On one project, one of my teammates made me feel horrible about how I was contributing. This made me doubt myself and I spent time figuring out why I lost so much self confidence. I took Kain Ramsey’s program, called Warrior Mindset, which I highly recommend.
From that program I learned why I felt so terrible. I had a need to prove myself a success and I was heavily committed to defining myself by ‘what I did’. Since my identity was tied up by “what I did”, then “how well I did it” would determine if I was successful or not.
For example, if my design was “good” it was only known to me if others praised me. THEN I felt good. If my design was “bad”, it was only known to me if others didn’t like my output. THEN I felt bad. This essentially was an on-going evaluation and thus, emotional see-saw, because I defined myself by ‘what I did’. The only way I could know if what I did was good, was to evaluate “how well I did it” based on others opinions. I was getting really affected by others opinions as a result. Crazy right?
Nowadays, I try and define myself by if I have done the best I could to my ability or not. “How I am being” (within my control) defines who I am. I have to remind myself, I am hardworking, loving, collaborative, easy-going, imperfect, flexible, etc. etc. That’s what matters to me. ‘What I do” doesn’t define me anymore (or at least, it doesn’t very often, but I have to stay vigilant). I suggest checking out Kain Ramsey’s program or reflecting on the above to help you let go of identifying too much with your work.
Author’s story: On a project at work, while I was brainstorming with my team, I was really evaluating my contributions and defining myself by “what I did”. If others thought my idea was good, I felt good. If they thought my ideas were bad, I felt bad. I had to pause and recognize the familiar pattern. A good technique here I found was first being aware I was doing this and then second, stay quiet. Fight the need to prove yourself. It’s a subtle thing, but I found if I paused more, I could then start checking in with myself to see if my ideas were helpful to the team and users – not to me and my ego.