How To Shut Up the Little Voice That Says “I’m not good at this stuff”

Every microbusiness owner suffers from Imposter Syndrome. Whether it’s “I don’t belong here” or “I’m not good enough yet,” we’ve all struggled with feelings of being less than.

But to me, the most interesting form of imposter syndrome is when people fear *they’re not cut out to be entreprenuers.”

It would be reasonable to think that way, of course.

How many books and articles and studies are out there, all devoted to figuring out what makes business owners different from everyone else?

You’ll read “They never give up,” and remember a couple of days ago when you rage-quit learning a piece of software and spend the rest of the day watching M*A*S*H reruns.

You’ll read “They get up no later than 6am (many before 5am)” and realize you see the OTHER side of sunrise far more often.

You’ll read “They have their schedules optimized; they workout, eat, and hangout with family according to a strict regimen.” Meanwhile, you’re juggling kids’ schedules, custody arrangements, and your workout schedule is as easily shredded as cheap nylons.

So it’s not surprising that many people, upon reading these “helpful” tracts, sometimes express the dawning fear that they’ve totally screwed up. That they’re not one of these mythical “entrepreneur” beasts, and that they should just go back to a job like everybody else.

That they’re not special enough to be in this club.

Imposter syndrome is emotion-based, and I recognize that emotions are not terribly swayed by argument. But at least I can bludgeon it insenseless with facts.

FACT 1: People who are big enough to be profiled by Inc, FastCo or similar, are big enough to have staff. They may be juggling, but they have well trained helpers tossing them their chainsaws so they don’t flub the performance.

FACT 2: Studying something changes it. If Malcolm Gladwell or Chris Guillebeau wanted to interview you for their next book, what are the chances that you’d come to their interview unprepared? Zero. You know they would ask you how you work, and you would spend some time figuring out the best way to explain it. Not only would that make it sound better and more compelling you would get better clarity on the process (and ways to improve it) which would make it much more effective for you.

FACT 3: These are only snapshots in time, and they are cherry-picked. People’s routines are in constant flux, and nobody is at peak effectiveness all the time.This is yet another way that we compare our insides to someone elses outsides.

Entrepreneur, business owner, founder.

Much as LinkedIn would have you believe otherwise, these are not job titles. The simple fact that you sell goods and services for money makes you a business owner. No, it doesn’t make you a good one. Only time does that. Running a business is a skillset.

But so is running a household. So is money management. So is being an active person. So is being a good partner. We tend to think of these as traits that we possess, but in actuality, they are skills we can acquire, if we are sufficiently motivated.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit, I’ve never been very motivated to be an active person. But I know that I could learn to be (that’s the benefit of having a growth mindset).

But I am motivated to learn how to run a business better and better. Not for the money, necessarily. But because a better-run, more successful business is less stressful, and brings more good things into my life. I’m more self-reliant, get to do more of the things I’m good at.

So, in the business skillset, what’s the skill you think you could most stand to learn? Leave it in the comments!

It might not shut up the imposter syndrome completely, but it will help. By the second or third skill, you’ll hardly be able to hear it at all over the sound of how awesome you are.


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