Can Overconfidence Ruin Your Career?

Rines Angel Fund
3 min readJun 1, 2023

By Natalie Pontbriand ’24 Associate

Becoming a confident person is something that everyone strives for; but can being too overconfident lead to your downfall? Pitching and becoming an entrepreneur takes confidence. You are creating a new idea and must convince people you sometimes don’t know why they should invest in your idea and you. Although it is excellent to believe that the product or service you are pitching is the greatest of all time, some may view this as cockiness, resulting in people not wanting to invest. Confidence is essential to becoming an entrepreneur, but people need to understand the line between believing in themselves and lying to themselves. By lying, they are convincing themselves that they can accomplish the impossible.

I believe that in a pitch, not only must you present an idea that solves a necessary problem, but you also must prove to investors that you are a person who believes in the idea, which is where confidence comes in. When pitching your idea, the key is to project confidence. Confidence can be shown in many forms, from talking about your shortcomings, being open for input, or sharing how much you learned and grew from your past mistakes. I believe that the misconception of confidence comes from people thinking that their business or them self as a person will never fail. When a company or founder is too confident in their idea, they believe nothing can go wrong and do not plan for the worst. Being able to understand that shortcomings happen and how to work around them is a significant part of exhibiting confidence that not many people consider.

I believe that confidence is something that every entrepreneur needs. This career is challenging, from making decisions to having limited time, resources, or people to guide you. It helps to be able to inhibit confidence in yourself, your knowledge, and your abilities and skills. Confidence is what entrepreneurs need to take risks, but if they step too much over that line, it could end in disaster for their company. Overconfidence bias is something that can plague your business. This bias is when people overestimate their business’s abilities, accuracy, and success. It comes from the entrepreneur comparing their past success to their future ones when maybe they were just successful out of luck. This hinders their opinion to work on areas that they or their business struggles with, which can negatively affect their business growth.

An example of overconfidence bias comes from Steward Swayze, “Research shows that overconfident entrepreneurs tend to ignore the strengths of their direct competitors. Next, your competitor disrupts the market and steals your customers.” By becoming too overconfident, you forget about everyone around you and their strengths and focus on yourself, leading competitors to succeed over you.

Although confidence is something that every entrepreneur should strive for, knowing the line between confidence and overconfidence is an essential factor in becoming successful. Becoming self-aware is critical in not stepping over that line. Practicing counterbalancing and self-regulatory mechanisms can help keep you and your business on track.

Natalie is a junior from Higganum, Connecticut pursuing a degree in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice. She became interested in entrepreneurship after taking a class her sophomore year and hopes to achieve a career in Industrial Psychology. Aside from the fund, Natalie is a part of Chi Omega sorority, Psi Chi International Honor Society, and Save the Children Action Network whose goal is to work to spread awareness about the many issues affecting children across the globe by building political will and mobilizing the community. She is interested in the work of team dynamics and interested in using her Psychology skills to tie into the entrepreneurship world.

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Rines Angel Fund

We are a seed-stage venture Fund backing exceptional New England entrepreneurs.