I re-read an article back from 2013 “7 Guidelines for Startups in the Crunch” from LinkedIn. The article is about entrepreneurs and startups on a “foggy island” where revenue is trickling in, and they’re at a precipice of either folding, pivoting, or otherwise.
The first tenet of the article was “Be an athlete, not a robot”. That is, it’s easy to continue working day in, day out, hour after hour, like a robot, but that’s not necessarily conducive for successive. Athletes, on the other hand, know that to operate at peak performance, they must take time to exercise, eat well, rest, and recover.
This guideline comes coincidentally after speaking to a friend about the importance of taking time to rest and step back to assess directions. My friend has been burying herself in her craft for years, and only until recently has found time to step away, look around, and gain clarity on her direction. It’s been refreshing and eye-opening.
Reminding me of my own experiences (and perhaps recently), I focused so much on trying to get keep my startup alive that I just buried myself in my computer, trying to sell, and the like. I was so focused on today and tomorrow that I didn’t step out to assess if what I was doing was the right direction.
This happened when we built an awesome feature that no one got to use at Body Boss. We spent so many hours grinding to build out a new feature and trying to sell it that we burnt ourselves out. We didn’t step back and assess if our approach was correct. We were exhausted and dejected.
When we’re so focused on the things right in front of us, we don’t see what’s really happening at the grander scale. We’re grounded in our purpose and our why – good. We’re doing what we want and what we believe to be right. However, we get lost when we focus too much on what’s in front of us without stepping away to take care of ourselves (to prevent burn out), and gain clarity on our direction.
Stepping away allows us to assess the WHAT and the HOW of what we’re doing. Can our process be tweaked to achieve desired results faster (or realized our direction is incorrect faster)?
Even for a startup in the crunch, it’s important to take time away, assess our state of the business (and ourselves), and gain clarity on what we’re doing. It could be save your business, and prevent you from burning out.