If you were to ask an entrepreneur what word best described their life, you might get two answers. If you don’t know them well, you’ll get a long string of “great, awesome, amazing.” If you can push past the surface, I would wager the answer would be a hesitant look, a pause and then some version of the word “volatile.” Marc Andreessen wrote about this a few years ago:
“First and foremost, a start-up puts you on an emotional rollercoaster unlike anything you have ever experienced. You flip rapidly from day-to-day?—?one where you are euphorically convinced you are going to own the world, to a day in which doom seems only weeks away and you feel completely ruined, and back again. Over and over and over. And I’m talking about what happens to stable entrepreneurs. There is so much uncertainty and so much risk around practically everything you are doing. The level of stress that you’re under generally will magnify things incredible highs and unbelievable lows at whiplash speed and huge magnitude. Sound like fun?”
It is this volatility, or as Marc puts it the “whiplash”, that makes this lifestyle so difficult. There are days that in a blink of an eye I go from the metaphorical top of Mount Everest to the bottom of the Mariana Trench (and on the good days, back again).
This isn’t often talked about outside of our closest circles because we, as Founders, are supposed to be eternal optimists with the world at our feet. I know I personally hesitate to use anything past vague positive adjectives when asked how I am or how things are going. Afraid that the asker won’t understand, care or realize that regardless of what my answer is it changes faster than Colorado weather.
Unfortunately, this isn’t meant to be a “feel good/coping methods blog.” Those of you that know me realize that isn’t my personality. I don’t have the answers, as I am still a passenger on this ride myself. It is meant to be more of a PSA of sorts, an understanding and acknowledgement.
Let this be a validation for my fellow Founders. You aren’t alone in this crazy roller coaster. Just keep holding on because it’s a helluva ride.
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