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Do you ever feel like you’re the only one at work who doesn’t know what they’re doing? Do you  feel like everyone else is smarter than you, and that everyone notices your lack of intelligence? If so, it’s time to stop feeling stupid at work. Whether you’re new to the role, have been in it for a while or have simply been feeling overwhelmed lately, read on for tips on how to stop feeling stupid and start feeling confident in your abilities.

Remember you are not expected to be perfect (except medical field)

Can you think of anyone who is perfect at work? What do you do when a coworker makes a mistake? Do you call them stupid? I’d hope not. Your boss is not perfect and your colleagues aren’t either. Making mistakes doesn’t mean you are stupid. Things happen and we all have bad days and make mistakes here and there. 

If you have perfectionist standards for yourself, accept that you will not always be perfect and sometimes you will actually do or say something stupid. It’s all very normal. Its good to have high standards for yourself, but give yourself grace and accept the imperfections. 

 “Confidence comes when you know you’ve put in the work” – Britt Seva

What do you need to learn to gain confidence? If you take the time to learn something, you will gain confidence in it. Remember the saying that practice makes perfect? It reminds me of the first time I drove a car. I was in a parking lot with my friend’s cool older sister and she told me she’d show me how to drive. I felt SO stupid. I knew nothing about the gas pedal, braking, the mirrors or anything. Now I don’t even think about driving when I drive because I dedicated time to learning it and built up my confidence. It’s all so automatic.

It’s like that with our careers too. If you feel stupid about something at work then you need to get educated on that area. Whether it’s software you need to learn or a new skill. Instead of just hating when you have to do whatever it is. Try to learn as much as you can. 

Take a class or ask someone in the office who is an expert. Take notes. Try it in sandbox mode. Ask for help, even if you think it’s a stupid question. Get the answers you need. Feeling confident cancels out feeling stupid, but you need the knowledge to get the confidence.  

Don’t compare yourself to others. You have enviable strengths too. 

Feeling stupid and comparing yourself to others isn’t helpful. You and your colleagues have different strengths and weaknesses. You may be triggering them into feeling stupid about something totally different. A great way to combat this is to create a list of your strengths and keep it easily accessible, like on your notes app on your phone.. Add to the list often and review it whenever you start feeling dumb compared to someone else. You were hired for a reason. Most offices don’t need every employee having the same strengths. They hired you for your strengths to help round out the team. 

Review your work

Take a few minutes to review your work and make sure it’s really complete. This helps find little mistakes. Anticipate what questions you may get regarding your work and be prepared to answer those questions. Make adjustments as needed. Don’t over complicate things or get too detailed, but make sure you always do a review before turning something in. 

Fess up

If you do make a mistake, own up to it. Don’t lie or blame others. Take responsibility and provide ways you will fix it. A mistake doesn’t mean you are stupid. As long as you learn from your mistake and take responsibility, you will receive respect for the way you handle it. 

Feeling stupid at work can be a difficult experience

It’s important to recognize that feeling stupid is not an indication of your worth as an individual or worker. Instead, it’s a sign that you’re pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and into new challenges. To stop feeling stupid at work, remember that you don’t have to be perfect and strive for progress instead of perfection. Acknowledge your efforts, learn from mistakes, and reach out for help when needed.

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