We often think about this concept of our startup "making it" through a sale or some other outcome and then we get to be truly happy.
But that's not how it works.
Our "success" actually comes gradually, day by day, at a glacial pace so that we never actually notice it. Until one day, we wake up, and things don't suck anymore.
So we can't think of our startups driving happiness as being a definitive moment in time. We have to think about it as little pieces and parts that gradually — but noticeably — get better.
If we think really hard, we can probably remember a time when we actually got to use the word "No" to things.
You know, like working all weekend, draining our bank account to keep the company afloat, or simply working with clients we can't stand.
That all changes when our startup stops running us through a wall. When we can finally say "no" to all of these frustrations and know that our entire lives won't be on the line, things being to seriously change.
At first, having all of our thoughts consumed by our startup was exciting and energizing.
Then somewhere along the way, it began to consume us entirely. It went from helping us jump out of bed in the morning to keeping us up all night.
We start getting happy again when we embrace and focus on the rest of life once more. When we can go to our kid's soccer game and just focus on how adorable they look. When we can leave our laptop and phone off for 24 hours and not go into anaphylactic shock. When, at some point, there’s an “airplane mode” to the damn thing.
There's so much to be said for enjoying our craft and being proud of our work. But it's something else when it's all we have. When our lives get so disproportionately focused on just our startups that the rest of the world fades away.
It's often hard to be happy when all of our identity is wrapped up in any one thing. At which point we can begin looking past our startup and focusing on the rest of our lives in a meaningful way (like we used to), the happiness begins.
What's interesting about all of these? They are all 100% in our control — today.
Fat, Sick, and Nearly Startup (podcast). Join Wil and Ryan as they break down the ways Founders can learn to deal with personal hardships that are often a result of our own Startups — while we're still running them.
Optimizing for Happiness.We do something in our planning at Startups.com that is relatively unheard of in the startup business: we optimize for happiness. Here’s how we do it.
How I Harness My Insane Startup Anxiety. There are two types of Founders: those that admit they are wracked with anxiety, and those that are lying about it. We’re all going to deal with it for the rest of our lives — so why not use it as a superpower, instead of reacting like it’s kryptonite?
Wil Schroter is the Founder + CEO @ Startups.com, a startup platform that includes Bizplan, Clarity, Fundable, Launchrock, and Zirtual. He started his first company at age 19 which grew to over $700 million in billings within 5 years (despite his involvement). After that he launched 8 more companies, the last 3 venture backed, to refine his learning of what not to do. He's a seasoned expert at starting companies and a total amateur at everything else.
Every entrepreneurs struggles. Yes, even Elon Musk. Heading both Tesla and SpaceX was never the original plan, and unsustainable at that. But, by building a stronger team and selectively adding talent and expertise through levels at both companies, Musk was able to maximize his productivity and have some semblance of work/life balance.