Startup Therapy Podcast

Episode #169

Ryan Rutan: Welcome back to another episode of the Startup therapy podcast. This is Ryan Rotan from startups dot com. Joined as always by my friend and the founder and CEO of startups dot com. Will Schroeder will, there's so many emotions in, in startup worlds, right? As founders, we, we, we get to run the gambit. Anxiety is certainly chief amongst them. When we talk to founders at, at every level, anxiety and the anxiety that they face seem to be front and center with the emotions they're dealing with. When does it go away?

Wil Schroter: Never ever. That's, that's the thing. No, I'm so disappointing, right? We all think that there's gonna be this moment where we've achieved and the anxiety just melts away and we've got it an easy street and we look like one of those cool stock photos of a person getting on to private jet that just never happens.

Ryan Rutan: So that Bingo card they gave me the day I signed up for s it's like if, if I, if I get a line that's, that doesn't make anxiety go away by

Wil Schroter: it. I think it's both invariably frustrating, right? Because we're thinking, well, hold on a second. The whole point was I'm gonna build this and all my anxieties are gonna go away. I'm gonna, you know, solve them. I'll check all those boxes. But on the other hand, this actually might be one of the most helpful episodes we've ever recorded simply because we'll explain that if you can understand what's really happening, what this anxiety really is, you can actually start to put it away today. The good news is you actually don't have to go build a startup and make it wildly successful and do all those things to get rid of the anxiety because we're gonna tell you today that it actually never goes away. So if you don't do something about it right now and T L D R has nothing to do with trying to accomplish things in your startup. You can actually get your arms around it, which I've got to imagine given the state of the world, given where people are right now would be a welcome thing to find. What do you think

Ryan Rutan: it would if I get my arms around it? I, I think I'm gonna do something other than hug it. Uh It's uh it's, I'm going to going to apply some violence to my anxiety. Oh Man. Yeah. Yeah. And seriously the state of the world right now, driving plenty of anxiety. Amazingly, we think about all the stuff that's going on. I talked to a founder yesterday, uh who's living in the Ukraine now he's, he's living in, in what he referred to as what we can call the peaceful part. He's, uh, you know, a way away from the heaviest of the conflict. And I was amazed by how stoic this individual was. He had all the reasons in the world to be full of anxiety and just concerned about all these things. And it wasn't that he didn't have concerns. Right. It wasn't that he was just like, OK, it is what it is. But what he had done was sort of say, like, look, it's not that thing that's driving my anxiety, it's the uncertainty. And he said so instead of just being uncertain about what's going on, he's like, I'm gonna focus on some things that I I can be certain about. And he's working really hard right now to support other entrepreneurs in Ukraine and he's building community and he's throwing himself into that and he's, he's doing the things that he can do. He's, he's trying to control the controllable and, and he's using that as a way to stave off. What I otherwise would have to imagine is a tidal wave worth of anxiety inducing factors.

Wil Schroter: Well, let's talk about, let's talk about what you should be concerned about where the, the certainty is and where it can never be. We are in the business of uncertainty, no matter what we do, we will not only not solve the uncertainty, we actually just go and create more uncertainty as our business expands, we get exponentially more uncertain, which isn't the way we think about it. We think about it, especially if we've never done this before. We think if we raise the next round, if we get that product shipped, if we just get to profitability, then certainty will just flow over and everything will be what it is. What we don't realize is that all of those things are just gateways to an exponential branch of more uncertainty, which really messes with us. And I would argue that's not even it if we zoom out a bit further and go beyond our startup. And we just look at our lives and we start to say, what are all the things that we have? The great uncertainties about our career, our family, kids, you know everything. If we're earlier in our lives, maybe we haven't found a spouse yet and we're freaking out about that or we do have a spouse and they're terrible. We're thinking that if we just fix this relationship, everything will be fine. We are, we are mired in uncertainty yet the fatal flaw. And again, what we're gonna talk about today is that we can solve for it. If we just fix that one thing, it'll make the uncertainty go away. This is like this anxiety is like whack a mole no matter what we hit, no matter what. We try to check that box or try to fix that thing. There's two more that pop up in spite of it and you may not believe it, but we'll take you through an entire lifetime. Me Ryan and I have gone through this in trying to have checked all of those boxes and to our credit, having checked an awful lot of them and how in many ways we're no different than when we were at the start of the journey. So Ryan, I've got a, a certainly a journey that I'd like to share from your standpoint. Take a look at your anxiety. Now, just your life anxiety. Now compare it to where when you started your career, maybe further back. If you want to go, what has changed, you know, what did you check off and what is

Ryan Rutan: different? Yeah, sure. So it, it yeah, checked off plenty of things, right. Checked off tons and tons and tons of things, right? I've accomplished a ton uh failed plenty too, but I've accomplished a lot. And, you know, it's funny as you check those boxes, what it really does in most cases is open a door or a window to where you now have visibility on the next thing that's going to drive anxiety. That that's what it did, right? And it was like we gotta go get clients, uh we gotta get, get clients, it's driving anxiety. Once we have a client, everything will be great. OK? Now we've got a client and now we have to make the client happy boy. That can drive some anxiety. Ok. We're making the, the client happy. Now, things are going well. They haven't paid us yet and, uh, payrolls do, oh, well, there's some anxiety. Ok. They paid us. Uh, now we've made payroll but now we're right back where we started. Nothing's really changed. I've checked all the boxes and it's still, it's, it's still there. Right. So, and, and you know that, that's, that's one tiny little encapsulation, but this is the way it goes, right? And to your point as we as, even if we do create periods of stability. And I did that within that particular business. When I was running the web design development agency, we got to a point where those problems were solved, there was enough client flow, there was enough revenue payroll was well met and everything was, was going well then what did we decide to do? Open up an email, marketing branch using html email, which was a brand new thing at the time and introduce a whole hell of a lot of new uncertainty around something we had never done before and weren't particularly good at in the beginning and, and, you know, created all kinds of problems for clients uh and, and made mistakes and drove more anxiety, right? And, and so it doesn't go away, right? It just changes shape

Wil Schroter: when I think about it when I think about my trajectory or path, it started with a whole hell of a lot of anxiety. It created a whole hell of a lot of anxiety and it just stayed at a whole hell of a lot of anxiety. So, so I'll, I'll give you a sense for it. So Ryan, you know this, I'll tell our listeners. So when I was coming out of high school, I did not have a very good trajectory. And that is putting it mildly. I had, I graduated bottom of my class in high school. I got rejected from every college I applied to, which comes along with graduating bottom your class in high school. I had $0 in the bank. Interesting thing in my family. When you graduate high school, you move out of the house and you're done. Not the way they say it. Like now we're like, oh, you go to college and you've moved out of the house? No, like you're 17 years old, which I was when I graduated, you're out of the house, you're on your own. You figure it out, you figure out how to pay your rent, you figure out how to literally do everything wouldn't really care what you do. And it's because I had a huge family, I had 80 cousins. So like that was just kind of how they did it. It's how they've always done it and it worked. Ok, sort of, but that said things weren't going well. Hell, I couldn't even get a prom date. Right. My senior year was, was not a celebratory time in life, wasn't the

Ryan Rutan: launch platform that you might have hoped

Wil Schroter: for. Yeah. So, you know, all I'm gonna say there is my expectations of life were so incredibly low. Now, at the time, my anxiety was just coming from some being alive, like making sure I could feed myself, making sure I literally had a roof over my head. But I want to point out expectations were super low and that's an important part of this short story. Soon thereafter by some bizarre chain of events that I won't get into, I end up starting what became one of the first web design companies back in 1994. Cool, great. No one knew what that was saying that you were starting a company back then. Ryan, you and I talked about it was not a badge of honor. They're like, what kind of idiot, by the way, what's the internet? That's the only question I was getting asked.

Ryan Rutan: So I used to get those pitying looks. It was like, oh, you couldn't find a job. I was like, well, yes, but no, it was the

Wil Schroter: common denominator. Yeah, horrible. So anyway, so, so I started this company and at first everything is going wrong. All I'm doing is just racking up more debt. So my anxiety of being broke and not knowing how I'm gonna feed myself is going exponentially higher. And I'm thinking to myself, which makes total sense. I'm thinking if I can get to a point where I can pay my bills on a consistent basis and, and I can pay my employees on a consistent basis. I'm on easy street, anxiety will be gone. I will have checked every box. I'm good. I'm that cool guy in that stock photo getting onto a private jet or something like it. I, I would have been cool with the cool guy in the, the stock photo eating at mcdonald's but being able to pay the bill private jet, at least my concerns. So anyway, company ends up doing exponentially well, in a short period of time, long story, but I end up becoming a millionaire by the time I'm 22 which even now is a really early age to do it back then. The only way to do that was either made a hit movie or you got drafted to the NFL. That was pretty much it. No startup, whatever. So it didn't exist yet. So it was an unusual which meant I didn't expect it, no one else expected it. And what I expected once I bought a house and bought a car and bought paid off my student loans and all those things that anxiety would go away. None of it went away. I was just as anxious after that as I was before that. Now I know someone's gonna be listening to this be like, you know what I don't want to hear about your rich problems. Like uh yeah, if, if that's your biggest problem, go after yourself. I, I get it. I get it because I was that guy. I was you listening to some idiot like me say the same thing. But here's the part that I glossed over and didn't listen to and I should have listened to. It was that you could make problems go away. But the anxiety behind it, how you feel doesn't go away. It just moves on to something else. And we keep thinking that if we make the problem go away, the anxiety behind it will go away. Tried it. It did not work. And I'm here to tell you almost 30 years later, it still hasn't worked. That's why we're doing this show.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah, I, I think we have to recognize that it's not the thing itself, right? The, the problem that you were associating and incorrectly associating the the anxiety with wasn't the thing that was, was actually creating the anxiety, right? In my case, my belief is that it's the uncertainty. It's not the thing that we know about that bothers us that creates the anxiety. It's the ones that we're pretty sure we don't know about that. Drive my anxiety, right? It's the, it's the what ifs it's the unknowns, that's where it comes from. There's really nothing we can do about those because we don't even know if they'll manifest. And so what we do in the meantime is say, OK, let me pick a problem, let me pick whatever it is that I think is bothering me something I need to solve for, for right now. And that's the thing that's driving my anxiety, right? That will become the the enemy that I fight for. Now. I will pin all of my hopes on, on beating that boss. And once I beat that boss, the anxiety goes away. Right? But the problem is we've painted the target in the wrong spot. So even when we hit that target to your point, we achieve those things. We wanted to achieve. The anxiety is still there, right? It did not fade away with the resolution of that particular problem. And I think that's a big part of where we have to start to shift the thinking so that we can wrap our arms around our anxiety,

Wil Schroter: right? And I gotta tell you, I was just talking to one of our founder, group members. I think it was two weeks ago. They're a longtime listener. So they'll, they'll definitely recognize the conversation. Of course, I'm not gonna call them out, but we had this conversation and I was saying, look, I've been going through this same groundhog day of anxiety for like 30 years in my professional career, right? Forget about anything before that. And at the time, I was like, I was just about to celebrate my 10th anniversary with my wife, who's awesome, right? Who I have no issues with it. And this is gonna sound, I'm not bragging. I'm just calling it what it is in the entire time. My wife and I have known each other. We've never had a disagreement. I mean, like, we don't even disagree on like, what to eat for dinner. Like nothing. And yet I have all kinds of anxiety about my relationship. My, my kids could not be like better kids. They're just such good kids. Right. My five year old and 10 year old and yet I have a million anxieties about my kids. My job, we're at a point, right? We're, we're profitable. We're debt free. We did all the things we were supposed to do. We get to do what we do for a living in Ryan. How non anxious are you? And I right about now. Uh Yeah,

Ryan Rutan: on a scale of 1 to 10, it's uh it's, it's, it's not a 10, right? But like that's the funny thing about anxiety, right? To your point. You don't have to earn it, right? Your relationship is good, but you have anxiety about it. Your kids are good, you have anxiety about it. Business is good, but we have anxiety about it. You don't have to earn anxiety. It's the one thing in life that we get

Wil Schroter: for free. It's crazy. I was on my anniversary trip for our 10th year. Uh this past week, every single night. I'm up at two in the morning, full of anxiety. I'm awake with anxiety on my goddamn anniversary. My wife's sleeping like a log. Right. She's golden. Right. She has no problems whatsoever. Right. She, she's not sharing my problems but I don't have real, real problems and I, and I'm not trying to dismiss them or anything else like that. I'm saying the kind of safety type problems that I grew up with, you know, I was, when I was a kid, I had safety problems where I was not safe. You know, I did not know if I was gonna eat or I was gonna live all these horrible things and I don't have those problems. But that, but me awake at two in the morning, Ryan feels exactly the same and I'm gonna map this back to what we're talking about with these, with our startup companies. We keep believing wholeheartedly that if we solve this one problem, if we check this one box that the anxiety goes away and it turns out it never does, which really messes with us because we're like, dude, I just solved that problem. What happened? I just did a funding round now all of a sudden I got to do another like what's happening. So let's talk a little bit about what it actually is because I think that's what we promised at the top of the episode that we'd get into. Not just all the things that bother us. I think that part's easy for people to understand, but what is it right when you look at it, what is it? That's actually the thing, the problem, you know, something that's really funny about everything we talk about here is that none of it is new. Everything you're dealing with right now has been done 1000 times before you, which means the answer already exists. You may just not know it, but that's ok. That's kind of what we're here to do. We talk about this stuff on the show, but we actually solve these problems all day long at groups dot startups dot com. So if any of this sounds familiar, stop guessing about what to do. Let us just give you the answers to the test and be done with it.

Ryan Rutan: It's not the problem, right? The driver of the anxiety as I was saying before, in, in, in my opinion, right? And it can come from a lot of places like you said, like, so there, there are deep rooted psychological topics that I am nowhere near qualified to speak to that can be the beginnings of these things, right? In your case, it was this lack of feeling of safety and then that permeates because you didn't have control of it then. And as you know, well aware adults, we know we don't have control over nearly as much of our lives as we would like to. And so those, those thoughts can creep back in, right? You can still feel not safe despite looking around and saying right now I'm relatively safe. Right. I'm not unassailable, but I'm relatively safe and yet I still have anxiety around this. Right. In my case came from something different. Right? I, I didn't have feelings of being unsafe as a child. Mine came from something different. Mine came from this, this need to perform. Right. We came from a highly performant family where there were lots of expectations that, you know, that everyone would perform and that, you know, we would accomplish things and it came from a good place. I think it wasn't, you know, they weren't demands put upon me necessarily, but there were obvious expectations that that we would achieve, right? It wasn't the case that they were gonna break my place on my 18th birthday like they did at your house and said you got to go. The expectation was that I would already have achieved and have the ability to do that, which drives a different type of anxiety, right? It's not the, it's not the feeling of lack of safety, it's the feeling of lack of accomplishments, the feeling of I haven't achieved what I was supposed to have achieved up until this point. And that permeates my life to this day, right? You, you and I talk about this all the time where I have these hang ups and challenges around when things aren't going the way I want. I take it extremely personally and I can't separate, you know, what's just happening in life and in, in the world from my own performance and, and I'm extremely hard on myself and, and it drives a ton of anxiety and guess what? I don't even have to fail at something to get the anxiety. I can just be working on something and working towards it and then start to feel anxious. That what if I don't achieve as much as I want to with this? Take a step further, even when I do achieve what I set out to achieve, then what happens? I move the bar up and now I have to achieve more than that. So it just, it really doesn't ever end. And so I think the the problem is the reaction to it is if we want to get into what the actual problem is in, in my case, the problem around my anxiety isn't even that I have anxiety. I can be anxious and I can be ok. It's an emotion like any other. I'm, I'm ok when I'm happy, I can be ok when I'm anxious, the challenge comes in when I start to behave differently and I start to let it affect my decision making. I start to let it affect relationships. I start to let it affect my output and outcome and create self fulfilling prophecies of not achieving what I want to do because I'm anxious that I might not achieve what I set out to do for me. That's the core of the problem.

Wil Schroter: Have you ever not had the problem? Have you ever achieved enough that for a moment, that not the problem because we keep assigning the problem as some externality but that the anxiety went away. Sure,

Ryan Rutan: sure. Fleeting moments, fleeting, fleeting moments. How fleeting are we talking about? I would say maximum window a couple of months, you know, and, and of course, there are times where it's, it's literally momentary, but I would say the maximum I ever achieved was it was a couple of months and there were probably in, in my, in my almost 44 years, there have probably been three periods where I can say I went 2 to 3 months where anxiety wasn't at the forefront. I'm not gonna say that it was completely gone like that. There were zero moments of anxiety within those 332 to 3 month periods, but they were largely free of anxiety and they, they came, one of them came around, you know, a a really big moment in time, which was the, the sale of the first company and I was writing checks out to friends and everybody was graduating university and, and times were good, lots of exciting prospects and it sort of felt like the the world was, was the oyster and the only anxiety was around like what to go and do next, right? But it was, it felt like the right kind of problem to have the other was was uh just a very personal milestone and it was when I, I, I met my wife and it just, it felt like there was just this weight lifted from my shoulders. I had found this person that I, you know, in a very short period of time, understood I wanted to spend my life with and my anxiety around just about everything went away. Uh because I was just so focused on her and what I wanted to accomplish with her and what I wanted that relationship to be. But without the anxieties of the actual relationship, right? It was that early phase where there wasn't, nothing could go wrong, right? It was the honeymoon period. Uh And, and that was one and then I think again, um another very personal milestone and this one was interesting because it, it was a culmination of things. It was a return to the United States which actually drove a little anxiety in the beginning from Europe. Uh Moving back was sort of a love hate decision, but that coincided with having our first child and starting startups dot com. And so there were these things that, that all happened at the same time that gave me such overwhelming optimism, joy and just like excitement somewhere to pour every bit of energy I had that I didn't have time to be anxious, right? I was so distracted by, by lots of other things that there just there wasn't anxiety. It all came right back, right, particularly in that last case where it's like new country, new home growing family starting business. And so, yeah, then anxiety went uh probably to near its peak, which is interesting. I hadn't, hadn't really thought about that, but like we've talked about this in another podcast and we have photo evidence that will show exactly what bad condition we were in. I showed a picture of myself to my, my four year old last weekend and we were just going through Google photos. He refused to believe it's me. He kept going to my wife and saying, mommy daddy says this is daddy, mommy daddy says this is, he literally wouldn't believe it was me even after she said he was just like you guys are just pulling my leg. That's bad news, right? Yeah, that's how stressed and, and, and anxious. I was at that point.

Wil Schroter: So we weren't that old. That's the crazy thing we weren't

Ryan Rutan: sure looked at, we

Wil Schroter: earned it. We were urging at an exponential pace. So here's what's interesting to me about all this. You and I are both at a point in our lives right now where we actually understand what's happening here. We understand that no matter what problem, no matter what thing we keep attaching our anxiety to that even if we solve it. Well, it sounds great. It doesn't really matter. It's just gonna grow. Another version. A good example of that is the folks that I've met, let's talk founders for a second who have cashed out and made a ton of money. None of them are any different if anything worse actually, because it actually made things, some certain things worse. None of them are any different than they were before they cashed out. Now. Of course, they feel more safe but that safety just been swapped with a whole bunch of new problems, which is everything from my family coming out of the woodwork to take my money to losing it all to having new problems that only exist because I have a lot of money now to having no purpose in life because I don't have a business anymore. I've seen so many founders and nobody believes this when I say this, but you just have to meet enough founders to, to see it for yourself. Many of these founders are in far worse shape than they were before they sold their company. Because once again, we keep thinking that if I just do this whole thing and I have this big outcome, all of my problems will go away. Maybe some of your problems will go away, maybe that will actually happen. But your anxieties will not because we keep attaching that they're the two same things. So the question would be the question be, how do we slay these demons? How do we actually get in front of this? What do we do about this anxiety? You and I have been dealing with this stuff for a long time. We by no means great at it. We're by no means psychologist. So we are very unqualified at a medical level to address this. But at a personal level talk, we're talking to nothing but founders in this show and we've been dealing with as a founder for as long as most of us could be dealing with it. Let's talk a little bit about what we do about it because even though I can't make it go away, and that's probably a whole line of therapy that requires that I do have tools to manage it that I've kind of learned over a very difficult period of time, but are actually starting to work for me, Ryan. Do you have anything like anything that you're using that's helping you get over it a

Ryan Rutan: 100%? Yeah. So one of the things was just to change my relationship with why I was taking action, right? So instead of saying I feel anxious about this thing, I'm gonna go solve this problem so that I'll feel less anxious at over time, we realize it doesn't actually happen, right? The there there will be a different anxiety that will come there. So one of the things I did was simply just to change that frame of reference and say I'm gonna solve this problem because it's a valuable problem and I'm gonna take satisfaction in solving the problem. I'm not going to solve it because I believe it's going to take away my anxiety. And it, it sounds simple. It is a very simple concept. It was hard to do, it was hard to kind of reframe and say like I'm not gonna do this because I want this feeling to go away. I'm instead going to do this because I want to accomplish this thing. I want to get this thing done that certainly helped me over time to be able to park anxiety where it belongs, which is sort of in the periphery as an emotion, as a feeling, but not as a driver of my activity. I was no longer motivating myself with anxiety, right? I was motivating myself by it. And what was interesting was I started to Reprioritize things because I realized, right? And I realized that there were times where I was prioritizing something because I had falsely associated the anxiety I was feeling with that thing. So I would accomplish that first only to find out that not only did it not fix my anxiety that it made it worse in some cases because now I hadn't solved a more pressing problem, right? Like let's say I tackled a product level issue because I thought that was what was bothering me. Um instead of dealing with an obvious and looming hr problem, right? And so I dealt, I should have prioritized that ahead of the product problem. And I didn't because I felt like that was what was giving me my anxiety. And so it led to bad decision making. The other thing I wanna point out is that as you start to do that, and as you start to have this healthier relationship with not associating the elimination of anxiety with what we do and that we shouldn't motivate ourselves by getting rid of anxiety. If we don't do that, something really bad happens. And that's that we get compounding anxiety, right? Because I'm sure you felt this too well when you work really hard to accomplish something in the hopes of getting rid of anxiety and the anxiety doesn't go away. Does that make you less anxious?

Wil Schroter: Well, I don't know about you, but I've got a rationality to it and I gotta tell you, I've got an actual like program that I run through because I'm such a nerd and I gotta put everything into a process and here's what it looks like and it's actually fairly effective and it, it gets me going back to sleep, which is really kind of when this, you know, erupts for me the most. It's two AM, three AM, whatever it is. The first thing I say to myself as I'm half awake and I'm sweat, I'm cold, sweating over what I'm going to say is the dumbest problem. But every problem is dumb at the time, right? Everyone is done when you look back at it. But at the time, it feels like the way that the world is on your shoulders. Right. For example, the first thing I say to myself and I try to remind myself, I don't have to feel this way. I don't have to feel anxious. I can ignore this. I can actually just not think about it right now right this minute and try to think about something else that's actually been one of the most powerful things for me because I think I feel so compelled that because I feel this way that I have to confront it right this minute. And so I, I've been learning to say, you know what, I'm just gonna punt this. There's probably a time to process it. I'm just not gonna process it right now. And that's been so effective for me because the reality is I, I don't end up processing it later because many problems either solve themselves or I just don't have that problem later on if that doesn't work. The next thing I come to is I ask myself and I'm so cynical with myself. Have I ever fixed a problem that stopped me having more problems? In other words, it's kind of like just the futility of it. Right. In other words, I know I've been in bed at two or three AM for like 30 plus years and I've been doing this and my problems have changed over 30 plus years. Have I ever had a moment where I just said? Oh, that's the answer? And I no longer wake up at, at two or three in the morning anymore. No. So I kind of just put it in the box of futility saying it doesn't matter what I do right now, I'm just gonna wind up in the same place with a different problem tomorrow. Right. And if that doesn't work I just ask, have ever fixed a problem at three AM and I have never in my history actually fixed the problem at three AM. I've attempted, I've had more than a few attempts where I jump out of bed. I run downstairs, I'll send you guys a message, a slack message or something like that. I don't do it as much as I used to and you guys can appreciate that. But I used to get just totally hung up that whatever the problem was was the most important problem that needed to be solved at that hour at that moment. It, and even this, if this came up in the middle of the day, same, hold on

Ryan Rutan: that for a second because this has implications well, beyond our own anxieties founder. Right. This is a great way to start a brushfire of anxiety through your entire organization because right, when the founder, your partner, you know, whoever your co-leader in a department fires off. Something that seems anxious at three o'clock in the morning, there's sort of no way to look at that and go, I wonder if that's important. Right. It may not be right to your point. Right. It probably wasn't the right time to solve it, but it certainly implies that it is and it's certainly going to wind up other people. It's gonna make them anxious and now we've got an entire group of anxious people trying to solve a problem when, when they shouldn't be. So something else you said, made me smile. Which was that, you know, I, I do, I need to deal with this right now. Do I actually need to fix this? You know, this is, this is something that occurs in conversations with my wife on a regular basis and uh you know, she has an insane amount of patience with me. She'll come to me with a problem, right? A AAA question, something that she's concerned about and my immediate response is that I have to fix it. I have to fix it. I have to fix it. She's told me 100 times. She's probably told me 1000 times. I wasn't asking you to fix the problem. Right? I, I was just sharing it with you, Eric. I just, I just, I was processing it myself. I just needed you to hear it. You didn't actually need to take any action on it. In fact, it would be a lot better if you would stop trying to take action on it. And yet, you know, maybe it's a founder mentality thing, maybe, maybe it's a me thing. I don't know, but it's really hard not to do that. And so that's one of, one of the things that I'm trying to do just chill the fuck out a little bit and just realize that like, yeah, there's a problem and it probably doesn't have to be put out right now. Right. It's not a fire. I don't have to stomp it out. It'll be there tomorrow. And so a lot of the anxiety I think is driven by the sense of urgency and that sense of urgency is driven entirely by me. I made it up, right? It's not an IRS deadline and nobody called and said, you're gonna go to jail if you don't do this. It was me and, and so I can completely control

Wil Schroter: that. But a lot of our anxiety comes from things that never come to pass, right? If we're saying,

Ryan Rutan: hey, most of them,

Wil Schroter: most of it. So if we're saying, hey, I have anxiety because I need to get this done tomorrow. That's one thing if I have anxiety because I have a feeling the business might fail. That's this amorphous bullshit problem that yes, it could happen. But me spending time three in the morning trying to solve that problem is such a waste of time. We talked this in one of our uh recent episodes, we said it's actually worse because that's sleep that I need to go do the things that will actually prevent that problem. So it's even worse. And I think from our standpoint, the way that we slay this demon, we slay these, what we call paper demons in the other episode. The way we slay these demons isn't by trying to address that problem. It's trying to understand where our anxieties are rooted from where they come from at its core. Often they come from childhood, they come from different traumatic experiences we've had and call it that when I'm feeling unsafe, this has nothing to do with the moment at hand because the moment at hand will change 50 different ways. It will always present itself in a different way that will challenge my safety. My issue is my issue around safety. And if I'm ever going to get to that magic place, that stock photo moment that I wanna have that tells me that I'm gonna be ok. I have to solve the anxiety, not the problem. So in addition to all the stuff related to founder groups, you've also got full access to everything on startups dot com. That includes all of our education tracks which will be funding customer acquisition, even how to manage your monthly finances. They're so much stuff in there. All of our software including biz plan for putting together detailed business plans and financials launch rock for attracting early customers and of course fund for attracting investment capital. When you log into the startups dot com site, you'll find all of these resources available

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