Safer bet, you or the person in next cubicle?

Friday, January 14, 2022, Vol. 46, No. 2

I recently heard a famous comedian talking about her career and how she got where she is today. When it comes to her work, she said, she’s always tried to bet on herself, and that other people should bet on themselves, too. What a novel idea.

This caught my attention because it’s such a great way to think about our careers. So often, we give other people a chance in situations where we might not give ourselves the same opportunity.

Think of it this way: We can be our harshest critics. We know every weakness we possess. We know every worry. We know all of the reasons things might not work out for us. We remember every time we have made a mistake, and just how much it hurt. We might feel like taking a risk just isn’t worth the effort, given the high possibility that we might fail.

But, with the person sitting next to us at work, we don’t know those things. We aren’t aware of every weakness and every worry they have. Very often, we can see their potential without clouding the picture with these details.

However, as we reflect on ourselves we also see many good qualities. Perhaps we have a significant amount of industry knowledge and experience. Maybe we have great resources, in the form of mentors. We might have a ton of transferrable skills that we bring to work every day. Or, maybe we’re great at leading others. We might even be more qualified than the person sitting next to us.

If we saw our strengths in another person, we’d likely give that person a real shot. We’d give them the benefit of the doubt. We’d bet our money on their ability to do the work. We would assume they would be successful.

So, rather than get caught up in self-doubt, what if we tried to turn this tide around in 2022? What if we gave ourselves the same benefit of the doubt that we’d give to someone else? What if we let go of our fears? What if we focused in on our strengths rather than our weaknesses?

I bet work would become a lot easier if we did these things. We would take risks that we otherwise avoid.

We might volunteer more and step outside of our comfort zone. We might try to increase our knowledge and skillset. And, honestly, all of these things might impress our boss and benefit our company.

What’s the worst that could happen? Sure, we might fail. But, we might succeed.

Think about all the great things that could happen if we let go of our fears and bet on ourselves. Keep this in mind as you start 2022, and bet on yourself.

You’ve earned it more than that person sitting next to you.

Angela Copeland, a career expert and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at