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How to Get Over Your Insecurities

How to Get Over Your Insecurities

Last month, I published an article called “10 Things Insecure People Do That Slowly Destroy Their Lives.” A reader reached out to me on Twitter basically saying, “yeah, so what? You’ve identified the problem, but now you need to tell me how to solve it.” So I pitched this article as a follow-up piece; since I already identified the problems, now I can help offer some solutions. I picked some of the tips that I thought worked the best, especially in conjunction with my previous article. I hope this helps other readers out there as much as it helps me!

1. Be objective.

I’ve found that it helps if I talk to myself like I was someone else. That makes me sound crazy, right? Strangely enough, I actually give good advice to others when they’re facing insecurities or having problems. I just never follow my own advice. So when you’re facing your own insecurities, or can’t seem to get past a difficult speed bump in your life, step back and look at your situation objectively.

What advice would you give to a friend in your situation? If you’re scared of going to a party where you know no one, pep yourself up by saying you never know who you might meet; it’s great to talk to new people and learn about them. Don’t allow yourself any excuses, and push yourself to actually take the advice you come up with. Not allowing yourself a loophole to stay at home instead of go somewhere new will help you feel more secure and confident.

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2. Write down your fears.

Writing might seem like a passive action to take, but it’s a really helpful step! When you write things down, you’re getting them out of your head and looking at them in a different way. Instead of turning negative thoughts over and over in your mind, you have them down on paper so you can read over them.

Be honest when you read them and decide what is a logical fear, and what is irrational, like you being worried about what people think of you, or being considered a failure by your parents. Think about your fears and decide what you can let go, and what you can work to improve. Knowing your fears instead of being blind-sided by them in social or work situations will help you feel more secure in your daily life.

3. Celebrate your successes.

You’re written down your failures, but don’t forget your successes! You’ve gotten this far in life, so of course you’ve done some good. If you were a good student, remember your time in school and be proud of it. If you were just hired for your dream job, make sure you celebrate that instead of focusing on the fear of failing in the position. Celebrate even your smallest successes—sometimes checking a few things off of your To Do list is cause for celebration!

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If you start thinking negatively of your successes by saying it’s been too long since you’ve accomplished something, or anything along those lines, then make sure you turn around your way of thinking and make it positive again. Remembering past positive experiences will help you realize that there is much more good to come, and that you deserve it.

4. Change what you can.

Instead of hating certain things about yourself, try to change what you can. If you hate being short, you’re out of luck, but focus on things you can change. If you hate how you sit on the couch for hours after work, then push yourself to go to the gym and then cook dinner and be social after work. If you’re tired of worrying about every little thing, then start talking yourself out of those worries and making everything more positive.

Even if it takes a long time for you to change anything, just taking the action will motivate you enough to keep going. You’ll know you’re making progress because of the way you’re thinking, and taking control of your life and making change happen will push away those insecurities.

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5. Start saying yes.

When I was going through insecure times, I had a hard time saying yes to anything. It was too easy to say no to any social engagement, or to talking to a friend, or anything. I didn’t want to do anything because it was more secure for me to sit at home. I don’t even really know why I would say no. If I stopped to think about it, nothing horrible would have happened if I said yes.

Once I started questioning why I said no, I realized it was easier to say yes and try to put myself out there more. Just like in step 4, if you start saying yes, then you’re changing a bit of yourself. You’re taking charge of your situation by saying yes and facing new experiences instead of closing yourself off and living the same life day in and day out.

6. Don’t compare yourself to others.

Comparing yourself to others is the easiest way to cut down your self esteem. How insecure do you feel when you compare your outfit to someone else’s, or when you think their life is so much easier than yours? In truth, that person might not be that comfortable in their clothes, and they probably have more problems than you know.

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Though you may not realize it, thinking this way of others is actually a way of judging them. When you look at someone and judge them, you’re cutting them down to trying and raise yourself up—but does it really make you feel any better? You’re just being negative, and even if you judge them in a way that makes them look bad, you’re still comparing yourself to them.

Instead, raise other people up. Compliment them, smile, and see how much of that positivity you get back. You’ll feel better because you’re being more positive, and you’ll feel more secure because people will enjoy being around you more, and will smile and return compliments and goodwill to you.

7. Keep good company.

Have good friends. If someone in your social circle is negative and criticizes you and others for every little thing, you need to get away from them. No matter how good of a person you think you are, that type of behavior is infectious and will impact your own outlook. Be around people who are nurturing, who will compliment you when you deserve it and support you during both good and bad times. Make sure these are people you genuinely care about, so you won’t have to think twice about treating them the same way they treat you.

Featured photo credit: anna gutermuth via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

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Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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