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Finding Confidence When You're in a Ditch

Updated: May 17, 2021

On this managerial road, there will be ups and downs, twists and turns, and on some days you might feel like you are stuck in a ditch and can’t climb out. I’m sure every manager is well acquainted with this place. The place where you second guess everything, feel completely alone and just want someone to tell you what to do. If you find yourself in this place, read on for tips on how to best manage your mental state.

  1. Don’t Beat Yourself Up - Recognize that even the best of the best have hard times. There is no point in struggling and then worrying about the fact that you’re struggling. Write down on a piece of paper your stresses. Admit that you’re feeling bad and try and figure out the root cause.

  2. Visualize Yourself In the Act - Brain studies show that when we picture ourselves doing something the same parts of our brain are engaged as if we were actually doing the activity. If you are feeling fear about a big presentation, imagine yourself succeeding at the thing you are nervous about. Make it super specific and actually visualize it. This will help give you confidence and practice.

  3. Ask for Help From the Right People - There comes a huge relief when you can find someone you trust who you can talk through your fears with. Admitting your struggles shows courage and self-awareness not weakness. Find a friend, family member, group or coworker who can empathize with you and give you advice. You can go much farther when you have people supporting you.

  4. Establish Boundaries - When you find yourself up at night thinking about your to-do list or you’re so stressed you work nights and on weekends, try to resist this. Set boundaries by setting some time for other important things in your life- spending time with family and friends, exercising, volunteering, etc. You can’t work your best unless you physically feel your best, so it’s always worth taking time for yourself.

Being a manager isn’t a walk in the park. When you find yourself in the ditch, know there is always a way out. Trust yourself and ask for help when you need it. Being a manager is a process and every moment is a learning opportunity.

Want more? Check out Julie Zhuo’s book The Making of a Manager to help keep you on the right track as a new manager.


Learn more about our keynote, workshops and team building sessions by emailing Margie Adams at or go to

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