I need to tell you something. And trust me, I thought I was crazy when I decided to do this. But I think it’s important for you to know.
I have no idea what I’m doing.
Didn’t expect a business coach to stay that, did you? Neither did I. But it’s time to peel back all the pretty colors and polished photos and take a good look at what it is to be an entrepreneur.
Most of the time we’re flying by the seat of our pants. There’s no school that can prepare us for the amount of know-how we need, the constant pivots and dodges that are required, or the stress we’ll deal with. Every day is a new idea, a new strategy, and a chance to show the world what we’re made of.
Which means I’m still figuring my shit out in spite of having done so much on my own. In my first venture, I started a nonprofit – by myself. I figured out how to complete the 40 page IRS application for tax exemption – by myself. I led two teams to the Gulf Coast to rebuild after Katrina, including putting together the volunteer packets and liability waivers – by myself. Know what my brain says? “So what.”
Every entrepreneur I know (and a lot of non-entrepreneurs, too) struggle with imposter syndrome. I was just visiting my friend in Chattanooga and he confided that he spent all week expecting to get fired. He’s one of the most experienced developers I know! To his surprise, the lead developer’s critique at the end of the week was, “You improved my code so much!” He shouldn’t have been shocked, but he was.
So what the hell? Why do our brains insist on sabotaging us? We work so hard to learn everything we can about our chosen industry, what it means to run a business, how to market it to the world, deal with social media, etc., and still spend energy on our Shadow Self. Why do we do it to ourselves?
I can’t answer that, but I can tell you it won’t go away. And maybe that’s a good thing. With success often comes a dose of pride. Maybe this is how our brains are keeping us humble.
Next time you see yourself thinking “I can’t do this” or “Who do I think I am?”, pause, take a deep breath, and let that thought go. It’s fear and humility speaking, and it’s there only to acknowledge the big leap you’ve taken.