Combining people savvy with an experienced business consultant's practical advice, Dr. Skube consults throughout the United States, Canada and Europe giving teams and individuals a competitive edge through interpersonal skills.

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Q: I want to go back to college but I don’t think I’m smart enough. The job I want requires more college than I have. How can I figure out if I’ve got the right stuff for college so I can make my decision?

A. The way you can find out if you have the “right stuff” is to sign up for classes.

What I hear you really saying is that you want to avoid possible embarrassment or fear of not being good enough. You correctly understand that any time we take risks in our lives, we sign up for tolerating embarrassment and inadequacy.

The real career tragedy isn’t feeling uncomfortable in the short run but losing out on cool opportunities in the long run.

If you go back to college, there will be days and classes where you are astonished at your brilliance. There will also be days and classes where you can’t believe you know how to get out of bed in the morning.

The real question in front of you isn’t whether you have the right stuff. The important question is how much you want that new job.

When we can see the future we want, we can work backward to see the steps to attain that future. Our focus is then on what we have to gain — not obsessing on whether we can do it.

Another benefit of envisioning a goal we want clearly is that we can borrow enthusiasm or confidence from the future while we toil in the present.

In the unlikely event you take the coursework slowly and get help but still fail miserably, you will know one thing you can’t do in life. Then you can go back to the drawing board and invent new career goals based on what you know about your limits.

Until you hit that brick wall, sign up for college and aim for your new job. The only thing you have to lose is your fear of inadequacy.

The last word(s)

Q. I have a co-worker who is talented, articulate and a rising star. I feel petty because every time she’s around I just feel envious. How do I manage my reaction?

A. We’re envious when we see qualities we possess but haven’t owned in others. Befriend her and you might start seeing in yourself the qualities that you envy.

Daneen Skube, Ph.D., is an executive coach, trainer, therapist, speaker and author of “Interpersonal Edge: Breakthrough Tools for Talking to Anyone, Anywhere, About Anything” (Hay House, 2006). She can be reached at 1420 N.W. Gilman Blvd., No. 2845, Issaquah, WA 98027-7001; by e-mail at interpersonaledge@comcast.net; or at www.interpersonaledge.com. Sorry, no personal replies. To read other Daneen Skube columns, go to www.seattletimes.com/daneenskube