of their ability to do the job? What about if your surgeon told you he doubted his ability to perform your surgery? Doubting is contagious.
Luckily enough, confidence is contagious as well. When you are sure of yourself other people catch on to that. The people who believe that they can do something are usually the people who end up doing it. Believing in yourself is half the battle. If you think you are the right person for a job then say so. If you believe in yourself then other people will believe in you as well. There is nothing more inspiring then someone with confidence.
I have been blessed with many opportunities in my life, ranging from job experiences to volunteer gigs. Deep down inside I know that these weren’t based on luck but instead on the abilities that I posses. Next time I am asked the question that I was above I am not going to hesitate. I will stand up for my abilities and have confidence in what I am saying. Even if I don’t get the job/recommendation/whatever, at least I know that I gave it my all, and this sounds much more beneficial then uming and ahing while trying to plan an escape route.