Posted on September 19, 2012 | 2 comments

The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel. – Steven Furtick


Everyone is a victim of insecurity at one point or another, it’s a fact of life. Being insecure about something doesn’t necessarily imply a lack of confidence in yourself, although it may. I, myself, delayed action on this very company for over 6 months, because I became so insecure: in fact, I still struggle with it every day. However, I can reduce that insecurity with this simple phrase: I know for a fact that anyone who comes to me for help will walk away from the affair in a better condition than when they approached. I don’t need (or want) multi-million dollar accounts with international corporations right now. For some reason, though, those are the type of consultants who I keep comparing myself to!

You see, I call myself a consultant for a simple reason: I am a person whom a company or an individual can consult with. I have valuable information, knowledge, and experience, which I use to help others succeed. Sometimes I can be as simple as a socratic backboard for ideas, helping to refine good ideas and eliminate bad ones, through questions and soft suggestions. Sometimes I am designing an e-mail campaign to go to thousands of customers, and sometimes I am suggesting layout changes for a retail store. The things I do, while when taken in real time may seem quite dull, when assembled in a highlight reel could make me look phenomenal.

We see every single second of our day, feel the stress of our work, every moment of the job. We feel every single re-write, every re-organize, every critique, and every second of our unproductive downtime. After all of this, along with our triumphs along the way, we produce a final product: it might be a sale, a presentation, a blog post, a website, or something else entirely. Even then, we don’t step back to appreciate its beauty, but rather stare deep inside to find flaws. Often we present things we are insecure about, because someone, somewhere, did something we find more impressive. Even with a supremely satisfied client, one who feels we went above and beyond the call of duty: we sometimes walk away feeling the nag of “what if I could have done just a bit better”?

We need to stop comparing our daily life with someone else’s highlight reel. Everyone has people they respect, and tend to filter out the negative aspects of those people in favor of the positive, but that negative is still there. Every person you look up to has doubts, fears, and insecurities. They’re successful because they learned how to work past those insecurities, or even to harness them and use them to improve.

The purpose of this post isn’t to tell you to ignore fears and insecurities: often times we have them for a reason. I’m afraid of wasps, because they’re angry and cause severe pain when they sting. I neither have, nor wish to learn, the skills to make wasps less angry or likely to sting, so I avoid situations in which a wasp encounter is likely. What I am trying to convey is that insecurities and fears need to be examined. We have work hard to discover exactly what we fear and why. Only then can we decide if we possess– or if it would be worthwhile to seek– skills which can be used to mitigate that fear.

You know what things you do best, and that’s why you do them. If a high school football quarterback evaluated himself based on Tom Brady’s highlight reel, he’d never play again. We all experience struggle and triumph, pain and joy, fear and courage: Struggle until you find triumph, endure pain to find joy, and work through your fear to find courage. This is your behind-the-scenes. We can’t wait to see your highlight reel.

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments, and if you’re a fan of this post, or any of my posts, be sure to share with your friends and colleagues!


  1. I’ve struggled with this for years as well. Rationally, I know I do good work, but I rarely do I feel it.

    I spend a lot of time reading Hacker News and I try to constantly remind me that each one of these stories is months, if not years, of hard work.

    • It can be a really overwhelming feeling, but once you’re aware of it, you can actively work with it.