Picture0003.jpgI am insecure. There, I said it. It is out in the blogsphere for you to all to read. I try hard to hide it. Sometimes I over compensate for it. When that happens I say or do stuff that is pretty stupid. I am getting better with it. Age helps. Raising kids help. Positively speaking to yourself helps too. I could be wrong, but, if you are born insecure you stay insecure til you die… Right? Who knows. I am 37 years old and have had lots of therapy so I am going to assume it is “sick gene” that doesn’t completely go away. Otherwise the therapy would have cured me. As I said, I am better then I was as a kid and young adult.

What brought this post on? Well, since I am going to Dove Esteem Fund G(irls) 20 Summit next week with a lovely young neighbour/babysitter of mine I thought I would reflect on insecurity and how it has affected my life. I am hoping that by reflecting on it I can give myself and others more esteem. Something I strive for everyday with myself and my children.

I think there are two types of insecure people.

  1. The Nice Insecure Person: I think that is generally me.Although don’t get me wrong I can be a bitch because of my insecurities.The nice insecure person is, well, nice. To a fault sometimes because he/she is afraid of hurting peoples feelings, because, well she doesn’t want someone to “unlike” her (thought I would use the Facebook Term).
    That’s why I found Twitter and Facebook to be so frightening at first – it seemed to be all about the cool kids talking about being “together and having fun” . But now I think a bit differently, most of it is about reaching out to connect with people. I hope that is what is about,  there is good and bad associated with “friend media”.

  2. The Bitchy Insecure Person: Generally goes out of his/her way to prove how awesome, cool and competent he or she is at someone else’s expense. Seems very SECURE to most. However, a dead giveaway of the unsecure person is if that said person puts others down in order to make themselves look or feel better at the expense of someone else (Let’s face it – we have all done it at some point in our lives but hopefully you know when you are doing it and you don’t do it repeatly).

So the question I have to ask you is – Can you be insecure and still be successful in business? In life? I would like to think you can. Geeze, I bloody hope so!

Here are a list of things that I am or have been insecure about:

  • The way I look (I can never be thin enough, pretty enough etc – but I have gotten better – age does that for you. Heck, I think I look the best I ever have now.). By the way, this picture in the post was taken today – with no make up, something I barely ever do – I make Rob delete the “ugly” photos. Athough years ago I would never have left the house without make up, so I think that I am evolving!

  • When I make mistakes (no one apologizes more then me – I beat myself up)

  • How I raise my children (and how others perceive it)

  • That I don’t have a University Degree
  • That I won’t make it on my own as a Entrepreneur. In fact I am still hugely on the fence about it.

  • That I will never be successful again (in comparison from the previous job). But what the hell is successful anyway? Is it valued through work, family, what does it mean to be “successful”?

Going into business for yourself is a mind buzz. I change my mind about being in business for myself about 3 times a day. I wonder as an entrepreneur … “Am I going to be a good enough mom?”, “Will I ever make enough money to have enough security – What if Rob leaves me- what then?”. “Isn’t easier going back to a regular job?…Being insecure also leads me to ask or sometimes even beg others for their opinions – which ultimately confuses me.

Then after all that questioning, I shake my head. I take a deep breath and realize no decisions need to be made today. I go within myself and realize I am really happy. Sure, I am not so  “sure” of myself or the future… BUT I AM BLOODY HAPPY TODAY. I walked my son to school, I picked him up – I accomplished things for myself, my home and my business today. That’s something. I feel content.

I don’t really believe you can have your cake and eat it too. Really… but some days it feels like I can come close to it. Then, other days I think “What the hell am I doing?”. I second guess myself like everyone else. That’s because we all have some insecurities… some people are just better at hiding them. For more info on esteem and a uplifting campaign by Dove visit:
 http://www.dove.ca/en/#/cfrb/selfesteem/

  • Sarah

    funny- everything you listed as an “insecurity” was everything I envied about you!
    I think you’re so beautiful (inside and out), so brave, doing amazing work with your business, and you’re a killer mom with great advice (which I always need!).
    So, there you go. We never see ourselves the way others see us, do we?

  • Sara

    What an awesome post Leigh. Good for you! I think a bit of insecurity makes us all human and I also think you’re not as insecure as you think – it takes a brave woman to start her own business! You go!!!

  • Leigh

    Janine – thanks for sharing your story. I never had an eating disorder but I tell you I have come close with my obsession to be perfect. I remember a family member innocently telling me that I had gained weight when I was 16 and I was really upset by it. It took me a long time to get passed it. My body was changing so much back then. Stretch marks popping up and feeling so uncomfortable in my skin.
    Then I also had a boss tell me that I need to improve my public speaking skills many years ago and I was crushed by the comment and ever since have tried to make up for it. I am all nerves everytime i have to speak infront of people. When my dad died I gave a speech and was really worried about it but I got through it and was happy that I did it.
    I too like Jen’s quote. My mom also gave me a really good one….
    Fear is the one and only thing that will keep you from achieving all that you want to achieve, or living the life you deserve. And the truly insidious thing about fear is – it’s completely self perpetuated. We create the dread that clogs up our lives”.
    Douglas Kennedy
    I try and remember that – my mom surprised me with her support when I started my own business. I never thought she was a risk taker but when I look back on her life I realize she was and maybe she did play a part in me finally taking risks. She always told me to do things for myself and not for others. If we make decisions based on what we think people want of us we end up being frustrated by it.

  • Kath

    Leigh, I see myself in a lot of your points above, especially the part about making mistakes. I’ts only been since I hit my forties that I’ve even BEGUN to let go of worrying about other peoples’ expectations of me. It’s a struggle, but a worthwhile one.
    You have so much to be confident and proud about, though. But I think it’s great to talk about it, too. First of all, you realize you’re soooo not alone, and secondly, it’s cathartic.
    Keep writing, and keep on working on that business of yours. You go girl!

  • Janine Rechsteiner

    Great post, Leigh and coming from such a place of honesty. Here is some info about me…
    I have not only a university degree, but a masters in Engineering, but I STILL can’t help but think that my grad thesis wasn’t “good enough” or technical enough compared with the other grad students. I struggled through an eating disorder while I was in university because of these insecurities.
    I throw huge birthday parties for my kids, with real adult food and lots of events, to the point where one year I was so stressed out that my back seized up to the point where I couldn’t even move and after the party was a puddle of tears on the floor.
    I had a manager while I was on a co-op placement during university write a review for me (which she did not present to me, but rather through her boss who I never actually worked with) stating that I was not suited to jobs that required me to be in a team and that I should stick to work where most of my tasks would be on my own. Another co-op manager told me that I needed to brush up on my presentation skills otherwise I would never make it in grad school or in a job. These comments were made to me when I was 20 and 23. I now have a job where I sell IT solutions and do presentations all the time.
    My points? I too have my own insecurities and feel the need to overcompensate. I hadn’t heard that Eleanor Roosevelt quote, but I love it. My own is “never insult yourself because there are plenty of people that would be willing to do it for you, if you let them.”
    We’re all with you…

  • Leigh

    OMG – blogging is such wonderful therapy. I will be honest – I wanted to avoid the real “raw” blog posts that I have done on my own personal blog. Main reason was I didn’t want people who knew me to read them. I felt as if I have “overshared” in the past and now I keep to myself a bit more then I used to. But then I thought – am I really going to be a good writer if I don’t write from my heart. As I read your comments the tears streamed out of me. I felt overwhelmed with emotion. It feels so good to have the support of friends and strangers alike (who don’t seem like strangers anymore!)! Funny thing is I feel really happy with my life, but still the inseurities lurk and being an entrepreneur is all about “you” and your product so it feels incredibly personal sometimes. I thank you all for taking the time to write such thoughtful responses.
    PS= Practical Mum I hated (and still do to a certain extent) networking but then I go and start a business that focuses on it! LOL. However, the events have left me feeling so strong and powerful. I feel like I grow so much from each event I put on. Putting myself out there is nerve racking but also something I have needed to do so much.
    I remember a long time ago an old boss (who had a lot of good things to say too) said that I was a “dry” public speaker – and that I should take drama classes to improve my speaking ability. I was crushed. Now I visualize myself kicking ass. In fact I took a picture taken of me at a previous event where I was holding a mike and put it as my twitter background to remind myself that I can do it!

  • practicalmum

    I think it is all about perception. It’s all about how people perceive you. I think people can innately smell fear or insecurity. The trick is to put out there what you want people to perceive. Mask the insecurity.
    For example. I hate networking. I am much more comfortable putting myself out there behind the safety of my computer. I connect with at least 10 strangers a day as I build my network. Ask me to do that in person? No Way Jose.
    I was recently at a marketing4moms.com event. It was my third time being “out there” networking. I was so nervous, but had to take a deep breath and swallow my nerves so that I could exude confidence (which I wasn’t) and friendliness (I wanted to hide). I made a deal with my husband that my goal was to talk to 5 new people.
    I did it. And it worked because all 5 of them contacting me later and we are now collaborating. But after that 5? I took my coffee to my seat and busied myself on Twitter. It was easier. I was bold enough to ask some of the big shooters in the room to be a guest blogger via Twitter. In person? Nope.
    So my friend, I think it’s all about perception. The most successful people are perceived to be a certain way. Who knows how they really feel behind closed doors.

  • Jen

    Oh, Leigh. One of my favourite quotes is by Eleanor Roosevelt that I totally live by is: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
    You have to have a thick skin, take risks and be prepared to fail PUBLICLY to be a successful entrepreneur. And you have to believe that you will succeed or else no one else will believe it. There is absolutely nothing standing in your way except yourself – you have a great concept & you are hard working.
    Go get ‘em girl!!

  • http://www.amotherworld.com amotherworld

    Holy crap, you’ve described how I’ve been feeling a bit lately. Doubting, second-guessing myself, my decisions, the direction I’m taking, etc.
    I think it’s only natural and normal to have some insecurities – we ALL do and those people who say they don’t are lying. We often can get stressed, discouraged, overwhelmed by our daily lives which causes us to feel this way.
    You’re already on the right path in recognizing what your weaknesses are and are working on them. And you’re opening yourself up by sharing this – kudos!
    I can only take things day by day and make small goals for myself. Writing my to-do lists and checking things off can really boost my confidence. That and getting all done up for a night on the town ;)

  • http://www.ourworldfromatoz.ca Jacki

    You rock, baby!
    We all have that insecure monster inside us. We either keep feeding it (soooo easy to do) or we ignore it and let it starve and wither. It will never disappear, though.. At least, I don’t think so.
    I used “Qwitter” for one day (a service that shows you who unfollowed you on twitter) and I got WAY too neurotic about it.
    Oh, did I mention you rock? Keep it up.

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