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Barbara Corcoran says every successful person she knows has imposter syndrome: ‘That’s what drives them’

By | Megan Sauer |

Barbara Corcoran doesn’t gravitate toward confident people.

Instead, she wants to work with people who have ideas and insecurities — because someone who knows what they don’t know is more likely to succeed than someone who thinks they have all the answers.

“The more successful someone is, the more self-doubt they have, because that’s what drives them,” Corcoran, 74, said at Fiverr’s Bridge the Gap webinar last month. “I’ve never met a secure person who was a stellar star.”

Corcoran, an entrepreneur and longtime investor on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” cited herself an example. Despite selling her real estate firm The Corcoran Group for $66 million in 2001, she still sometimes wonders if the deal was “a fluke, a lucky break,” she said.

That so-called imposter syndrome is a strength, Corcoran argued: It drives her to find gaps in her knowledge, and fill them with people whose skillsets balance her weaknesses. And on “Shark Tank,” it leads her to seek out entrepreneurs who question themselves.

“I look for a [competitor] who’s mostly insecure, because I know I’ve got myself a winner,” Corcoran said. “They have the ambition. They’re going to work twice as hard, which, I think, is the great upside to feeling like you’re an impostor.”

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