December 9, 2011
Startups are a battle between the business and your own psychology. It’s mental warfare. The highs, lows, and generally unstable ground you stand on as an entrepreneur can be absolutely punishing. Even the most strong minded individual can have a hard time with doing their own startup. Things never go like they do in the movies. They take longer, you have doubts, your mind starts to wander to places it shouldn’t.
The best thing I’ve found to combat the mental and motivational drain your startup can impose is to get out and spend time doing things that aren’t directly involved with your company. It’s easy to spend all waking hours with your baby, but stepping away can give you some well deserved rest and also some third person perspective.
Where to take a break
Here are a few of the things I do that I find the most rejuvenation from:
- Skillshare classes
I love hearing stories about other people’s successes (and failures). There is nothing better than hearing from someone what they did to reach success in some aspect of life and what they would do different if they could go back. I tend to attend startup-oriented classes and I always come away with actionable points that get me motivated to try something new with my company, blog, etc.
- Non Startup Tech Events
I’ve been pretty involved in the UX community here in NYC for the past 4 years. The crowd their events attract aren’t in the middle of the startup world, but they are definitely tech focused. It’s refreshing to see what other people are up to and see there is a world of creative accomplishment outside of what’s become my pretty narrow focus.
I’ve been a toastmaster for 3 years now and I always love going to my club meetings. Every member gets a chance to speak in front of the audience of 40-50 people at every meeting for a couple of minutes. Doing that and doing it well is extremely empowering. If you can talk in front of a group like that, there isn’t any group you can’t speak in front of. And knowing that 90-some percent of people are utterly terrified of public speaking makes you feel proud that you can do it.
There are of course countless other things you can do, but for me, doing those three things prove to be really rejuvenating. They recharge my batteries after battling all day long with my company and motivate me to keep fighting the good fight. For me, some of the best rewards for my startup come from taking breaks from it to reflect and do something different.