“My business deserves a better founder.”
This thought lives in my head rent-free. And, it’s just as much bullshit as it is true.
But first, some context. What do I do? I run a women-focused marketing agency, Decoding Draupadi, that helps brands market to women better. Alongside, my team and I initiate conversations and build services that amplify women’s representation in rooms and on tables that matter.
Now, back to the thought: the idea and business deserve a better, smarter person to run it. To take it to the next level. To make it a success, even.
This is true. There’s always someone who would be better at your job, regardless of what you do. The question today is, how true is it? And, should you act on it?
The simple answer is no. You should NOT drop everything and settle for something easy and mediocre just because you don’t trust yourself with brilliance. Or, just because you believe your idea deserves a better owner.
Here’s what I did instead and I think could work for you too:
Step 0 – Identify where this thought is stemming from.
For me, it’s a comparison. As a person who lives on the internet, I’m always coming across brilliant, intelligent, humble people. For instance, I came across a woman who talked about government IDs and the ‘daughter of’ concept in the context of women and ownership. When I read it, I thought it was an interesting insight. But I also instantly thought, “why don’t I get thoughts like these?” And, if I don’t, what am I doing here?
I could share multiple examples, but the point is, the comparison did no good. It didn’t inspire me to act, for the most part. If anything, it slowed me down. So, the second I realised that, I began ignoring it.
The problem still existed though: While I didn’t compare myself to others, I still believed that my business deserved better.
So, step 1 – Try and ‘decode’ why that thought is absolute bullshit.
To do this, you have to first accept that it is true. Someone else would be better at things than you. But, it does not mean you drop it. Or that you hand over your business.
Instead, it’s important to realise that there is a reason you (and I) got the opportunity to start or run a business. Or, have decision-making opportunities. Dropping it would mean betraying that opportunity. It would mean saying no to the chance you got to be a part of something larger than your doubt, ego, and mind. Instead, your ONLY responsibility is to give your all to what’s in front of you.
Step 2 – A tangible solution.
If you believe that there are certain things you cannot do, or someone else could do better, you find an expert. Since I started building DD, one of the toughest things I have had to do was share, outsource, and rely on another person.
And there were multiple chains of thoughts:
- Before anything, I had to view my work as a separate entity, not my identity.
- I also had to trust myself and my position enough to not feel threatened.
- I had to believe that I was contributing to my work. Just in different ways.
When I understood these, I got comfortable with hiring because I was actually practising it. My experience as the culture custodian at C4E taught me everything I know about people, leaps of faith, and hiring.
Slowly, with DD, I didn’t just get comfortable with hiring experts, but also with talking to more people, picking their brains, and learning from them.
Most importantly, I learnt how to give my business what it needed without stripping myself of the chance. Because, in all honesty, it would be idiotic to think that someone else could execute my vision the way I wanted to.
Step 3 – Fight the imposter syndrome.
You know how when everything’s going too well, something clicks inside you? A buzzer of sorts. More like a stop signal actually. I call that the imposter syndrome (not claiming that this is the definition). It is an odd feeling and I’m still learning to deal with it.
Here’s how I see it. When the imposter syndrome is high, my confidence is low. Because my brain is telling me that I’m in the wrong room, that I “cheated” my way through, and that I don’t deserve to be here.
And, that is scary. More importantly, it’s scary because I need my dose of confidence and an I-believe-I-can-do-this attitude.
The funny thing is, you can’t avoid it. It’s extremely normal. But, I also know that you and I both have it in us to work our way around it.
After all, the urge to do great things wins over everything (or at least I hope so!).
Until next time,
Busy Decoding Draupadi