Adjusting to the Changing Landscape of the Digital World

I know we all doubt ourselves. We might not admit it or talk about it, but I bet we all do it. Have you ever thought about why you doubt yourself?

Maybe it’s because you think you are going to be wrong, or because you haven’t done enough research, or because someone said something to you that might have —­ for whatever reason — made you change your mind.

I have thought a lot about this over the past few years as I have transitioned to new companies and new positions. I find lately that I have doubted myself a few too many times, which is something that I rarely made a habit of in the past. But I should never have let that doubt hinder my determination as a businesswoman who has been working in her field for three decades. I should have remained confident in my decisions, approaches, comments, ideas, whatever it might have been.

I’m not saying that we should dismiss our doubts as being invalid, because doubt can be a very useful tool for keeping ourselves in check; however, oftentimes we need to ask ourselves what the source of that doubt is. Having spent thirty-plus years in technology, I have been very lucky to be part of two very successful software startup companies that created solutions that were considered “first in the marketplace.”

I’m proud to have been part of these companies that accomplished so many great things and created so many new ideas, and to have learned so much from the people that I worked for and who worked for me. I have built a knack for being able to determine what technologies and/or solutions will change how companies do business.

Here are a few examples: Workstation backup to server based backup, monolithic storage to virtualized storage, provision storage over Fibre Channel to provision storage over IP, dedicated data centers to cloud, server-based replication for disaster recovery to network-based block level replication.

I built sales organizations, channel organizations, changed how VARs sold solutions, changed how companies did business by leveraging my expertise in technology and my passion and confidence in the companies I worked for and the teams I built.  

So the question I now have to ask myself is: Why I am more susceptible to doubt at this stage of my career now than when I first started in the 1980s?

The reality is that the business of technology is changing, and this can become unsettling if we are not reactive enough to change with it.

The rate of technological development moves faster in a year than it used to move in a decade, and it is important to be prompt enough to adapt to it just as rapidly, because as a leader you want to be able to communicate clearly your vision and plan. Now when I doubt myself I take a deep breath, look back at where I started and the adjustments I’ve made to get here, and I assure myself to be confident in who I am and what I am capable of. In today’s workplace you have to work differently, you have to study, educate yourself, and learn to prepare for the unexpected so that you can apply yourself most readily in the way that your business environment demands it.

So it’s okay to doubt yourself, to feel uncomfortable, because we don’t grow from situations in which we feel comfortable. Just make sure you always know how to use the tools available to you (which do not stay the same over time) in order to remain confident in your ability.