Courage is a Habit: Advice from Etsy CEO, Chad Dickerson

Take that next step! Courage is a habit and to get started you have to put one foot in front of the other.

Chad Dickerson opened the Etsy Up conference with the usual anecdotes about Etsy’s success and some impressive numbers – 11 years of Etsy, 1.7 million sellers, and 26 million active buyers.

Then he got personal.

Chad stood on the stage, the CEO of a publicly-traded company with name recognition around the globe, and told the story being broke in San Francisco and hauling off personal belongings to the pawn shop to make rent.

Chad’s long road from North Carolina field hand, to Duke University English major, to tech-hopeful scraping by in San Francisco, to Etsy CEO is a story of courage and hard work. And it a story he shares in common the hundreds of Etsy sellers sitting in the room with him and watching Etsy Up online.

Chad understands what every maker knows intuitively: it takes guts to put yourself out there.

The day you launch your Etsy shop is the day you decide to brave the threat of criticism. It is the day you face the fear of not being good enough and the day you overcome the self-doubt that so often holds us back.

And that bold step is one you can take again and again until it becomes a habit.

“You become courageous by doing courageous acts.” – Mary Daly

To help you kickstart your own courage habit, Chad shared the the four things that helped him develop his own:

Take the leap. Don’t put off your dreams. You change the trajectory of your life when actually start the thing.

Persist. You have to keep going, even when you fail. As Thomas Edison famously stated, “We often miss opportunity because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

Accept and learn from failure. Chad recommends playing this little mind trick on yourself, “think of everything you do as experiment.” When you consider everything an experiment, there is no failure, just lessons learned.

Trust yourself, don’t get discouraged. Don’t be afraid of your own north star. As Chad says, “to be successful you have to ignore a lot of advice that you get.”

Start your courage habit today. Go to to find the class that will help you on the road to realizing your dreams.


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Rachel is the content marketing lead for the CreativeLive Craft Channel. Her side hustle is floral design and her day job is awesome. @ms_gregarious.