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Personal Development/One step forward, ten steps back


Hi. Thanks for reading my question. I am extremely discouraged at my job.

I'm a late bloomer to my career. Do I wish I would have done things differently in the past and made better choices?  Absolutely. But I can't worry about that now. I've been at my career for a year now. While I feel like I've learned a lot, I feel really dumb and incompetent.

For example, I have people ten years younger than me reviewing my work and making comments on it. I was recently given an annual performance review where I was told I was doing awesome and to keep up the good work. However, now I have someone shadowing me when I go perform simple tasks?  I don't understand. It's a real blow to the confidence.

I used to be really confident in what I do, now I'm losing interest. I feel like in regressing and I can't figure out why. I feel like I'm not good at anything.

Thanks for any help you can give.


Hi Mel,

Thanks for your question, and I'm sorry for the delay, but I had a medical issue that came up and zapped me and my time.

You know something Mel, if I look back at the questions that I've answered I'm sure I could find one that is almost identical to yours.  As a matter of fact, I thought it was one that I already answered when I first read it.

Nevertheless I will answer it fresh as if it was the first time. I only mention it to let you know that you are not alone in this.

I'm glad that this was asked in the personal development category, because that is the very nature of what is going on.

First of all I can 'hear' it in your voice, that it bothers you that someone younger is overseeing your work.  I felt the same strange sensation when the doctor that took care of me seemed way too young to do the job.

At issue is the 'feeling' that you made mistakes, wrong turns, and missed out on opportunities. If you think about it, Mel, the feeling is taking over and you treat the feeling as if it is fact.  This is such a common thing that my first book was devoted to the whole notion of feelings vs. the Will.

If you and I were sitting down over coffee, watching the geese over lake Ontario, I would take the time to challenge each and every feeling that you have and compare it to reality. In the end, I am confident that you would understand that just because we feel, say, not good at anything, it doesn't make it true.  In fact, Mel, you can count on the fact that most of the times 'feelings' lie.  It's their job and it will take too much time to explain that here.

Suffice it to say that feelings are the shadows cast by our self images.  If you have a self image that says that you 'can't do anything' then of course the appropriate feeling will be triggered.  The solution isn't to work on your feelings, (the shadow), but to work on the self image that casts the feelings in you that you don't like.

There is no way, Mel, that you can't do 'anything'.  You received an great appraisal at work, and yet you challenge the appraisal.  Maybe the 'shadowing' has nothing to do with you, but with the personality of the 'shadower'!

As in the famous poem, The Desiderata, if you compare yourself to others you will suffer.  So what that what you started out doing in life didn't work out?  Some of the most famous success stories are from people who did exactly what you did, but made up for it in the final stretch of their life.

The only thing that can defeat you, Mel, is buying into the feeling that you can't do anything.  The feeling is lying, and when you sit and think about it, you know within you that it is true.  Let go of the regret, anger, and frustration.

You said something interesting. You said I used to be confident in what I do, but now, (AND INSTEAD OF SAYING THE EXPECTED; "NOW MY CONFIDENCE IS LOST", YOU SAID; "NOW I'M LOSING INTEREST".

That's not the opposite is it, Mel? If you are losing interest, could it be that you are ready for something greater? Hell, I had a pattern of changing what I was doing every two years, because I got good at whatever I did, and the idea of repeating it over and over again seemed crazy. Maybe you are telling yourself that, rather than being not good at anything, that you are in fact, ready for something greater!  Think of that as a possibility, Mel, and become open to opportunities.

I'll tell you something that you can take to the bank. Opportunities come around when we are ready to receive them; so open your mind to the possibility that you are setting yourself up for  something much better!  Your not used to thinking that way, and that's why you would automatically assume that losing interest means you're not good at 'anything'.  That is rarely the case in my experience.

So to sum up:

Don't buy into the feelings, but also don't waste too much time fighting them, it only makes them stronger.  Instead, accept the possibility that your feelings are lying to you, and in fact you are smarter and more capable than you think, and opportunities are just waiting for your approval to show themselves to you.

It's always better than you think.  I hope this was helpful, and please rate this answer honestly.

Phil L. Méthot
(an Ontario boy at heart still)

Personal Development

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Phil L. Méthot


Can answer questions relating to self image, motivation, fear of success, fear of failure, guilt, shame, debilitating feelings, self expression, weight gain, weight loss, goals, and public speaking, and communication. Will not discuss clinical aspects of depression, or medical associations to depression.


Motivational Management consultant since 1985, Author of the books; "Through the Door!": A Journey to the Self, (a look at the battle between our negative self-images and our personal power. Author of; "The Weight is Over" a book on weight loss and the role of The Self Image Paradox. Author of 10 Steps to Becoming a Great Public Speaker. Co-hosted a radio Talk Show for two years on Personal Development.

Toastmasters International Club President

My works are published on the sites: and in my book "Through the Door!" :A Journey to the Self. Articles may also be seen at

University of Toronto Trained with The Canadian Training and Motivation Group Inc.

Awards and Honors
Presidents Club award for excellence in Motivational Management Training. Honor roll member of Success Motivation International. Advanced Toastmaster Gold/Competent Leader

Past/Present Clients
Air Canada, Ritz Carlton Hotel Montreal, Air Transat, Festival Cruises, Panoff Publishing,

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