Signs Your Self-Esteem is Sabotaging Your Career
You want success, but low self-esteem keeps getting in your way.
“You’ve got incredibly low self-esteem,” my therapist said to me.
This was news to me.
But also, it wasn’t news to me at all.
You see, up until just a few years ago, I’ve always struggled with my career, imposter syndrome, and I always had trouble following through with things.
But I thought this was just my creative and sensitive nature.
After High School, I didn’t go the conventional route of college then securing a 9 to 5. I wanted to be an actress. I studied to be an esthetician to learn how to do stage makeup and have a “backup plan”. And while I worked in that field, I went to auditions.
Back in the early noughties, the standards on who would make it were much tougher. You needed to be thin, pretty, and talented. There was no diversity and inclusivity like there is today.
You needed to have very thick skin. And as a woman, you also needed to have the ability to dodge constant sexual advances.
These were all things I didn’t have.
Every rejection was another blow to my—already waning—self-worth. Every promise of an acting gig in exchange for dinner was another reminder that I wasn’t talented enough to make it on my acting ability alone.
So, regretfully, I left that dream behind.
I was overly ambitious in my 20s, and while I was working as an esthetician, I always had one or two additional jobs. Promotional work, barista, karaoke hostess, retail assistant, bartender, waitress, photographer, nanny.
When an opportunity would present itself, I’d take it. I was so hungry to learn—and yet, I was so lost.
People thought I had confidence and self-esteem oozing from my bones. And in all honesty, I thought I did, too.
I never realized that I was feigning confidence and self-esteem throughout my 20s. And when I went to therapy for the first time in my 30s I learned that all of the decisions I had made in my life were based on my lack of self-esteem.
Signs Your Self-Esteem is Sabotaging Your Career
I wanted to write about this because I was in my 30s before I realized my low self-esteem was sabotaging my career and progression in life. I wish I’d known it sooner so I could have made better choices for myself.
Hopefully, this helps others not make the same errors.
Signs Your Self-Esteem is Sabotaging Your Career:
The inability to choose a career path is one symptom of low self-esteem. You can’t see yourself being successful, so you avoid it altogether.
Once you’ve chosen a career, you have trouble following through and reaching the top. You sabotage or purposely miss opportunities to climb the ladder in your career. You believe you’re not good enough to become an expert in anything.
You have trouble building relationships with your colleagues. You often keep to yourself and avoid extracurricular work activities and events.
You say “yes” to everyone, even if you don’t really want to do something. And you don’t really know how you feel about a lot of things because you’re always putting others’ feelings first.
You lack boundaries because you don’t think you deserve them.
You’re overly sensitive to criticism because you see it as an attack on your self-worth. Even when it’s constructive criticism designed to help you grow, you take it very personally.
You’re indecisive. You’re always second-guessing your decisions. What if you make a bad choice or you’re wrong?
You’re an over-thinker. You talk yourself out of a promotion, because you aren’t ready, or you’ll fail, and let your boss down.
You often feel burnt out and exhausted. You’re always thinking and doing for others, it’s no wonder you’re always emotionally spent.
These are some of the symptoms I’ve personally experienced in my career—and in my life.
But in retrospect, I was an incredible esthetician. I was busy and booked out, I had rave reviews and a slew of loyal customers who worshipped me.
Yet, I never believed I was great.
If I had believed in myself as much as my clients, I would have climbed that ladder and built my empire as a master esthetician, or, who knows what I would have done?
Instead, I kept myself down, never believing I was capable of bigger things.
The First Step
One of the biggest revelations in my life was when my therapist told me “You have incredibly low self-esteem.”
Since then, I’ve worked to dispel my beliefs that I’m not good enough. I try to neutralize my inner saboteur whenever that bitch tries to put me down.
But it’s not easy. Low self-esteem is often an ingrained belief that we’ve carried since childhood. So the first step is to recognize that you have low self-esteem.
From there, it may help to figure out where this belief stems from.
Maybe your parents were abusive, or your mother had low self-esteem. Maybe you were bullied in school.
Identifying the root cause can help you realize that it’s just your own limiting self-belief—and it isn’t real.
It’ll take hard work to recognize every time you have a destructive thought. To reprogram your brain not to overthink. To train yourself to say “no” to people.
But I hope that you can figure out, find peace—and build that damn empire for yourself.