Understanding and embracing insecurity

There is a lot of nuance and emotion that goes into creativity and part of your success will be determined by how well you understand and control those emotions. Insecurity can play a huge part in helping or hurting your creative process so its something you need to be able to control. In this episode, we will look at the stages on creative insecurity, how social media can effect it and some technique to help you control it.

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Show Notes:

There is a lot of nuance and emotion that goes into creativity. A lot of us don’t recognize that, don’t want to admit it to talk about it. I want to continue to talk about about another one of the emotional parts of creativity in this episode – insecurity.


– Creativity is supposed to be fun but its a complex personal process that is effected by personal experiences and emotions.
– How you understand and control those emotions has a lot to do with how successful you are.
– We talked about happiness because it is a core part of being satisfied with your work and it is something that changes over time
– Insecurity is something you don’t have to find – it finds you. And it finds too many of us.
– Historically that has been challenging enough but modern creatives have to deal with social media which I think is making it worse.


– Social media is an interesting and funny thing because according to our profiles we are all tall, beautiful, talented and award winning – but we all know the truth is something else.
– If we step back and look at it – why are we all acting like this?
– Social media lets us see just how boring all of our daily lives can be and as a result we have all turned ourselves into little brands
– Concerned about our brands visual appear through photos and videos
– Concerned about our brands tone and voice through Twitter
– Concerned about our creating content that will separate us from all the other brands out there
– We have created constructs like Throwback Thursday and Flashback Friday so we can pull from the best content available
– We have the selfie because no one can capture the glory of you – but you
– We love social media and creating our brands because we literally become addicted to it. Each interactions brings a little Dopamine hit and we get addicted to it. Its why we can’t put our phones down because we miss that hit and think we are missing out on something.
– The average person unlocks their phone 125 times a day
– But I think the effect on creatives is more profound because we are more insecure to start with
– We are insecure because what we produce is always personal. You give us a blank sheet of paper or a blank screen and what we create comes from us and because of that personal connection we want people to like it and are insecure about how they will react,


– When you start out your career you get the basic form of insecurity – not enough experience
– You start out by copying other people to learn and to start to search for your creative voice but you know you are copying and that makes you insecure
– You are afraid people will see that you aren’t being original

– Stage 2 is when you start you find your own creative voice but you don’t have much experience with that voice and you are starting to specialize in your career because you can see where you have been successful
– You are just starting to build that more specialized voice and area of expertise
– So you are insecure about it as you don’t have a lot of experience with it

– Then you start to move from an being all about execution to stepping up into a leadership position
– This takes  totally different set of skills than what you needed when you were just executing
– You now have to lead people which takes sociology and psychology
– You are probably like most people where you don’t much of any experience in those things
– So you have to be the most confident uncertain person but because of that lack of experience and expertise you are insecure but have to fake like you know what you are doing
– And all of that makes you even more insecure

Then you have a creative voice and leadership experience. This is what you have always wanted
– But over the arc of your career things have changed – the industry, technology, society and more
– You have to work to evolve your creative voice and leadership style to adapt to this new world
– You also are moving out of the prime age demographic most companies want to target this means you have to work even harder to stay connected to all of these things and you are insecure that your experience isn’t as relevant as it used to be
– You worry about keeping that connection which drives a new type of insecurity

– You also can’t have a conversation about insecurity about mentioning critics and trolls
– Here again a huge part of social media and its effects on creatives
– If you are going to put your work, opinions, podcasts more out there the trolls will come
– People are emboldened by the anonymity of the internet
– It is REALLY hard but ignore them. They don’t add anything and just want attention.
– Block them and move on to the people who are helping you and want you get better


I would say that we need to understand insecurity to be able to control it but I don’t think it is something you should completely cure. But for me, I find insecurity drives me forward to never stop working, learning and pushing myself. It is a delicate balance because insecurity fuels  another emotion I suffer with more than any other – frustration.

But there are a few things I’ve found help with all of this

Practice being objective
Take a step out of yourself for a moment and imagine you are a completely different person. Think about what you would tell another person in your situation.

Write down your insecurities
Write down all of the things that you are worried about, and all of the factors that make you feel like you can’t accomplish a thing. Read them over and ask yourself how many of them are rational, and how many are just a product of negative thinking.

Remember all of the success you’ve had
Instead of focusing on all the times you embarrassed yourself, failed at something, or just looked silly, you should take a long hard look at all the times that you’ve done really well

Ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen?”
And be honest with your answer. If you have an idea and a people don’t like it, then it’s unlikely to end of the world. You can go have another idea and change their minds about you and your work

Ask yourself, “What’s the best thing that could happen?”
This is something insecure people don’t do nearly enough. Take the time to think about the best possible outcome to something

Practice positive self-talk
It is especially hard to notice negative self-talk if you have been doing it for a long time. If you’re always telling yourself that you’re a loser, a failure, or that you can’t do anything right, then you’re bound to feel that way forever. Instead, work on telling yourself positive things about yourself so you’re more likely to attack new tasks with a healthy mindset and a desire to do well.

Question why you tell yourself no.
Start saying yes more often. Instead of telling yourself all the reasons why you want to say no to a new experience, try running through what might happen if you said yes. Even if all of your no answers are true, the yes scenario could lead to new and unexpected things. If you get a little hurt after saying yes to a new experience, you can recover and you have a new experience under your belt than if you had simply said no.

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