This is a really interesting question ResonantD.
There is probably some merit in what you say, that if a person feels the need to be seen as superior then they are hiding their own fears or insecurities about not being inferior in some way. However, there are a whole host of ego issues surrounding those who feel the need to be famous or visibly successful.
From my own personal experience, it was only when I started on a fully shamanic path and really had to take a good hard look at who I am that I realised how equal I was with everyone else when it comes to merely being here, now and human. I may have different skills or done different things from others but if I were so far ahead and so enlightened, why am I still here?
We live in such a confused, topsy-turvey world where success and fame are held up as good and to be strived for, yet when we look at a belief system such as shamanism, that type of thinking is turned on it's head and it is our humility which is prized. Once a person becomes balanced enough within themselves to not need external praise or acclaim then it is their works which speak for themselves. No amount of networking, advertising and public speaking can do that.
I've been fortunate enough to meet many shamanic practitioners from all around the world. Some write books, advertise heavily and provide lots of workshops, making a name for themselves in the usual ways of the Western (mundane) society yet the only one who I have REALLY seen evidence of true, acknowledged respect from her community (ie those who she lives and works amongst) without all the advertising and such is a woman in Canada. Twenty years of shamanic healing, trained as a nurse, brought up in a shamanic family and recognised by many of her local 1st nation sachems and medicine people as 'the real deal'. They call her when something is really wrong. She doesn't need to put herself on a pedestal and others don't either, they simply acknowledge and respect her for what she does.
Now I don't even pretend that I see the awsomeness of others all the time, heck, I struggle just like everyone else but one thing my mentor taught me was that no matter what your rational brain tells you about the faults of this person in front of you, they are here learning and being part of this great scheme just as you are. Like two ants on an ant hill, do you judge one from another by which way they run? You can have your rational judgment but when you do, look at why YOU feel that way and I must admit to being surprised at some of the things which come up by doing that. Why am 'I'
bothered if someone else is constantly referencing themselves, or can't stick to their promises? Is it up to me to save the world from them or them from the world?
I don't think so, my
judgment is necessary to keep me
from harm. I need to use it all the time but that is personal and doesn't then extend to influencing others unduly (of course there are times but we're not really talking about such severity here). Who am I to know if this person who I can't see the amazingness of, doesn't have a very valid place in the greater Universal plan?
Not being able to see the amazingness of someone can be helped greatly by examining the perceived 'faults' as a threat to oneself or as one's own faults. When we finally understand that our judgment is useful for us but needs to generally stop there and that all others are here and just as valid as we are, with all our flaws and faults, then it becomes easier to see the Divine within all things.
For me it is checking myself to see the Divine in all which is the amazing, mind blowing awsomeness.
Sorry this got quite long didn't it?