How Startup Founders Need Both Confidence And Humility

It takes confidence to start and grow a company. It also takes a healthy dose of humility.

It’s strange how experienced founders can do both at the same time.

Confidence helps you keep moving forward when it’s hard. And persuade customers and employees when it’s new.

Humility is admitting out loud that you don’t know exactly how it will work or how long it will take before you try it.

The magic combination is being sure about some things and openly unsure about others.

Experienced founders have been humbled over and over. They know that there are many things they don’t know.

Most new founders don’t yet know what they don’t know. They often are confident and humble about the wrong things.

An experienced founders of 7 previous companies, Howard Gottlieb, explained it to me this week like this:

“Self-importance, the need to be right and be the smartest person in the room are the enemies of serious entrepeneurs and leaders.”

I agree. I know a founder will struggle when they have these traits before they have tried something in the real world.

Confidence and humility and strange bedfellows. It’s abnormal to do both at the same time.

That’s how I see it. How do you see it?

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