How Leaders Can Overcome Insecurity

We don't like to talk about insecurities.  Let's face it, insecurities are the proverbial skeletons in the closet or baggage we've carried around for years.  So why don't we talk about and deal with our insecurities?  Vulnerability.  With all our talk about compassion, tolerance and love you'd think insecurities would be out in the open.  But here's the dirty little secret; compassion, tolerance and love are rare.  Not because we don't have it to give, but because we're preoccupied with our own pursuits, our own agendas or our own insecurities.  For example, loving someone implies sacrifice.  Don't hear a lot about sacrifice these days.

So can leaders just keep their insecurities under the covers?  They can, but eventually insecurities have a way of getting out of bed.  When that happens people get hurt.  People at work, as well as people at home.  The better option is to overcome the insecurities and live out something that others will want to follow.

Here are some things I've learned and implemented to overcome insecurities:

  • Admit that I've got the baggage (insecurities).  Don't mean to sound like a step program, but admitting is a powerful tool.
  • Stop looking for some permanent state of happiness and focus on joy.  Pursuing happiness is futile, because in itself happiness is a temporary state.  For example, last week I wasn't happy about the lack of response I was receiving from a newspaper.  This week I'm OK, because I had time to pray and think.  Joy is your root system if you choose to let it be.  It's firm and many times immovable.
  • Get mentors that love you, but are not impressed by you.  People like this will be willing to tell you the truth and ask you hard questions.  If you don't have a mentor now, you should start looking for one.
  • Don't think you're alone and don't be alone in dealing with insecurities.  Isolation will kill.  Think of how the Hyena approaches attacking a lion.  Hyenas search for ways to isolate the lion.  They instinctively know that to take on a lion one-on-one or in a group would be certain death.  However, if they can isolate the lion, victory is often times certain.  So it goes with us.  If you crawl into your own corner and withdraw.  All your demons and monsters will devour you.
  • Don't take yourself too seriously. 
  • Find the vision inside yourself and pursue it.  I've found that I have little time to ponder/obsess over insecurities when I have a vision.  My urgency for dealing with my insecurities grows as well, because I don't want to be disrupted in my mission.
  • Talk often with God.

What would your organization look like if you overcame your insecurities?  Great, would be the perfect adjective.


  1. Hayli,
    Thanks for the sentiments and your insights.
    I’m fortunate to have people around me who expect me to keep it “real.” I wrote this post as a way of connecting with those who may be feeling isolated.

  2. Very thoughtful post, Eric! I think leaders often feel not only a personal desire, but societal pressure, to hide their insecurities and “put on a brave face.” Instead of helping friends, family and co-workers, this charade actually does more harm. There’s something to be said for a tinge of self-deprication, self-awareness and vulnerability. It’s endearing and it helps others relate to the leader and trust in him/her. This is especially true when leaders openly discuss their vulnerabilities and how they are working to address and overcome those.

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