Jun 29 2023

Imposter Syndrome and Founders

People talk a lot about Imposter Syndrome — “What am I doing here? I’m not qualified to do X at all” regularly when it comes to women and people of color in the workplace. That is a real thing. It shouldn’t in any way be discounted. It’s painful to go through and painful to watch.

I’d guess that 9 our of 10 founders have Imposter Syndrome at least once during their founder journey. Maybe it’s even more like 99 out of 100. And I bet most of them have it more than once…some regularly. This may be even more true for founders from underrepresented populations, but it happens regardless of demographic.

Being a founder is inherently unnatural. Seeing the world through a different lens, inventing something, and being crazy enough to act on it, quit your job, raise capital, and convince other people to quit their jobs to join you on your journey is a tall order no matter who you are.

No founder’s journey exists without speedbumps and moments where things aren’t working and you feel like your company is going to die a horrible and painful (and worse, public) death – what my former Board member and friend Scott Weiss famously calls the WFIO moment (We’re F’d – It’s Over), popularized by Ben Horowitz in The Hard Thing About Hard Things.

Founders, it’s ok. We’ve all been there. Take a step back. Solve the problem. Change the approach. You’re not in the wrong place. You’re just having a bad moment. And most important, remember, you’re not alone.