"It's just one of those things. When you get some confidence, the sky's the limit," [said Joe Thornton, the hot center of the San Jose Sharks of the U.S. National Hockey League]. "And I feel really good right now."
That was the quote in the San Jose Mercury' News' sports report on last night's winning game in which Thornton scored once and made two great passes that assisted scores, one of which should be the play of the month, according to his coach, Ron Wilson.
The entire Sharks team is on a roll, winning so many recent games that they are nearing the top of the standings in their league.
So what's the lesson here for startup founders? Simple, find out where your level of confidence is and decide on what to do about it.
Start with a test of your level of confidence right now. How confident are you of winning and doing amazing things with your new enterprise?
If you are wavering, it is time to pause and do a checkup: "Why am I not so gung-ho right now?" It can be a moment that reveals dangers that may be underway but whose disastrous end can still be avoided. Listen to your intuition, it can be a great early warning detection system.
If you are super confident, beware. You may have crossed the line into the dreaded Super Ego Land. In the same newspaper today had another article written by a columnist who commented that convicted CEO Jessie Reyes (Brocade, stock option mess) was among the most arrogant egos in Silicon Valley. You don't want to go there. It is a land without standards and full of career killing cliffs, none of which are visible before you make that fatal step.
You want to be in "The Golden Middle" (an old German adage) where you are balanced between the extremes. Then you'll be confident without being arrogant or doubtful. Humility can be confident. Jesus Christ had it. So did Mother Terrisa. I know several lesser saints who live their lives that way and are world-class winners. Thornton commented in polite humility that he did not see his super pass as other than what would be done under the intensity of world-class competition. So he did it. And he knows where the golden middle of confidence is.
Give that a try. You'll be amazed how it boosts your confidence!
BOTTOM LINE: Confidence fuels startup people, everyone. It can be measured. Wise CEOs check on how confident they and their people are because that signals the health of the soul of the new enterprise. Keeping confidence up to a high level has powerful rewards. Learn how to measure it and then you'll add a strong element to your unfair advantage.