Have you ever run into an old acquaintance and felt the need to prove yourself?
Maybe the last time you saw each other was in high school and they’ve moved on to some high-flying career. Or maybe you’re experiencing a rut in your own work and just feel the need to impress someone.
The Urge to Prove
Regardless of circumstance, most of us have felt the need to prove ourselves to someone at some point in our lives. GiANT Co-founder, Jeremie Kubicek, shares his own story about a recent encounter that left him feeling anxious to prove himself:
“Over the past few weeks, I have run into a number of old relationships who knew me in another stage of life and another decade. They knew the more immature me and probably have me pegged as that same cocky guy who was trying to prove that he was somebody important.
As one particular encounter unfolded, I listened to this person list off all of their achievements since we had last met. When the person asked what I had been up to, I immediately felt an old desire to prove to this person any successes and wins that I had had since the time I had known them. I didn’t like the feeling of such a sudden, defensive urge, so I paused and shared some general updates about my family and then moved on.”
So here is the gut-check question: where does the instinctive desire to prove ourselves come from? Why is it so important to let others know how important we are?
Many of us who study personality wiring can probably pinpoint a few triggers deep within our personality types that cause such a knee-jerk reaction to validate ourselves. For Jeremie, he realized some of his natural insecurities as an ENFP were the culprits. Consequently, he had to confront the defensive pride that welled up so that it would not prompt actions or words he would later regret.
Now, what about you? What are you trying to prove? What is the insecurity in your life that is mitigating your influence with others?
In his book Making Your Leadership Come Alive, Jeremie wrote about the plague of self-preservation. The premise is that when you overprotect what you are afraid of losing, you will lose it sooner. Trying to prove yourself actually ends up hurting you more, because when fear begins to drive, your actions to prove your worth end up undermining your credibility in the eyes of others. It leads to bragging, exaggerating, or credit-stealing behavior, not to mention a general tone-deafness that results in being known as self-important or arrogant.
Nothing to Prove, Nothing to Hide, Nothing Lose!
It is imperative to become fluent in self-awareness so that you can regulate and lead yourself in the times when self-preservation wants to guide your behavior.
In the end, if we can state these phrases honestly and accurately in our lives, we will become leaders worth following:
I have nothing to Prove!
I have nothing to Lose!
I have nothing to Hide!
How far away are you from being at this stage of secure, confident humility?
We all have an ongoing journey of self-awareness to travel, but if we approach each day with a desire to regulate our patterns so that our insecurities can’t control us, we will gain an increasingly greater ability to focus on others more than ourselves.
If you want to dive deeper into understanding why you do certain things or face certain growth challenges, our other Co-founder, Steve Cockram, has filmed a series of amazing videos at https://giant.courses that are free to view and study for your own benefit.
Know yourself so you can lead yourself!
This was originally posted by GiANT Worldwide and I wanted to share it here as well. If you’re interested in learning more about how self-preservation affects leadership, I’m happy to schedule a meeting to discuss. Just click the contact button and let me know!