Q: Lately I have been feeling very insecure and lacking in confidence. It started when I moved to a different city to take a challenging new job. It’s been a few months and I just can’t seem to get my feet under me. What should I do?
Celia, 31, graphic designer
A: Build multiple platforms to support you in your new setting to get the best grounding.
Many aspects of your life were affected when you moved for this job. You changed homes, lost day-to-day contact with friends and had to establish new routines. While it can be exciting, it can also be exhausting.
At the same time, you are learning a new job, one that may be causing you to stretch more than you may have expected.
That’s a lot of sources of stress at once, and your feelings of insecurity may be your way of reacting. If you are responding by withdrawing, this could exacerbate the issue.
To help you adjust, consider which aspects of your life give you the most strength. For example, if you are athletic, seek out teams or activities to participate in. Similarly, if you are a person of faith, find a religious home that suits you. Engaging in preferred activities will help you connect with the type of personal network you might be craving.
Also, find ways to ease the transition through connections with friends from your former community. It’s easier than ever with mobile phones and social media; also invite people to visit so that you can introduce them to your new environment.
Build routines, finding a favorite grocery store, hair stylist, vet, etc. so that every decision you make doesn’t require effort. This will free up a lot of mental energy.
Now consider your work situation. Clearly, if your employer recruited you to move for this position, they saw strong potential and value in the skills you bring. Remind yourself of these skills, writing down a list so that they are clear and tangible to you.
While you are at it, make a list of all the strengths you bring, not just intellectual task-based skills. Also consider emotional intelligence characteristics, communication skills and the like to bolster your confidence.
That said, since you are so new in your job, you are probably still on a learning curve.
Think through your primary responsibilities, and take an objective look at your performance. Which have been easy to pick up? Give yourself pats on the back for those. For those that have been a challenge, assess the approaches you have taken, and strategize ways to improve.
Be sure you are getting feedback on your ramp up from your boss. You may well be meeting or exceeding expectations for getting started; in that case, you are putting undue pressure on yourself.
Look at steps you can take to get the support you need.
You will feel better once you have more mastery of your position, so any training, coaching, or mentoring you can get will be time well spent.
Finally, be patient with yourself so that you can ease into your new life with less anxiety.
What challenges do you face at work? Send your questions to Liz Reyer, leadership coach and owner of Reyer Coaching & Consulting in Eagan. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.