It’s just after 11pm on a Friday night. My mind is tired, to that point that I can feel it fighting to gain just a little bit more adrenalin. Because slowing down would cause me to collapse at my laptop.
I’ve been here before. Many times in fact. Especially during my first startup there was little that prevented me from being a train reck of a workaholic. The harder I pushed, the harder it was to stop. The more my body and mind yearned to be worked until exhaustion.
Fast forward eight years and I can feel it happening again. Like a drug addict that just needs one more hit, I push for one more ounce of thought to advance the business.
Except this time, sitting at my desk at 11pm, I have a lot more to lose. With two young kids and an amazing wife I can feel life slipping by as I spend just one more minute on my startup. Just one more glance at my phone. One more thought before bed.
The deeper I go the easier it is to justify this path. To say, oh just after this project it will slow down. Except it doesn’t. Not because it can’t, but because I’ve forgotten how to. What started as a side project has become a constant being. To the point that I’m sitting here at my laptop, long after my family has gone to bed, doing the work of three people.
I’ve written about this slippery slope before. In between companies and free from the burden of growth I wrote a guide about enjoying the ride. That was almost three years ago. Long enough that I have forgotten my own words.
As I sit here again, I realize that this is a choice. No one forced me to push myself to exhaustion. No one required that I say good night to my family. No one listed this as a requirement to being a founder. And yet I’m here…a few steps from sliding right back back down that hill.
Previous to being an entrepreneur the only thing that I was ever addicted to was soccer. I didn’t just play on the weekends, I was the kid with a bag of soccer balls in the back of his car practicing before and after school. I even convinced my principal to give me first period off in high school so I could train.
As a player, I didn’t make it to the world cup or even to the professionals. And yet I would take that same path every time.
Trying to be a great entrepreneur is something I think a lot about. No different than trying to be great athlete I’ve come to believe that success is built on hard work. A discipline and willingness that the average person is not willing to commit. And yet my personal desire to improve comes in conflict with the relationships that I love in my life.
It’s even come to the point that I’d rather work than socialize. Because socializing feels like I’m being inefficient in the very seconds I’m consumed in conversation. All I can hear is the introvert inside me screaming to get back to work. Back to my quest to move forward.
Unfortunately, the only thing that really stopped me down this path last time was being fired from my own company. It was so finite in conclusion that my stomach still turns from its abruptness. It not only forced me to get off the roller coaster, but to realize I had a problem.
I still have that same problem and I don’t have a solution. Just a realization that this time I have a lot more to lose.
Image Credit: dangquocbuu via Creative Commons