Over the past month, I have interviewed some of the most exceptional and accomplished people in the world, including Nobel Laureates, Olympic medalists, Oscar winners and Fortune 500 executives for The Influencers podcast. In the process, I have learned one surprising commonality among all these industry leaders.
No matter how successful they become, they are still insanely insecure and want to be loved. We all have insecurities. Even the most beautiful, rich, intelligent and effective people you know can't escape this basic human characteristic.
From a young age, fashion icon Stacy London suffered from psoriasis all over her body. Musician Brian Rosenworcel says he still feels the pressure to reinvent himself. Jeff Davis, the writer behind Criminal Minds and Teen Wolf, struggled with the very basic elements of his career. Nobel Prize winner Martin Chalfie admits that he spent much of his life failing. What separates these people from the rest of us and contributes to their success is how they leverage their insecurity.
As a society, we often hide what we view as our flaws and weaknesses or try to pretend like they don't exist at all for fear of embarrassment and rejection. Unfortunately, hiding them doesn't make them go away. Insecurity doesn't disappear as you earn more money or gain prestige. The question you have to ask yourself is: What am I going to do with my insecurities?
Stacy dedicated herself to helping other feel good about the way they look, Jeff made it his personal mission to achieve mastery and help other struggling creatives, and Martin's perseverance has transformed the study of biology as we know it.
So, are you going to use your insecurities as excuses to avoid doing things that scare and challenge you? Or will you embrace them to create something impactful? Will you hide your shortcomings behind an overinflated ego or will you face them head on, and inspire others?
Most success stories are borne out of insecurities. They are what drives us to improve, to push forward, to keep learning and gain competence. Leverage your insecurities so they become a source of strength rather than a weakness. If we were all overconfident, we'd never learn from our mistakes and never progress and grow as a result. Instead, embrace your shortcomings and flaws. Use them as motivation and transform them into something better.