It’s my opinion that for entrepreneurs specifically, the fear of being found out is probably stronger than the fear of failure. Also known as The Emperor Has No Clothes Syndrome,Â the Number One on the Entrepreneurial Nightmare Hit Parade is the dream that you’re walking down the street and suddenly you discover that you are nekkid as the day you were born.
Feverishly, you think to yourself, “Perhaps no one will notice.”Â Lots of entrepreneurs think everyone else is more successful or smarter than they are and live in fear of the world finding out that they are a fraud.
“Fake it ’til you make it.” ~ Unknown axiom
Upon hearing this, my ears process, “Blerg, blah, blah blah blerg blah.”
This innocuous little phrase drives me bonkers because it begets a whole lot of unnecessary anxiety. Fake it til you make it has been used into the Entrepreneur’s LexiconÂ to the point where it is destructive and directly feeds into the Naked Emperor Theory.
My question: At what point is is safe to switch off the “make it”Â portion of the axiom? If you’ve been faking it, at what point does your Ego say, “Okay, Harold; you’re in. You’ve ‘Made It.'”Â The first million? The first franchise? Making payroll without having to eat Ramen?
According to Jedi sage Yoda, “Do, or do not. There is no try.”Â
According to Kurt Vonnegut, “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.”
The logical extension of both of these statements is that the act of Being, is. The rest is simply a matter of scale.
Extrapolated further, I take them to mean: Once you, as an individual, have committed to a state of being or a standard of excellence, then you have “made it.”Â The battle and definition is internal. What you’ve defined as successÂ is merely the resultant cumulative effect of sustained performance at (or beyond) that level. The accumulation of benefits, whether that yardstick is fame, wealth, fitness or professional accolades can serve as a barometer.
Once you’ve reconciled yourself to this reality, you can let yourself off the hook. You’ve made it. Besides, as we covered in the post about Envy, your success is your success. It is personal and specific to you. Don’t lose sleep comparing your perception of success against your neighbor’s.
Your neighbor may define success as a 17 bedroom house and the staff to maintain it. Your success may be altogether different. And neither is superior to the other.
Back to the naked/exposure as fraudÂ paradigm: you are enough. Just as you are. ClichÃ© or no, there isn’t anyone else on this planet with your strengths, your perspective or your abilities. If anything, I think that entrepreneurs fear being exposed as frauds because they alone know their capabilities as compared against what they’ve achieved externally. They know when they’re sandbagging.
If this is the root of your fear of being exposed, then your solution is simple: identify and prioritize what it is you need to do to cultivate and expand the skill in question and then implement the steps needed to attain it. Before you know it, you’ll be comfortable in any outfit (or lack thereof). You will be independent.
Nice threads, baby.
Molly Cantrell-Kraig is a woman with drive. Possessing an innate sense of purpose and a pragmatic, solution-based approach to empowering people, she fused these two traits in order to establish Women With Drive Foundation. Based upon its founder’s personal history, Women With Drive Foundation is a means through which Cantrell-Kraig may effect change on both a micro and macro level. By providing women with something as essential as personal transportation in order to transition them from poverty to prosperity, she, through Women With Drive Foundation, seeks to empower women to help them help themselves. Through this action, the individual applicant benefits, as does society as a whole. Follow Molly on twitter as @mckra1g or @WWDr1ve (Women With Drive Foundation) or “Like” them on facebook.