The Impostor

We are all making it up as we go along

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That's why your career's come to an end
It's only so long fake thugs can pretend
You ain't live it, you witnessed it from your folks' pad
You scribbled it in your notepad and created your life

- ‘Takeover’ by Jay-Z

One of my favorite movies of all time is ‘Catch Me If You Can’, the story of Frank Abagnale Jr.

Between the age of 15 - 21, Abagnale became one of the US’s most notorious impostors, having assumed more than eight fake identities, including an airline pilot, a doctor, a U.S. Bureau of Prisons agent, and a lawyer.

Abagnale was captured and escaped from police custody twice (once from an airplane whilst getting ready to leave the runway and once from a U.S. federal prison) all before turning 22 years old.

He served only a few years in prison before starting to work as a consultant and lecturer for the FBI academy and field offices. He also runs Abagnale and Associates, a financial fraud consultancy company.

Why Should You Care?

Many people will be familiar with the term ‘impostor syndrome’, loosely defined as the feeling of being inadequate at your job or that you’ll be ‘found out’ for not being good enough despite your skills and successes.

An estimated 70% of people experience these impostor feelings at some point in their lives, according to a review article published in the International Journal of Behavioral Science.

Everyone experiences at some stage. Regardless of whether you are the perfectionist or the natural genius. Doubt will still find a way of creeping in.

There are a range of different reasons that cause this feeling, from childhood experiences to your current environment.

So just remember, you are not alone.

Look around at your colleagues. Your peer group. The founder/CEO who seems to have it all together.

They are all just trying to figure it out as they go along. Even the best of us only have it figured out 50% of the time.

Startup founders are especially susceptible to impostor syndrome, with the “fake it til you make it” tongue-in-cheek mantra commonly heard across the founder community.

Even further, the context of early stage startups makes the impact of impostor syndrome even more prevalent. If it’s really hard to:

  • Build a product without funding

  • Get customers without a product

  • Get funding without customers

…..then early stage startup founders are in a constant circle of doubt. How can I be leading an unfunded business without a product I can sell to non-existent customers?

It’s not about knowing everything. It’s about not knowing with confidence.

You can be confident that the problem you’ve identified is worth solving because you’ve done all of the legwork to talk to the market that you know inside and out. You know with confidence how intense and frequent the problem is, and that you’ve calculated your TAM/SAM/SOM frontwards and backwards, upside down and inside-out, and that you’ve got a sound plan to attack that market.

You can be confident that you’ve got a small but cohesive team ready to knock the ball out of the park.

You can be confident that you’ve got a great network of confidants that can help to point you in the right direction when the doubt creeps in.

Doubt is normal. Just don’t let doubt control your actions.

You can have an impostor moment, just don’t let it become an impostor life.

Tell me why I’m wrong…

- Eoin

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Left Field

How do I describe ‘Left Field’? It’s a place to put the content (newsletters/articles, etc) that we have amassed over recent weeks or previous years that really make us think or change our thinking on a particular topic. All the content will offer an alternative view of some topic in financial services, technology or sport (or a combination of all three!)

The Billionaire Who Wanted To Die Broke . . . Is Now Officially Broke

Many of you may have seen reference to this but it is the remarkable story of billionaire, Chuck Feeney, who dedicated his life to the idea of Giving While Living—spending most of your fortune on big, hands-on charity bets instead of funding a foundation upon death.

Anyway, I won’t give away too much. Enjoy the article and feel free to get in touch to discuss more!

- Eoin


Can’t Sleep?

Smilin' Wizard on Twitter: "Hmm... interesting. #sleep #night #health # insomnia #meme #memes #bed… "

MoneyNeverSleeps podcast episode from this week:

Podcast Recommendation: Highly recommend checking out the ‘Building a Second Brain’ podcast where Tiago Forte shares great advice on how to organise and expand your creative output.

Book Recommendation: I highly recommend the book, ‘Everything is F*cked’ by Mark Manson. From the author of the international mega-bestseller ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck’ comes a counterintuitive guide to the problems of hope. I loved this book!

Article/Newsletter Recommendation: if you haven’t heard of it already, check out the excellent ‘Lenny’s Newsletter’ , where Lenny Ratichsky tackles weekly reader questions about product, growth, people management, and anything else that’s stressing you out at the office


This newsletter has been written by Eoin Fitzgerald and Pete Townsend

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