Jason Cohen posted an article about his battle with feeling like a fraud. Jason has a product that allows software developers to perform code reviews of one another’s work without being side-by-side. During a discussion with a friend, he mentioned that he sometimes wondered if the company he was building was built by an unqualified guy (himself).
I felt like a fraud every day. Here I was, selling a wobbly, buggy tool and pawning myself off as an expert in a field that didn’t exist. (My software was the first commercial tool for code review.) Every second I felt like I was putting one over on the world.
I have to sympathize with Jason, as I’ve often struggled with this thoughts before (and still do). Apparently, this is common and won’t go away. For Jason, the best way to handle it was to review what his customers said and recall the hours and hours of research and problem solving he’s devoted for his business:
Objectively, and with hindsight, my feelings were misplaced. The tool really did save time and headache; customers said so. As much as I doubted the title “Code Review Expert,” I had developed more experience with more teams in more situations than any one person could (because everyone else was busy doing their actual jobs). And sales isn’t as mystical and unknowable as I feared.
In fact, famous actors even struggle with the same issues:
The other thing he was saying is: You’re not alone. As it turns out, it’s not even just business founders. Mike Meyers said “I still believe that at any time the No-Talent Police will come and arrest me.” Jodie Foster said “I thought it [winning the Oscar] was a fluke. The same way as when I walked on the campus at Yale. I thought everybody would find out, and they’d take the Oscar back.”
So, if you struggle with feeling like a fraud, don’t worry – you aren’t alone. I would encourage you to read Jason’s full post, pick yourself up, dust off, and get back to it!