With all the media centering on David Lettermans’s retirement, I saw a very interesting interview with the man of the hour. Letterman shared that even after all these years of success, he has huge insecurity. He was always ready for someone to tap him on the shoulder and ask him to leave. He fought feelings of being found out as a fraud to the very end.
One of the most successful people in his field, the longest late-night host in history and he still feared failure. In fact, he seemed to be running from it. I was left gobsmacked.
Insecurity has been a dark cloud in my life for years. I have spoken of its power over my life and career before. What Mr. Letterman reminded me, however, is that success doesn’t fix insecurity. Even if I had the success I had dreamed of, I would be right there with him, waiting to be tapped on the shoulder. In fact, I actually thought that more than once at ACT. I was so sure I would arrive at school only to find that I had not actually been accepted or that after my many perceived failings, I would be asked to leave. Neither happened, by the way.
Sharing My Insecurity Online
It can be aggravated by this crazy blogging world. Did my Instagram post get liked? Do enough people follow me? My UVMs are too low. This post didn’t get repinned at all. And so on and so forth. It is a world of comparison which can feed my insecurity as much as acting did.
As much as this journey has been about resolving the plan with the reality, it has also been about self-acceptance. Learning to believe in myself and the value I bring is the challenge of my life. I have come a long way and yet I feel I have just begun. The importance of my success here is furthered by my children. How can I teach my children that they are valuable, capable humans who should believe in themselves if I don’t live that? “Do as I say not as I do” is about as effective as a leaky rowboat in the ocean. I must lead by example and conquer that mountain. “I” may be for insecurity but I don’t have to be the “I” in insecurity.
Now we have entered the easier said than done area. If I have struggled for over 40 years with this dragon, how will I slay it now? What will I do differently to triumph this time? Honestly, I don’t know. I just know that if I don’t, it won’t just be me that pays the price. It will be charged to my children’s accounts, as well.
Have you struggled with insecurity? How has it impacted you? Have you found a way to move beyond it?