70% of us feel like impostors at one time or another according to Wikipedia. Most of what I have researched on the interwebs regarding this topic deals with the symptoms and not the cause, for most of our lives we only have time to use band-aids like affirmations and reminders as impending deadlines continuously call upon us to find a quick fix. However, I want to go deeper and address what I believe to be the cause and in so doing add more depth to what I believe causes Imposter Syndrome (IS).
You’re an imposter and that's OK, you’re an imposter because you don’t know who you truly are, you have managed to cope your way to this moment, you have been wounded countless times and you survived by abandoning yourself. That's why it feels empty and numb when you achieve the things that society says are meant to give you a sense of self-worth. What if we all took responsibility for our emotions and our self-worth, what if we could be more than our performance?
A few years ago I was responsible for pitching for capital in front of 50 sophisticated Investors. Although I was well prepared with the perfect pitch deck and script my body shook with anxiety and fear that almost cut off circulation to my extremities, I almost passed out. Combine this pressure with a team who depended on me to raise enough capital to keep us afloat for another 2 years and now I was feeling pressure from both ends.
I must say that I had second thoughts if I was the right person for the job despite all my experience with a successful exit a few years earlier. Thoughts like “What If they don’t like me or our solution?”, “What if I fail to convert any investor and my co-founders lose respect for me?” and “Do I still have what it takes to be CEO of this startup?”
Not all rejections are created equal, it would seem that the higher the stakes the bigger the pain that rejection delivers. Thoughts and fears like these have...
I pulled the chute and went all in on my first Startup in 2008, walking away from the safety and familiarity of a corporate job was not all that hard but it wasn’t long before the underlying anxiety I grew up with possessed every waking minute of my life. I clearly remember waking up every morning to debilitating anxiety that meant my morning routine would include the mandatory dry reaching as the thought ‘What the hell have you gotten yourself into’ settled into my consciousness.
If you are a Startup founder you know exactly what I am talking about. That feeling of dread, insecurity and confusion at the insurmountable obstacles to building your dream Startup. Obstacles like running out of money before you break even, rejection from customers and investors and issues with your co-founders are all seemingly inevitable.
When you also consider that 92% of Startups fail within the first two years and that 3 new startups will be launched by the time you finish this...
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