Cautious Optimism

level headed
Chris Taylor's Profile Picture

Where’s the balance between confidence and hubris?

I’m a fairly passionate person.  I see a little bit of traction on something and I can get, well, excited.

I mean, this was the way it was supposed to go, but still.  When it happens – even starts to happen – it’s pretty exciting, isn’t it?

Here’s the challenge I wrestle with in these circumstances – that balance between confidence and hubris.  Confidence is good.  Showing the team that you believe in what’s happening gives them confidence; helps them overcome any doubts they might be suffering from.  But hubris – that blind faith that everything will work out “because you say so” is a disaster waiting to happen. And yet it’s so easy to slip from one to the other.

I remember (painfully) a situation early on where I received an investment of $100k on a company valuation that I’d brought to the table.  It took confidence to bring that number to the table.  But the “success” of securing the funding went straight to my head and I scaled up like we were 10 times larger than we actually were.  The belief in what was possible had led to the financing, but the cockiness that came from achieving that initial success lead to the gross over spending, over commitment to new projects and ultimately, painful layoffs and scrapped initiatives.

So how do you stay level-headed?  How do you stay impassioned with what can be, yet stay as curious of your successes as you do of your failures so you continue to learn and grow?  How do you help your team stay on that same path?

I ask the question, and look forward to your insight.

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