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I’m not qualified for that job…

Today we’re talking about how to handle the voice that says, “I’m not qualified for that job”.  Maybe you’ve found an interesting opportunity that’s also challenging, but you’re thinking – nah, I’m not ready yet.

Most of us have heard by now that in order to apply for a job, women feel they need to meet 100% of the criteria; whereas men usually apply after meeting 60% of the criteria.

Despite knowing this research, it may still feel challenging to go for that role. In fact knowing these numbers and still feeling hesitant to go for it may have you thinking, “Why am I still afraid to apply when I know better?”

We talked about this in our group coaching session recently, and I want to share some of the learnings that came out of that call.

I see that without the right awareness and tools, self doubt will run your life, and we don’t have time for that!

Here’s how to handle that voice in your head that says, “I’m not qualified”  so that you can go after the opportunity you want, get the job, make more money and build your confidence in the process.

Don’t push the feeling away

You feel the self doubt and the first thing you want to do is write it off as “illogical” or “stupid” (or in other words, bury it). 

Or maybe you have the urge to just fake it till you make it. 

Rather than push the feeling away or just rush through it, I want you to try something different: I want you to allow the self doubt.

It’s going to be uncomfortable, but that feeling is there for a reason. 

It’s actually telling you to pay attention to something that you may need to do or shift. 

Can you let the self doubt in? Sit with it for a bit. What does it feel like? 

When we try to resist whatever negative feeling is coming up, we usually exacerbate it. It goes deep into our subconscious mind and will show up again at some other time. 

On the other hand, once you allow it you’ll give yourself some space to process and understand if this is a bigger issue you need to work through or just momentary jitters. 

Then you can take action from a more deliberate place. 

Let the self doubt fuel your growth 

Self doubt is bad so let’s make it go away, right?


First, you’re not alone. Even Pulitzer-Prize winning authors like John Steinbeck and famous, accomplished writers like Edith Wharton struggled with self doubt

And if you read their stories, you’ll learn that just like you, they have a reason behind their self doubt – whether they simply feel inadequate or their circumstances aren’t aligned with the experiences of “true” artists. 

When it’s time to take a risk, your brain immediately wants to protect you. It’s a natural response to have thoughts of “I’m not experienced enough” especially when you’re doing something you haven’t done before. (Thanks brain!)

So rather than push the self doubt away, welcome it as a sign that you’re actually pushing yourself to do something different and that’s where growth happens. 

On the other hand, if you listen to the self doubt without first processing it, you’re likely to stay “safe” but also stagnant. 

Find someone to talk to

Feeling insecure can be really isolating. To make matters worse, when we say things like, “I shouldn’t feel this way,” or “This is dumb” we’re adding shame and judgement to the self doubt. 

You’re already feeling like crap. Isn’t it fascinating how we exacerbate our already-negative feelings by throwing shame, judgement and criticism on top? 

What I see happens then is this cycle of negativity – which won’t get you to where you need to go. 

To break this cycle, I recommend letting out your thoughts and feelings. Find someone you trust to share this with because they can validate your feelings and also give you some space to process what’s happening. Through conversation you may be able to better understand your thought process. 

Also, the negative thoughts and feelings will no longer be in your head. And to add to that, you won’t be layering shame on top of everything else. 

So find a friend, a colleague you trust, a coach, a mentor – someone who can hold space for you and help you work through the challenge you’re experiencing right now. 

Now I want to hear from you

Do you have a goal in mind but you’re feeling unsure you’ll achieve it? What’s scary about it? Get it out of your head right now and share with me in the comments. ??You’ll feel better plus, I can coach you on it. 

Belma McCaffrey

Author Belma McCaffrey

More posts by Belma McCaffrey

Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • William Fayette says:

    I would like to work in a job that I enjoy. I feel like I am getting burnt out of my AV tech job position and would like to work in the Tech industry doing something that is more aligned to my creative side. I am afraid that I do not qualify because I do not have the BA and only have college units completed.

    • Belma McCaffrey says:

      Hi William – Thanks so much for writing in and sharing! I bet you’re more qualified than you think. And we all have to start somewhere! I say go for it. And what do you need to FEEL qualified? Start there. That will give you confidence. You can do this!

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