Thursday, July 04, 2013

Admit It. You're Insecure. We All Are.

On Monday, I sent out my first viral tweet.

By Tuesday, I was surprised to see new retweets and favorites still coming in. I struck a nerve. Over 200 retweets in less than two days!

And before you ask, no, I haven't yet received a check from Twitter. I, like many, have often wondered what it would be like to watch a 140-character idea populate the interwebs. Contrary to popular belief, it didn't change my life. I still have to go to work and do my best to build awesome.

The past few days, I've been thinking about this tweet and why it resonated with so many people. I've sent over 12k tweets and never received this response.


I'm part of a master mind group of 12 individuals who meet every Wednesday morning. At the recommendation of Jeff Goins, we recently read The Icarus Deception. Building art is hard, and whether or not we want to admit it, we're all artists in some way. The deception is we'll fly too high and endanger our wax wings. We forget how the parable also warns us of flying too low to the water.

Don't settle.

If you're read authors like Seth Godin or Steven Pressfield, you're already familiar with the concept of the Lizard Brain and the Resistance. The voices in your head telling you you're a fraud. Telling you you'll never succeed. Trying to convince you you never really grew up and you're just a kid pretending to be an adult.

You're insecure. So are those around you. Even the prideful, arrogant ones. That might not be obvious, but I believe it's true. They are often the ones trying harder than anyone to prove their worth. Man-pleasing, insecurity, and pride often work closely together. They are all trying to handcuff you.

So what can you do about it? Admit it. Understand how it works against you and work out a solution. The insecurity holding us back is, at its very core, basically a lie.
Insecurity: the state of being subject to danger or injury.
If your next project is a total failure, will you really be in physical danger? Will you really be injured? The answer (for most professions, anyway) is no. And yet, we still believe the lie.


Admit the weakness. Understand how it prevents you from moving forward and discredit the lies it is based on. Once you can do that, you can create a path towards incredible success.

Along the way, you will fail. If you intend to be great, you will fail a lot. Use each failure to strengthen your mental and emotional muscles. Remind yourself you're not in physical danger and the fear you felt in the beginning was in fact a lie. Celebrate each small step of progress and learn from your mistakes. This is what great men in history have always done.
"If I find 10,000 ways something won't work, I haven't failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward." Thomas A. Edison
Start today.

As Jon Acuff would say, Punch Fear in the Face. Admit your insecurities, understand how lies limit you, and move beyond them. No one can give you permission to be great but you. When you believe it, even just a little bit, you'll start doing great things. Stay humble and hungry and there's nothing you can't accomplish.

Within your profession, what fears paralyze you?


JayGilmore said...


Brilliant post. It's timely for me as I've been struggling with confidence and finding the art in the work I do. I've recently written about my fear and realization I had no goals. I am still working through those ideas and sharing them as I explore the world and myself for the answers.

This post by Sara Wachter-Boettcher ( expresses how some of that self-doubt and insecurity gets fed. We see success and shine of others but don't see the mess they made and the wake behind them to get there.

I think you and I need to have many more conversations, by the way, beyond that recent one we had that was more business focused. I am influenced and read all the folks you wrote of (Goins, Godin, Pressfield et al)

I've discovered a strategy to get past some of my insecurities. It is to seek out the stories of people who've been there, done that, and are willing to share the truth about the journey—messes, failures, meandering and all. Most people do the quicker which is to seek praise or validation but it's like sugar, quickly metabolized and leaves you hungry and empty a short time later.

We are insecure. We all feel like we're alone (from time to time). We all need to know we're not.

Some of my fears are:

Not being liked,
Not knowing what I am doing,
Being found out as a fake or fraud

I am learning to let go of the first one. The latter two are the challenge, as I am at a point in my life that I am not sure what I know and what I have left to learn and what I can offer the world and often don't know if the work I do actually moves the needle for me or anyone.

Luke Stokes said...

Thanks, Jay. Great comment. I look forward to reading that post by Sara. It's so true that we rarely recognize how much work is done behind the scenes. Jon Acuff calls it comparing your beginning to someone else's middle.

I'd totally love to have more conversations. I'll hit you up on Google+ sometime and just say hello.

One of the stories I really enjoy is that of Ben Franklin. He basically got kicked out of Boston and tells all about his journey to overcome his weaknesses. Your analogy to sugar is perfect.

I think it's natural for us to follow leaders who inspire us. Those who seem to have a clear vision for the future and have it "all figured out." The reality is, no one truly has it all figured out and even the best are learning and growing daily.

The more we can detach our self-worth from our "doing" the better off we'll be, I think. If we define ourselves but what we do (and we don't know what we're doing), the we can't know who we are. We can't be true to ourselves which is why we feel like a fraud.

My worldview tells me I'm uniquely and wonderfully made. I believe I have value because purpose is in the mind of the Creator. That works for me. I think it's important for everyone to find what works for them. It may take a lifetime, but it's worth it.

Thanks again, Jay.