My lack of confidence is holding me back

Our agony aunt Mary Fenwick offers a different perspective on whatever is troubling you


My lack of confidence is holding me back

I’m in my 20s and have just been made redundant from a job I didn’t really enjoy. I feel lost and not sure what to do now. I live at home with my parents and have enough money saved to go away for a few months and see some of the countries I’ve always wanted to see, but I have a lot of fear. I’m self-sufficient, but lack confidence, and I’m not sure if I’m brave enough to go travelling on my own. What should I do? 

The emotions of redundancy make it hard to think straight. Even if you didn’t like the job, you would have preferred that leaving was your choice. The challenge is to take charge of small choices, to rebuild your confidence in bigger decisions.

Another way of looking at it is in terms of push or pull motivations. You have been pushed out of your job, and you feel a pull towards travelling. In general, pull motivations can be more powerful, as you have your own internal motivations to keep going – whereas no one likes to feel pushed around.

One option is travel, but that picture is not clear enough to energise you yet. You could perhaps combine travel with voluntary or paid work, or learning something new. Any of those could provide more concrete structure, as well as new companions for the journey.

What small element did you enjoy of your last job, or in previous roles? What did you imagine yourself doing before you fell into the job that you didn’t like? Can you shadow a friend in a great job for a day? Or travel, even within your own country for a few days, to do some groundwork for the job you’d really like to do? The research shows that adults do better when they try things out, not just think about them.

Take small steps and find something fun every day. Try this link on the value of building hope into your life. It’s a better predictor of success than talent alone. Well done on having saved some money, too. Statistically, that makes you unusual, not only financially, but in terms of sticking to a plan once you decide on it. That’s a great start. 

Mary Fenwick is a business coach, journalist, fundraiser, mother, divorcée and widow. Follow Mary on Twitter @MJFenwick. Got a question for Mary? Email, with ‘MARY’ in the subject line.

More inspiration: Psychologies' first book, Real Confidence, is out now.

Photograph: iStock

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