Tag Archives: Self doubt

Impostor syndrome

I was recently speaking with one of our entrepreneurs who shared that he feels like he’s in way over his head in managing his company. Basically, he communicated that he felt overwhelmed by all that the company needs to and not sufficiently qualified to get the company to do it.

There’s a common way to describe how he’s feeling. It’s called impostor syndrome. Wikipedia describes impostor syndrome as when “high-achieving individuals [are] marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and [live with] a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”.

The underlying feeling responsible for impostor syndrome is that of doubt regarding one’s abilities. And, like many feelings, it’s a double edged sword. If you experience too much of it, it can cripple you by preventing you from taking on challenges because you don’t believe in your ability to overcome these challenges. But not feeling any doubt about your abilities isn’t the solution. If you don’t doubt yourself every now and then, you’re unlikely to put in the hard work necessary to accomplish what you want to do. A healthy dose of insecurity is a great motivating factor.

So the problem isn’t whether you feel like an impostor every now and then. That’s outside of your control. The problem, if any, arises based on your interpretation of the feeling and the actions you take as a result. And those are within your control.

Specifically, do you use the inevitable moments of self doubt that you experience as excuses to back down from challenges or as fuel to work harder?