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5 Tips on Overcoming Self Doubt as an Intern and Supercharge Your Confidence

November 11, 2023

5 tips

Overcoming Self Doubt is something that we learn on the go. Despite some people having strong personalities and characters, self-doubt can appear at any moment of our lives, even having a successful life and professional career, we’re not exempt.

As an intern, embarking on a new journey in a professional environment can be both exciting and stressful. While the opportunity to learn and grow is plentiful, self-doubt can creep in, making you question your abilities. In this blog post, we’ll explore practical ways to overcome self-doubt and make the most of your internship experience.

1. Overcoming Self Doubt Acknowledging and Normalizing Feelings

overcoming self doubt

People illustrations by Storyset

Self-doubt is a universal human experience, such as failure, self-discovery, love, friendship, and learning among others. The journey of an intern, with its new challenges and unfamiliar environment, can trigger feelings such as fear, enjoyment, loneliness, self-criticism, and sadness. Recognizing these emotions does not mean being weak. Instead, it shows that you are aware of your own vulnerabilities and are committed to dealing with them.

Ignoring or suppressing these feelings can lead to heightened anxiety, depression and block your ability to learn and perform optimally.

Normalizing self-doubt is not about diminishing your abilities. It’s about acknowledging that these feelings are a natural reaction when you push yourself beyond your comfort zone. Every successful individual has struggled with self-doubt at some point.

Acceptance of these emotions empowers you to address them, explore their root causes, and devise strategies to overcome them. It’s okay not being ok.

First, you can initiate conversations with peers, mentors, or supervisors about your feelings. These discussions not only foster understanding but also reveal that self-doubt is a shared experience,  and this makes you feel less alone. Also, you can counter negative thoughts with positive affirmations instead of dwelling on perceived shortcomings, and remind yourself of your accomplishments and potential.

2. Set Realistic Expectations


Work illustrations by Storyset

Self-doubt often arises from a fear of falling short of expectations, particularly when entering unfamiliar territory like an internship. Recognizing self-doubt’s presence is the first step in addressing it.

Unrealistic expectations can elevate stress levels and perpetuate feelings of inadequacy. Realistic expectations alleviate this pressure, enabling interns to focus on the journey rather than constantly aiming for unattainable standards.

Assess Your Current Abilities

Take an honest inventory of your skills and knowledge. This assessment forms the baseline from which you can set attainable goals and what you’re able to do.

Break Down Goals

Divide larger goals into smaller, manageable tasks. Each completed task is a step towards your goal, providing a sense of accomplishment along the way. One step per time.

Setbacks are inherent in any learning process. They can manifest as mistakes, failures, or unexpected difficulties. Paired with self-doubt, these setbacks can create a sense of discouragement and hinder progress. Acknowledging the presence of setbacks and self-doubt is the first step towards transforming them into valuable learning experience.

3. Learn From Setbacks


People illustrations by Storyset

Interns struggling with self-doubt should adopt a growth mindset. This perspective views setbacks as opportunities for learning and growth, rather than indicators of inadequacy or failure. It acknowledges that abilities can be developed through effort and perseverance.

Take a step back and objectively assess the setback. 

Identify the factors that contributed to it and reflect on what could have been done differently. Extract lessons from the setback. What did you learn about yourself, your approach, or the situation? These insights are valuable for future decision-making.

Don’t center around failure, work around progress and growth, remember each mistake makes you wiser.

4. Maintain a growth mindset. 


People illustrations by Storyset

The growth mindset is the belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication, effort, and learning. It contrasts with the fixed mindset, which assumes that traits are unchangeable.

By embracing a growth mindset, interns open themselves up to a world of possibilities and empowerment, even in the face of self-doubt. Self-doubt can be a formidable barrier to growth, causing interns to question their abilities and potential.

A fixed mindset exacerbates these feelings, making it challenging to overcome challenges. By adopting a growth mindset, interns shift their focus from limitations to opportunities, and from failures to lessons.

Instead of avoiding challenges due to fear of failure, welcome them as opportunities for growth. Each challenge presents a chance to learn, improve, and gain new insights. The more effort you invest, the closer you come to achieving your goals.

5. Visualize success


People illustrations by Storyset

Visualizing success is a powerful technique that can help interns struggling with self-doubt overcome their challenges and build the confidence needed to excel.

Visualization involves creating vivid mental images of you achieving your goals and desired outcomes. By engaging your senses and imagination, you can build a mental picture of success, which in turn can influence your actions, attitudes, and beliefs.

Begin by creating a clear mental image of your desired success. Imagine yourself confidently completing tasks, delivering presentations, and interacting with colleagues. Visualize every detail, from your body language to your surroundings. As you visualize, use positive and affirming language.

Tell yourself that you are capable, skilled, and confident. Replace negative thoughts with empowering statements.

Learn How to Accept Imperfections and Incorporate potential challenges into your visualization. See yourself calmly facing challenges and finding effective solutions. This practice prepares you mentally for setbacks and helps you approach them with resilience.


Overcoming self-doubt not is something that you’ll achieve from one day to another one, it requires time, patience, persistence, dedication, and will.

No matter how many articles, videos, movies, or therapists you see, the last decision is upon you.

Start applying those tips, of course, something you’ll feel like giving up, but continue, it will be worth it, changing a mentality requires comprehending new structures and mindsets.

So don’t worry, self-doubt is a common companion on this path, and with the right strategies, you can navigate it successfully and become even stronger.

Have you used any strategies to overcome self-doubt?

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Elliana Marquardt Digital Marketing At VisitMind


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