Imposters Run The World
Why imposter syndrome is a superpower
This week a founder in our community booked time with me during my weekly office hours and asked how to get over imposter syndrome.
This is something we all feel at one point or another. It can be hard to shake.
But almost all advice I hear about what to do about it is wrong.
So I told this founder the truth.
And now I’m going to tell you exactly what I told them.
This one’s for the underdogs 👇
Read Time: 05 minutes
Imposters Run the World
I’m An Imposter
In 2016 I went from driving for Uber to make extra money while running an agency, to working on Uber’s fast growing Uber Eats product.
I was 2 years removed from graduating from the University of Miami — a far cry from Stanford or the Ivy League — and was struggling to find my footing in the real world.
I’d spent those 2 years first working as a (bad) software engineer at a small startup in my hometown of Philadelphia and later in trying (and only sometimes succeeding) to get my own agency off the ground.
When I needed extra cash to pay rent, I drove for rideshare services.
I’ll tell the story of how I got the Uber job through cold outreach another time but you can imagine the culture shock when I started.
Suddenly I, a severely underachieving C-level student, was surrounded by lifelong high-achievers.
My new teammates had come from private equity, elite consulting firms, or had profitable side projects.
They were welcoming and friendly but all were sharp and bound together by a shared ambitiousness and high-bar. My first manager, in particular, did not tolerate mediocrity.
Unlike every school or job I’d ever had this was not a place that catered to the lowest common denominator.
It was exhilarating. I instantly felt like I’d finally found my people.
But I doubted they felt the same about me.
The same thing happened when I founded my first startup:
I went from being laid off to being interviewed by The New York Times from a McDonald’s parking lot in Tulum the next quarter.
Andrew Chen from a16z (our eventual lead investor) was one of our first 100 Twitter follower.
The people who wanted to be our members were far more accomplished than I was.
What would happen if I couldn’t keep them interested?
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