60 Questions – Answer #3
Which insecurity increases your performance?
My most important insecurity right now is whether I write well enough, especially in English, my second language.
If I know I can do something very well, I don’t think for one second about insecurity. It is simply not present. I know what I am doing. I am self-confident. I act with sovereignty in whatever needs to be done, without a strange feeling in my stomach.
Sovereignty feels so good! Self-confidence is the Holy Grail of adulthood.
„I am fifty!“ Therefore: I know everything, I can do everything. And I am very sure about how to run the show.
Self-confident people are more successful. If I feel self-confident, I have to be successful, right? And have to be doing well what I do.
On the other hand…
But why should I then take extra care? Why should I push beyond my comfort zone? So probably I just go with my “I-can-do-this” -routine. I am driven by autopilot. I am indifferent to what exactly is happening in the here and now. I probably do not listen properly anymore. Then mistakes happen. Oh, my! – Maybe I am not as good as I thought? There it is again: Insecurity!
But this is not so bad, as Gerhard Hauptmann said:
„As soon as somebody is a master in one thing,
should she become a student in another.“
Insecurity can be a great teacher if I learn to withstand it instead of repressing it and not get paralyzed by it either. (Insecurity means here not knowing whether I can do something or if I can cope with a situation.) If I am insecure, I am exceptionally attentive because a mistake can happen anytime. I’m not sure about my abilities, so I have to pay special attention. But maybe I can? And then: I did it! I did something I’ve never done before. I have learned something. Or it went downhill. Then I also learned something new.
For my writing, this means that I ask questions, read about the art of writing, and I found out that I don’t need to be a genius to write. (It helps a bit, of course, if you are.) I even found a mentor who helps me tremendously with my first book. I participate in workshops and meet other writers. Together we practice writing, give friendly feedback, and hone our art. My insecurity makes me learn and improve.
Three liberating sentences
„I don’t know!“ – „I know nothing about this!“ – „I can’t do this!”
Deep down, we know that only charlatans claim to know EVERYTHING, to be able to do EVERYTHING. Everybody else is insecure, at least from time to time. And this is very OK.
Sometimes I have to „deliver“. What now?
Wouldn’t it be nice if the sentence „I am not sure about this (yet)!“ was not met by eye-rolling, the hint to book into a self-confidence training, or the reply „How stupid can you be?“
BTW that is also true for our inner critic. This one especially should refrain from eye rolling.
Admitting to being uncertain about something is way better than performing a „fake it till you make it“-stunt with major mistakes out of fear of rejection or ridicule.
How about a neutral or -at best- curious „Oh! Tell me more about it! Why?” Then I could learn from the answers.
There has to be an end to this procedure as well. Otherwise, I can easily wait until a month full of Sundays before I actuall DO. Especially with creative processes like writing, this is a less than perfect idea.
But when is the RIGHT TIME? When will the insecurity be gone?
Honest answer? „I don’t know!”
I may have a suspicion…
[Writer grins nervously, presses „publish“.]