By Marc Wilson
Marc is a partner at Global Advisors and based in Johannesburg, South Africa

Download this article at

We tend to characterise insecurity as what we see in overtly fragile, shy and awkward people. We think that their insecurity presents as lack of confidence. And often we associate it with under-achievement.

Sometimes we might be aware that insecurities can lie behind the -ias, -isms and the phobias. Body dysmorphia? Insecurity about attractiveness. Racism? Often the need to find security by claiming superiority, belonging to group with power, a group you understand and whose acceptance you want. Homophobia? Often insecurity about one’s own sexuality or masculinity / feminity.

So it is often counter-intuitive when we discover that often behind incredible success lies – insecurity! In fact, an article I once read described the successful elite of strategy consulting firms as typically “insecure over-achievers.”

Insecurity must be one of the most misunderstood drivers of dysfunction. Instead we see its related symptoms and react to those. “That woman is so overbearing. That guy is so aggressive! That girl is so self-absorbed. That guy is so competitive.” Even, “That guy is so arrogant.”

How is it that someone we might perceive as competitive, arrogant or overconfident might be insecure? Sometimes people overcompensate to hide a weakness or insecurity. Sometimes in an effort to avoid feeling defensive of a perceived shortcoming, they might go on the offensive – telling people they are the opposite or even faking security.

Do we even know what insecurity is? The very need to…

Read the rest of “Power, Control and Space” at

read more