“Who am I to lead them?”
As a business grows, it adds staff. Ironically, this can leave the Founder feeling even more isolated.
By the time she reaches Tinker Phase, an entrepreneur can feel very alone even with a big team supporting her.
Promoted beyond the point of her own expertise, the Tinker tries to wrap her head around larger challenges than she’s ever faced. Each decision takes on great importance because it affects a larger team. And she’s dealing with sums of money she’s never seen let alone controlled.
It’s very common for a Tinker to feel as if she’s woken up in someone else’s job.
“How did I get here?” she asks. “Why me? I’m no more qualified than they are.”
That’s the impostor syndrome.
(Not sure if you’re a Founder, Farmer, Tinker or Thief? Take the test here.)
Beating Impostor Syndrome
Nearly every Tinker I’ve ever mentored has reported having impostor syndrome—even the alpha folks who own gyms.
At some point, even the most self-confident owner has wondered, “How did this all fall into my hands?”
Here’s how to beat it.
1. Realize You Don’t Have to Be Perfect
You only have to be slightly ahead of those you lead—and not always on a technical level. Your job as Founder is to be well rounded. But good hiring means that you replace yourself with “pointy” people: those folks with a deep (but narrow) field of expertise. They’re specialists. You’re a generalist. If you know more than your tech-support team, they need more instruction. Your job isn’t to be the best shoemaker anymore. It’s to motivate and calm the team, tell them inspirational stories, and provide a vision for the future.
2. Fake It Till You Make It
One of the benefits of joining higher-level mentoring groups is that you have to do the stuff they do. When everyone else in the room is a millionaire, you spend the weekend doing millionaire stuff—you dress better, eat better, have higher-level conversations about money. By the end of the weekend, you think like a millionaire. Our Tinker program has group meetups for this exact reason: It’s millionaire immersion.
3. Ask Everyone in Your Mastermind Group if He or She Has Ever Suffered From Impostor Syndrome
I can guarantee over 80 percent of them did.
Off the Map—and Where You Belong
Our school system teaches us that there’s always an answer (and only one answer).
But in business, there’s rarely only one answer, and no one will give you a big checkmark when you need it.
That means we feel like we’re “wrong” when we don’t know the answer or what to do to get that answer.
But that’s leadership: By definition, you’re working in unmapped territory. By definition, there is no right answer.
And by definition, you’ll feel like you don’t belong.
But you do.
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