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How To Cure a Success Hangover

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We’ve all experienced the blissful high of a career milestone, whether it was landing a promotion, publishing a book, or starting a business. Maybe you toasted the accomplishment at a fancy dinner, shared the good news with friends and family, and announced it on social media. But if you’re like many people, that period of celebration may have been followed by anxiety and doubt—a “success hangover,” if you will. Questions of insecurity crept in, such as “Can I handle the demands of this new role?”, “What will change in my life?”, and “Am I really the right person for this job, or was I just in the right place at the right time?”

Dr. Shelley Reciniello, corporate psychologist, executive coach, and author of The Conscious Leader, says this is a common feeling after a career accomplishment. “When we get into the limelight, that stuff comes right up to the surface,” she says. “We have to understand that some fear is normal. We must remind ourselves who we are … [and that] we do know how to succeed.”

[Related: 3 Best Practices for Having a Successful Day]

Women are particularly vulnerable to believing they got a promotion or new job because of luck—even on a subconscious level. “I try to get [them] to see it was their talent and intellect. It was more than just hard work or luck,” Reciniello says.

Here, Reciniello offers three tips for reminding yourself that you’ve got this—because you know you do!

1. Remain open to feedback.

Former Mayor of New York Ed Koch was known for the catchphrase, “How’m I doing?” Reciniello says seeking feedback in the workplace, like Koch, can help you better understand your strengths and weaknesses and in turn diminish fear. “Be open to growing and changing,” she says. “Then your ego won’t get in the way.”

[Related: 6 Strategies for Handling Workplace Criticism Like a Champ]

2. Check in with yourself every day.

In addition to regularly asking for feedback, begin each morning with a self-talk to ensure your work aligns with your company’s mission and your goals. “Be curious and hell-bent on sticking to the company’s mission and how you contribute to that,” Reciniello says. This protects your career from self-sabotage because, as strange as it sounds, destructive behaviors can crop up after an accomplishment. Reciniello suggests exploring questions such as “What baggage do I have from the past, and how do I make sure it doesn’t get in the way of my success now?”

[Related: 11 Ways You Might Be Sabotaging Your Own Success]

3. Meditate on your fear.

Use mindfulness to explore your feelings and boost confidence. “Love yourself for what you do and what you try to do,” Reciniello says. Your meditation could be as simple as saying to yourself, “I love that I’m trying and I’m growing. I love that I have energy and strength to help me be the best I can be.” If you fear that your promotion will affect your relationships at home, meditate on that with a mantra like this one: “Loving others is an important piece of my success.” You can also use an image in your meditation, such as growing wings. “The meditation is about getting to the place where you can see the truth of who you are, and it doesn’t scare you,” Reciniello says.

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Photo: Ezra Bailey / Getty Images

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