It’s never helpful to be told to believe in yourself. If it was that simple, no one would ever experience self-doubt or lack confidence.

However, having belief in your abilities is a great way to help you find the confidence to take action and move forward in your career, but it can be difficult to do. Here are three strategies to help you.

Distinguish beliefs from facts 

We often hold beliefs about ourselves, but how often do we question our beliefs or seek the evidence to back them up? You might tell yourself that you don’t have the ability to do something and if you don’t question this, you’ll go on believing that you’re not capable when there is no evidence that this is true.

Look at the facts. When have you achieved things in your life? If you had the ability to do something on previous occasions, what’s stopping you from doing it now? Very often you’ll find that when you question your assumptions, the evidence for them simply isn’t there.

It’s also important to look at what your belief is giving you. If you believe you have no chance of getting a particular job, this might stop you from applying for it. By not applying for it, you can’t be rejected, so you’re keeping yourself safe.

Once you’ve looked at your beliefs and have a better understanding of what they’re doing for you, start looking at how you can change those beliefs. Rather than choosing to believe you have no chance of getting a new job, what could you choose to believe instead?

Reframe how you compare yourself with others 

If you compare yourself with others and then feel disappointed that you haven’t achieved something they have, this is likely to result in you feeling as though you’re not good enough. Not only is this unhelpful, it’s also inaccurate as you are not the same as the person with whom you’re comparing yourself.

It’s worth remembering that success is unlikely to have happened overnight for that person. What you’re seeing might have taken years, so don’t make yourself feel bad if you’re not where someone else is. You’re not comparing like for like.

If you catch yourself making unhelpful comparisons, try reframing this and view their achievements as aspirations and feel inspired by them.

Use self-doubt to your advantage

Most of us will experience some form of self-doubt at some point in our lives. You might find that you know you’re doing a good job, but you’re drowning in work and feel as though you’re achieving nothing.

It’s perfectly normal to doubt yourself from time to time and it can be a good thing, but when it happens frequently, it can prevent you from moving forward.

Rather than seeing self-doubt as something that stops you from moving forward and achieving your goals, see it as an opportunity to grow and learn.

If used in a constructive way, self-doubt can help you identify genuine areas of weakness, rather than making you think you’re no good at something when, deep down, you know you are. Once you have identified any areas to develop, you can then find a way of addressing them.

Regardless of whether you doubt yourself or compare yourself with others, the important thing to remember is not to judge yourself too harshly. Show yourself some compassion and recognise that most people experience this from time to time.

This article was written by Aileen Carson, a professional coach. Aileen helps managers in the third sector progress with their career without burning out. You can get in touch with Aileen via her profile page or at