I shared this in our small group about imposter syndrome already, but give how active conversations about imposter syndrome tend to be on Chairman Mom, I thought I’d put it in the newsletter as well!
Imposter syndrome: We seem to all have it about something, right? Men and women. Consider the advice they always give you about marathons: If you can do a half physically, you can do a whole, the challenge is the mental game. Same with startups. The mental game is the hardest part of something that’s already insanely hard.
It’s being a startup CEO where my imposter syndrome most flares up. (For whatever reason, I KNOW I’m a badass mom…)
I recently got some advice from a friend of mine who is a CEO who totally intimidates me. She has worked in private equity, run public companies, runs pre-public companies, and is generally brought in to fix things that seem hopeless. I was confiding in her that sometimes I worry that I won’t be able to scale at the same rate as Chairman Mom, in part because things are going so well for us right now and the opportunity in front of us is just so immense. I know I’m the right person to be CEO right now and for the next year and maybe the year after that…
But…what about after that? Yikes.
Part of this is how I manage my own psychology. When I started work on “A Uterus Is A Feature Not A Bug” I told myself it was just going to be a collection of Q&As with powerful women, because I couldn’t imagine finding time to put the work in to write a really complex and ambitious book. When I started Chairman Mom it was just gonna be a side project. I can’t think about the whole marathon or I’ll get too intimidated to start. But gradually I know that as I take a project on, I’ll want more challenge, more complexity and level it all up.
My badass friend had an amazing answer. She said that only three things really matter if you are the CEO. If you are doing these three things, you are the person to be the CEO. And the rest is a matter of hiring a good COO or otherwise filling out the team around you.
They are: (1) setting the strategy amid an uncertain landscape, (2) making sure the right butts are in the right seats, (3) creating the right culture. That’s it! And that is manageable and measurable.