When trying to optimize for success, although it is important to learn and research what “works” — I think it is equally important to read up on what didn’t work.
One thing that always grinds my gears is when people (especially in Startup land) talk about how many hours they are working.
Not anywhere on that list above is “Didn’t work enough hours in the week” a cited reason for why startups fail. Not one of those articles talk about how the Startup founder didn’t come into the office on a Sunday.
Here is what most people don’t realize: A 40 hour workweek is completely arbitrary. So is a 80 hour workweek, which earns you the martyrdom of a certified hustler and someone that is kicking ass. Neither should be looked down upon, and neither should be celebrated.
On the contrary, there are cited reasons such as “Market size was too small” —or— “Didn’t raise enough money” — or even “Hired too many people” that do indeed almost always leads to the failure of a startup.
So the next time you are counting hours, STOP. Remember that not a single one of the failed startups before us were working 20 hour work weeks when they made those poor decisions. They were all probably chasing the same numbers game. In fact, they probably made a lot of those poor decisions on their 70th hour of the week, when they were weary, tired, and wasn’t thinking clearly.
If you are constantly overwhelmed, then you’re trying to do everything. If you’re trying to do everything, then you probably can’t prioritize. If you can’t prioritize, then it probably means you don’t have a design. If you don’t have a design, then you probably don’t know what your goal is. If you don’t have a goal, then that means you don’t know what you want. The most important thing you can ever do is to stop, pause and reflect on what you want.
Figure out what you want, and the rest will follow.
The past couple of weeks have been rather personally brutal. After getting thrown a major curve ball a couple of Fridays ago, most of the time since has been spent in recovery and repair mode ensuring that my business can actually transact business going forward. Now that the situation has…