How to Thrive in a New Role and Overcome Self-Doubt

Announcing our Newest Grand Quest ✨

Today's post is written by Jeanette Jordan, Lead Facilitator for our newest Grand Quest - Thriving in a New Role ✨

Even though I have been working since I was 15 years old and have had almost 2 dozen jobs, I still get nervous when taking on a new role and assignment. 

For me, imposter syndrome – doubting myself or feeling like a fraud – is something I battle with on a regular basis, especially as I venture into the unknown. As I am about to start a new job, which I tend to do every few years, I often worry about if I have the knowledge, skills and experience to succeed in my new role. I wonder how well I will get along with my new colleagues, I worry the culture may not be as good as it seems and I obsessively think about how I can make an impact quickly to establish my credibility.

Though it can be scary to start a new job, my amazing colleague and friend Anita Hossain asked me a poignant question, as I was considering a career transition earlier this year,

“If it doesn’t scare you, is it big enough?” 

This question reminded me that growth and learning happen beyond your comfort zone. ​​

The Learning Zone is where you have the opportunity to stretch yourself and develop new skills. If done correctly, learning something new can be a fun adventure where you allow yourself to be curious, creative and take new risks. The goal is to challenge yourself in a positive and healthy way, without pushing you over the edge, into the panic zone. 😱

After decades of managing, coaching and navigating my own job changes, I want to share a few tips to keep you out of the panic zone:

  • Build a support team. It’s so important when you are feeling uncomfortable to have support. Your support team may consist of mentors, friends or old colleagues who you feel comfortable asking “dumb” questions and who can remind you of all the transferrable skills you bring to the table. One of the things I love about The Grand is we design all of our group coaching cohorts to be a safe and supportive environment for our community members.

  • Create a routine. When there are a lot of factors out of your control, creating a routine can help reduce stress and keep you focused. Simple routines like establishing regular 1:1 meetings, dedicating time to clearing your inbox, creating to-do lists and setting weekly goals can help stay positive and productive as you get settled in a new role. At The Grand, we use the S.M.A.R.T. goal framework to help our members set realistic and timely goals to support their transitions. This is a tangible way to help them focus on a few things they’d like to achieve without getting overwhelmed by trying to take on everything at once.

  • Ask a lot of questions. One of the benefits of being new is that people do not expect you to have all of the answers. This is a great opportunity to get to know new people, understanding their roles and responsibilities, and learn how your job fits into the broader organization. Don’t skip an opportunity to ask questions and gain a real understanding of how things work early on in your job change. One of the cornerstones of each group coaching program, which we call Quest, is that we teach and practice empathic listening and asking open and honest questions. These frameworks will help you understand another person's experience and explore new possibilities and outcomes as you start to problem solve challenges you face.

  • Celebrate your wins. Make time on a regular basis to reflect on what you’ve accomplished. I recommend creating a list weekly or bi-weekly of at least 3-5 wins. Recognizing even small wins can help keep you motivated and build your confidence as you establish yourself in a new role or company. One of our rituals at The Grand is to close every cohort by reflecting on the progress and the growth that each member made during their Quest.  We share appreciations for everyone who contributed their unique talents and perspectives to the community. This exercise is one that can be used far beyond your Quest to help you both take stock and celebrate your wins.

As I reflect on some of my proudest accomplishments during my career, I realize they would not have happened without me taking a risk and trying something new. Early on in my tech career, I had a rare opportunity to work at Millennial Media, a mobile advertising startup, when they went public on the NYSE and to participate in that process by contributing to the S-1 filing. As exciting as the moment was, and it’s a memory I will always cherish, the reality is I only had that experience because I was willing to accept a loosely defined role, at a company I had never heard of before.

More recently, after almost a decade of working in Product Marketing, I was asked to move into a newly created role as the Head of Corporate Marketing and rebrand the company AdRoll Inc. to NextRoll Inc. While I initially had no idea what I was doing or where to start, after months of research, learning and building a support system, I was able to define both my new role and a strategy for rebranding the organization. Though I was terrified at the outset, successfully launching a global rebrand (with a small team and scant budget) is truly one of my proudest accomplishments, mainly because it helped push past the limiting beliefs I had about myself.  

Often imposter syndrome is rooted in our fear of failure and/or rejections and the lessons I learned about overcoming it can be summarized by my favorite Adam Grant quote:

The most meaningful way to succeed is to help others succeed.”

If you are able to shift the focus from your own fear of failure to the unique gifts you can contribute to your team and organization, it will feel a lot less scary to venture into something new.

Our Newest Quest: Thriving In a New Role

Coaching and peer support groups have been key to my success throughout my career. They have given me perspective, support and a safe space to workshop my challenges. For that reason, I am excited to launch a new Quest for The Grand called Thriving in a New Role. This Quest is designed for our members to learn and understand the stages of team development, how to build trust and rapport, and how to effectively communicate with different personality types. The goal is to give you, our community members, a safe environment to build upon your strengths and gain confidence as you navigate a new role and/or team.  

If you’ve recently joined a new company or started a new role within your company, and you are looking for additional support, consider joining The Grand.

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We also love drawing on the collective knowledge and diverse experience of our community members, so we want to hear from you! What are your best tip and tricks for overcoming new job jitters? Please reply to this tweet and let us know.