Tue | Oct 16, 2018

Don’t let doubt derail your dreams

Published:Tuesday | November 11, 2014 | 11:35 PM

Recently, a Gleaner Careers reader, A. Johnson, shared her story of how doubt almost stopped her from acting on an idea which led to her landing her dream job.

I found her experience highly instructive and inspirational.

It reminded me of times in my career and life when doubt prevented me from acting on an inspired idea. Later, I could only think wistfully about what might have been.

On the other hand, I was also led to think about the times when, despite doubt, fear and innumerable misgivings, I took action on my ideas and experienced the euphoria of a dream fulfilled.

If your dream is being held captive by doubt in the twilight zone between aspiration and action, her story can help you break free. If you're already on track to realise your career and life goals, you'll be inspired not to let doubt derail your progress.

This is Johnson's story.

In her mid-30s, she decided to change careers to pursue her passion, which was teaching. She resigned from her corporate job, and enrolled in university. She excelled academically in earning her first degree.


All she had to do now was go about the 'simple' task of job hunting. She was ready for the classroom, itching to make a difference in her students' lives.

She prepared her rÈsumÈ and cover letter. Diligently, she targeted some schools which interested her, and even got called for a couple of job interviews in the process. That's when she realised the 'simple' task of job-hunting wasn't going to be so simple after all.

The reason? She kept hearing that she lacked the necessary classroom-teaching experience. Her excellent academic record wasn't going to be enough. She didn't give up, however. She persisted.


However, repeated failure to get an employment breakthrough eventually started to wear her down. She started to feel discouraged and wondered if she was ever going to achieve her dream.

She particularly wanted to teach at a certain Kingston school. Her heart was set on it. If only she could get a job there, that would be perfect. So she approached them. No luck - she lacked teaching experience.

Despite the seeming hopelessness of her situation, she willed herself to keep believing. She also had encouraging family and friends around her who helped. One day, she had an idea to revisit the school where they'd turned her down before.

By then, she had refined her rÈsumÈ, but doubted whether that would make any difference.

Despite the doubt, however, she got dressed. She took her documents, summoned a spirit of courage, faith and determination, and went.

She represented herself confidently, assertively and intelligently. They were convinced to give her an opportunity. As it turned out, by then, they actually needed a teacher for her subject. She did a formal interview. And the rest, as they say, is history. She's now happily employed in her dream job.

Whatever career aspirations you have, it takes only one doubtful thought to stop you, if you let it.

Remember Shakespeare's words: Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by failing to attempt.

• Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of 'From Problems to Power', and co-author of 'Profile of Excellence'.