When times are good, don't give yourself too much credit. When times are bad, don't give yourself too much blame.

November 9, 2011

Ethan Austin is the Co-founder of GiveForward, fundraising platform that helps people raise money for their loved ones' out-of-pocket medical expenses.  This blog was re-posted from his personal blog Startups and Burritos.




Tim Krauskopf, one of our closest mentors at GiveForward, gave us  a great piece of advice when we were going through a rough patch a while back.  He said:


When times are good, don't give yourself too much credit.  When times are bad, don't give yourself too much blame.


I heard a similar piece of advice from TechCrunch founder Mike Arrington last night at a Founder Showcase event where  he was speaking.  He said:


When you're successful, don't pat yourself on the back too much because a lot of it is luck.


I think this advice from Tim and Mike is incredibly valuable for entrepreneurs to recognize.   There is SOOOO much stuff that is out of your control when you are running a startup that blaming yourself for the failures or patting yourself on the back for your success is a waste of time and emotional energy.


In reality, all you can do as a startup founder is work your ass off  in order to put yourself in a position where you can get lucky.  I wrote a blog post a while back on how to get accepted into Excelerate Labs startup accelerator.  Getting into this project forever changed the trajectory of our company, but I'll be the first to admit that so much of it was just luck and good timing. In that post, I wrote that there were four steps on how to get accepted.  The first three steps can more or less be summed up as be ahustler and put yourself in the best position possible to get lucky.  The last step is get lucky.  That's not just a formula for getting into a startup accelerator.  I think it's a formula for everything in life.


Success = 75%  hustle + 25% luck.


Take the luck out of the equation and instead of success, you have failure.  Knowing this makes you both more humble and self-confident at the same time.