Playing a Bad Hand

Over the last decade of running a company, there are peaks and valleys. The valleys rhyme, and usually have a simple formula for fixing. The length of the valley changes, but the remedy tends to be the same.

I'll add to this list as I discover more.

When feeling anxious about something

Prepare more. Any acute anxiety I've experienced has usually been tied to an upcoming event, or achieving a milestone. If I'm really anxious about it, it means I'm just not as prepared as I should be.

When feeling depressed, or disconnected

Meet someone new. Someone I've never met, or haven't spoken to in a while. Someone I admire. These conversations usually rekindle my imagination and, well, hope.

When feeling stuck

Read a book. I've found holistic business books (things like Competing for the Future) to be very helpful. If I'm feeling stuck on a particular function, I may read a book that focuses on it, but I also get a lot of value out of the general business strategy books. They become the catalyst for thinking about things from a different angle, which "unsticks" me.

When feeling overwhelmed

Write it out in a journal. Similar to my tip on dealing with anxiety, the simple process of writing it out takes its power away. When it's down on paper, it's not stuck in my head anymore, which frees me up to think about something else.

When feeling burned out

Take an extended period off (minimum 2 weeks) with no agenda. I haven't done this yet, but I feel it coming. I haven't taken true time off since my honeymoon in 2012. It's good for me, and the company, to notice when burnout is approaching, and set up a system to be able to take the time without being a disruption.

The difference between burnout and depression

Burnout means you don't care if business is going well, or not. Depression means you don't care if anything is going well, or not. Note to self: If you're still getting excited about -something- in your life, you're probably just burned out.

Written on Oct 26th, 2020