Are You Presenting Insecurity?

photo credit: One Candle Photos via photopin cc
In the medical field, doctors diagnose disease based on how the symptoms "present". They say, " the patient presents symptoms of malaria." The word "present" means to show up as. It means the patient is displaying signs of a ailment, infection, or disease. 

In your leadership, do you present the symptoms of insecurity? Could someone diagnose you with insecurity based on the symptoms you present?

Let me explain why I am bringing this up. Shortly after a coaching session with a client, her boss sought me out. He was very pleased with the outcome he saw from that session. He then said something that prompted this post. He went on to say how happy he was to see her "that confident" because "she is insecure and has no reason to be."

Would your boss say the same about you? What about your employees? Customers? Colleagues?

Her boss didn't believe in her insecurities, he believed in her strengths and was finally happy to see her believing in them too. 

You are a capable, talented, and performing woman. But are you "presenting" to others that you don't believe in yourself? 

What Is Insecurity?

According to Wikipedia insecurity is a "feeling of general unease or nervousness that may be triggered by perceiving of oneself to be vulnerable or inferior in some way, or a sense of vulnerability or instability which threatens one's self-image or ego."

What Causes Insecurity?

There are many causes of insecurity but one devotional I came across summed them up nicely.

  • Feeling unaccepted or rejected
  • Traumatic experiences
  • Poor self image
  • Feeling overshadowed by others
  • A series of failures

In her article, The Tradegy of Insecurity In Leadership, Lisa Pitrelli, made a simple yet poignant observation on the origin of insecurity.

"Insecurity blossoms when we hold on to a failure or loss that we experience and then internalize as “unworthiness.” We think we’re unworthy of success or respect, of that raise or promotion, or worse, of love. Instead of understanding the failure or loss and forgiving others and ourselves in order to move through it and past it, we hold it and all of its toxicity." 

Toxicity has a way of leaking out. That's why you might be "presenting" insecurity.

How To Stop Presenting Insecurity 

To be fair, everyone has some level of insecurity. And just because one "presents" insecurity, doesn't mean one is insecure.

If you have the goal to be a more competent and to be seen as less insecure by your leaders, those you lead, and your peers, then there are probably specific actions you are doing that you need to stop.

First, find out what your doing. Getting feedback from others is critical in knowing this. We need to verify if the problems we think we have are really the problems we have. Relationships are great for giving us this type of feedback. Ask your upline, side line, and down line for feedback. Great questions to ask are. In what ways do I come across unsure of myself? What do I do that makes you wonder if I am insecure in my work?

Second, listen for the data. There will be an emotional response when you get the answer to those questions. But the act of asking them will improve you and it gives you valuable data. Insecurity is associated with actions. The answers to the questions will tell you the behaviors you do that communicate insecurity.

Third, create a strategic plan to change. Notice I didn't say change. I said create a strategic plan to change. If you change without a plan in place, you'll end up deepening your insecurity. Leaders don'e react to stimuli. Leaders respond...strategically. Create a plan where you look at the data, evaluate where you want to go, where you need to go, what you need to do to get there, and the why behind all of it.

I am almost finished with my new e-book, 7 Communication Mistakes Women In Leadership Make. The premise for the book is simple. Our behaviors communicate a lot about us. Are your behaviors communicating what you want? Everyone makes mistakes. Mistakes are not the enemy. The enemy is doing nothing about the mistakes once you realize you make them. Fixing the mistakes, not just knowing they exist, is what separates good leaders from outrageously great leaders.

You want to be outrageously great. You don't want a "but" behind you accolades, you want a period.You don't want people to say 

"She is great, but...". 

You want people to say, 

"She is great." 


Let me be clear about why I am challenging you this way. I struggled with my decision to work exclusively with women because I didn't want to be seen as a femi-nazi. I also didn't want to be seen as a pusher. That is one who tries to convince women to take on roles or shoot for positions they don't really want just to further the cause of female empowerment and equality. That's not me at all.

My message is for the woman who knows deep down that God has called her into leadership in the workplace for specific purpose. She may be scared to step into that calling. Or she may be in leadership but is not seeing the impact she desires and thus questioning that calling. Sometimes our calling gets buried in deadlines, employee conflict, family tension, poor performance, and yes, insecurities. No matter how deep that call is buried, my goal as a coach is to help women AWAKEN that call again, align their behaviors, see results, and leave a legacy.

You know your leadership call is connected to something greater than yourself, but if you keep presenting symptoms of disease, whether you have them or not, your impact will be stifled. You will be frustrated and you will mismanage the call.

There are very specific steps you can take to stop them right now.

My e-book will be available August 1, 2014 and it will be available FREE when you subscribe to my new "BRAVE Unlimited" e-newsletter. 

When you subscribe to BRAVE Unlimited, you'll not only get a FREE copy of my e-book but you'll be getting:
  • personal notes and inspiration from me,
  • news of products or services, 
  • case studies,
  • articles about women in leadership, 
  • book summaries
  • and more.

I want to connect to the women who believe they are called to leadership in the workplace. I am here to stir up your call and give you the tools you need to fulfill that call. 

Though the e-book is not available yet, you can SUBSCRIBE NOW to the newsletter. When the e-book goes live August 1, you'll automatically get it. 

No more "presenting" insecurity. Present what you truly are instead. Called. Capable. Outrageously great. Period.

As a bonus, if you subscribe before August 1, I will offer you a FREE 30 minute AWAKEN your Brave strategy session. You will walk away from that session knowing exactly what is stopping you from being the leader you want to be now and what you can do about it right now. Not tomorrow. What specific things you can do now to see the change you want. 

Subscribe now if you know you are called into leadership and you want to completely fulfill that purpose.


  1. Hi Julia! I love what you said knowing deep down that God has called you to and being afraid to step out. That is something that I struggle with often. Your advice is SO good.i.e. the call is not about me and I don't want to mismanage it. Looking forward to your ebook! Blessings...Simone

  2. M. Simone,

    Thank you for your comment. I think we'll always struggle with not being afraid of doing something that is so much bigger than ourselves. But there is good news. The good news is that if God called us to it, then he'll show us how to get over the fear so we can do it. The product of our call is not for us but the process of walking out our call is uniquely for us.