Categories: Founders + Leaders

by Jeffrey Prag


Categories: Founders + Leaders3.3 min read

by Jeffrey Prag


When Groucho Marx famously said, “I wouldn’t want to belong to a club that would accept me as one of its members,” he likely didn’t intend to touch on one of the most prevalent issues in entrepreneurship.

Despite the fact that the quote is perfectly self-deprecating, he reportedly said it in an effort to quit a club that had previously refused to accept his resignation.

But, without context, the quote can be used to capture the many feelings that come with imposter syndrome…

I don’t belong here.

I’m not smart or savvy enough to reach success.

When (not if) I fail, my colleagues are going to figure out I’m a fraud.

If you’ve caught yourself in a similar narrative, you’re not alone.

According to a recent study, 84 percent of entrepreneurs experience impostor syndrome, especially if they become successful leaders. And those insecurities don’t disappear when you look at the corporate world…

A separate survey revealed that 58 percent of employees at major tech companies like Amazon, Microsoft and Google experience these feelings. One participant even expressed feeling like a fraud even after 14 years of being a high-ranking engineer.

I’m no different.

I’ve built two successful companies and helped to scale 100 more. But if I were sitting at a table full of the world’s top CEOs, my inner dialogue would sound a little something like this: “I can’t hang with these people!”

But through my experience in working with entrepreneurs like you (and sitting at a table with a bunch of billionaires who I did hang with) I’ve realized something important: success isn’t preordained.

We’re not anointed CEOs—and success is in no way as linear as a royal succession.

Ninety-nine percent of people in business have worked hard to earn their rank and made many mistakes that left them questioning their ability while doing it.

So how do we get to a place where we have fewer of those limiting doubts?

1. Take stock of your accomplishments (and your failures).

Ask yourself what you have accomplished and where you failed. More importantly, ask yourself what you learned from those failures. As important as it is to talk about your successes, identifying what you’ve learned from your mistakes will help replace feelings of self-doubt with a plan forward.

2. Become a moderator for your inner dialogue.

You’re not going to overcome imposter syndrome overnight. You might not overcome it at all—but you can choose to acknowledge your limiting thoughts instead of engaging them. When you’re stuck in a negative mindset ask yourself, “Does this help or hinder me?”

3. Get rid of the “yes man” on your team.

I’ve worked with a lot of clients with executive teams that will “yes” them to death. But to overcome your limiting beliefs you don’t need a yes man—you need meaningful dialogue.

You need a team that’s going to hold up the mirror and show you what they see in you.

A team that will help moderate your moderator. And that’s us…

When we work with you, we become an extension of your team—one that delivers honesty and objectivity. We’ll help you separate the learning opportunities from the doom and gloom that clouds your head and zoom out to help you craft a plan forward.

The truth is, overcoming imposter syndrome takes work. It’s not an overnight process and it can creep up quickly in the ebbs and flows of business.

But with the right team in your corner, you can learn to take stock of those limiting beliefs in way that moves your business and definition of success forward.

Book a Discovery Call today to learn how Howbridge can support you and your business.

Howbridge is a growth advisory firm that helps companies take the next step to market leadership.

Related Posts

View all
  • Leadership may be one of the most popular topics covered by self-development authors and business coaches. Still, several misconceptions persist in regard to what it takes to be a truly effective leader. In this blog post, we break down some of the most common leadership myths so you can feel more confident about your position […]

    Read More
  • Taking stock of your past and learning from your mistakes is key to growing as a leader and encouraging innovation in your business ventures. Howbridge CEO Jeff Prag discusses 3 key lessons from his own experience. How do you encourage growth in your leadership and innovation in your business? Take stock of your past and […]

    Read More
  • Entrepreneurs, journalists, musicians and artists alike are in a perpetual pursuit of innovation. Our focus concentrates on the future. Wondering about the past is deemed a waste of time and the present moment is largely overlooked for the feelings of stagnation that accompany it.  Startup founders want to imagine a future that nobody has yet […]

    Read More
  • A Short History In 1997, Netflix Founders Marc Randolph and Reed Hastings felt irritated by Blockbuster’s $40 late return-fee. This frustration led them to the idea of renting DVDs by mail using a subscription model and the seed of what we now know as Netflix was planted. By 2000, Hastings and Randolph offered to sell […]

    Read More