Personal insecurity is without a doubt the biggest inhibitor of human performance and potential. The fear of being found inadequate means all energy must be given to defending and proving, instead of growth and leadership.
Here are the 7 essential practices for how the insecurity problem gets solved for good.
1. Define the problem (Your own opinion of yourself.)
Understanding insecurity in its most accurate form reveals it is simply a problem within your own opinion of yourself. The problem is not the fear of failure or rejection. On closer inspection, the deepest fear is always about the personal implications of failure, rejection and being found out as somehow fake or inadequate. It is what these things would reveal about you that really terrifies you. As such, the problem is your own opinion of yourself.
The great thing about defining the insecurity problem this way is that an opinion is the lowest form of knowing and can therefore be altered as soon as you are ready.
2. Take responsibility for creating the problem (You formed this opinion)
Rather than positioning yourself as a victim and imagining your self-limiting opinions were created by what has happened to you, the truth is you are not the actor in the story of your life written by someone else, you are the story teller.
We are sense making creatures who tell stories about our experiences from the time we are born. The issue is that story telling as child is done from a very limited viewpoint. As such, negative and painful experiences are often given meaning in a way that implicates and diminishes us personally.
When you realise insecurity was not created externally, you stop looking outside yourself for it to be fixed too.
3. See the true cost of the problem (This opinion is costing you greatly, even if you are not currently aware of these costs)
Negative and disempowering opinions of yourself can only undermine and weaken you. In fact, unresolved insecurity inevitably causes a person to show up at their worst where it matters most. However, just as it is possible for the true costs of running a business to be ignored even to the point of insolvency, the same is true in the way we run our life. You don’t have to face the truth, yet if and when you do, the acute pain of your reality creates significant motivation for change. That is the gift of pain
4. Know why you must solve the problem (If you don’t solve this problem, you will never achieve your true potential)
Avoiding pain only forms half of the required motivation to genuinely solve the problem long term. It is also essential to be drawn forward by pleasure. Having a strong desire for what you really want in life, coupled with the conviction that your poor opinion of yourself is the main thing locking you out of this desire being realised, is the only thing powerful enough to keep you motived to overcome insecurity.
5. Get help from someone outside of the problem (You can’t solve the problem with the same level of thinking that created it – Einstein)
The great challenge to solving the problem is that you think your opinions of yourself are true because you’ve lived with them for so long. It is very hard to get out of your own head to see what is real and what is not. Therefore, you’ll need the objectivity of someone who is not in any way impacted by your problem so has no vested interest in solving it for you. At some point it is essential to get help to solve this problem, but you require someone who is not going to get in the way by making it all about them.
6. Solve the problem (This is about your opinion and only you can change it)
You can talk about the problem, observe the problem and scope out the solution to the problem, but eventually the problem still has to be solved.
This means facing your own opinions of yourself all the way back to the very first time you decided they were true. The only way to change your opinion is to face your deepest fears about yourself and to review all the story telling data to see if it is accurate. No one is coming to save you, and no one can do this work for you. Remember, this is a problem within your own opinion of yourself.
7. Create the desired future without this problem (Form new opinions and reinforce them until they become true – just like the old ones)
Now that you’ve solved the problem and freed yourself from the limiting opinions of yourself, it is time to create new and improved opinions to take their place. Be clear about what you’d need to believe about yourself in order to achieve your biggest goals, and then go write that story to live out of. Those who succeed in life do so largely out of the quality of their opinions of themselves. They just tell better stories than everyone else and live as though these stories were true.
For the full framework, get my latest book - Unhindered. The seven essential practices for overcoming insecurity