Success is one of the most dangerous things that can happen to you early in your career

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:, or follow me on Twitter.

Success is one of the most dangerous things that can happen to you early in your career. When you’re on a so-called rocket ship, you’re likely drinking from the fire hose daily, making things up as you go along. If you’re given responsibilities that exceed your experience, you’re probably plagued by self-doubt. Then, at some point, if you’re lucky, the company you’ve helped build is declared a success. And those many bumps along the way are ironed out into a perfect narrative. Perhaps you’re even tempted to believe it.

In Silicon Valley, myths about people and companies tend to beat out carefully considered case studies. Maybe it’s because so much creation happens when companies are still private and therefore less observable. Maybe it’s because there are so many new and invisible forces at work (emerging technology trends, cultural and behavioral shifts) in a company’s meteoric rise that mythology is the only way we can make sense of it. Maybe it’s because we love a good story—and a good creation story most of all.

It’s a balancing act to allow yourself pride in what you’ve helped accomplish without getting caught up in your own personal mythology. Be grateful for the tough times: They will keep you anchored during headier cycles. If you battle insecurity and anxiety on the regular (raises hand), find solace in the fact that you’re probably working harder than you would if you were capable of believing that it was your seat that made all the difference.