Getting Past Low Self-Esteem for Career Success

March 28, 2018 Sam Woolfe

Having low self-esteem impacts your career success negatively. Learn how to regain confidence in your abilities when low self-esteem and career success collide at HealthyPlace. Remember, your inner critic doesn't have all the right answers. Check this out.

Self-esteem impacts career success and low self-esteem can be one of the countless roadblocks that you will encounter when you follow a particular career path. Whether you’re setting up a business or developing a skill that you’re passionate about, there can be a lot of hardship involved – you may make disheartening mistakes and be confronted with serious financial struggles (Emotional Resilience: Bounce Back from Difficulty). When you commit yourself to an authentic career path, low self-esteem is another major setback you may have to contend with. It can make you give up when the going gets tough and cause you to doubt your abilities. It’s imperative to shake off this mental baggage causing low self-esteem that hinders career success.

Low Self-Esteem Damages Career Success

Having low self-esteem makes career success elusive. I know from personal experience that when my self-esteem is at its lowest, my motivation to achieve my career goals plummets. This is because I will tell myself things like, “Your writing is embarrassing and cringe-worthy, don’t bother sharing it.”

I will sometimes judge what I write -- and, in turn, myself -- to be pretentious, arrogant, self-righteous, and naïve. This doesn’t mean my writing is never any of these things. But I know that when I negatively view my work (and myself) in this way, it is often exaggerated, unrealistic, and harsh.

I suppose I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I can be quite hard on myself when it comes to writing and putting my work out there. There have been many occasions when I’ve talked myself into not sharing what I’ve written, even if I recognize the effort and sincerity that’s gone into it. Dealing with a disparaging inner critic is a common struggle for writers; however, it can affect anyone’s career path.

The problem is that just believing and giving into the inner critic’s judgments is demotivating and stifling. When I trust this voice, I lose the energy to write. I don’t publicise my work. And when I do share my articles, I view negative feedback as sacrosanct and a sign of my inadequacy as a writer. I have tried to give less credence to this stern coach in my head by consistently acting against its directives. If this voice tells me, “Don’t share your work because you will be negatively judged”, I say something more reasonable and productive like, “Share this because it may be of value to someone and whoever doesn’t like it can criticise it.”

Progressing in your career path means being willing to embrace real criticism and to use it constructively and to abandon the hypercritical and unhelpful attitudes you have about yourself.

Maintain Self-Esteem for Career Success

Besides challenging your inner critic, it is also essential to show compassion towards yourself during difficult times in your career path. After all, self-compassion can raise your self-esteem and give you confidence in your skills and marketable qualities.

Maybe you have a failing business, you lose a client, or you receive a barrage of negative comments on social media about a blog post you’ve written. Understand that we are all human and imperfect. We build skills and success over time, and many mistakes will be made along the way. Successful people mess up, sometimes in a calamitous fashion.

When we make major errors and everything seems to be falling to pieces, it is tempting to start viewing ourselves as complete failures. But from a detached vantage point, you can also see why you made a particular mistake and how – in the grand scheme of things – it doesn’t really eradicate your value and abilities and how you can use your capacities to avoid making this mistake in the future.

Low self-esteem can instill a defeatist mindset and prevent you from pursuing a career that you are truly passionate about. In order to resist the unnecessary decision to abandon your career path, show kindness towards your imperfections and use them as fertile ground for self-improvement, rather than self-criticism. Your improved self-esteem and career success will thank you.

APA Reference
Woolfe, S. (2018, March 28). Getting Past Low Self-Esteem for Career Success, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 19 from

Author: Sam Woolfe

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June, 28 2019 at 5:46 pm

Hi Ali, I'm glad this article resonated with you. Thank you to Sam for writing it.

Ali Naqvi
June, 17 2019 at 4:57 am

Excellent Article, thank you.

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