Here Is Why You Should Take a More Relaxed Approach to Your Startup
Startup culture is notorious for 80-hour workweeks and broken families. Work/life balance is a joke seldom told in those circles. And excess is always the word of the day. The idea is that if you are not sacrificing everything for the business, then you are not really trying.
However, this brand of extreme commitment comes with dire consequences. Such people don’t seem so much driven by success as terrified of failure. They are running for their lives from their worst fears. And they will happily run over anyone who gets in their way.
Sadly for them, this strategy of going for broke and sacrificing everything fails just as often as any other method. In fact, it often fails more spectacularly. Even when these ventures are successful, that success still comes at a high price. Here are a few reasons why a more relaxed approach to your startup makes a lot more sense:
Mental and Emotional Strain
You can’t place that much mental and emotional strain on yourself without consequences. First, there is the physical strain on your body when working at a high level for 12 hour days, every day of the week. Some entrepreneurs work even harder than that. You may not be lifting bricks for a living. But it still takes a physical toll on the body.
Just to stay awake for all those hours, it starts with coffee, then stronger coffee, then energy drinks, until it comes to something from a street pharmacist who carries his inventory in a trench coat. But of course, staying awake is not enough. One also has to stay sharp and alert. Most addictive habits are built on less incentive than this.
In addition to the normal stresses of creating and managing a successful business, women have the added struggle of breaking through glass ceilings and dealing with misogynistic treatment their male counterparts never have to face. Add pregnancy and child-rearing to the mix, and it is easy to see how things can spiral out of control. California rehab for women deals with the fallout of startup culture.
Your startup does not have to conquer the world overnight. It is okay to slow down and be more deliberate. Your future self will thank you.
Driving Away Talent
Some of the worst startup traps involve poor decisions related to talent acquisition and retention. The internet is loaded with examples of tyrannical bosses.
It doesn’t help to hear stories about how people like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs treated the people who worked for them. Jeff Bezos seems to also be cut from that mold. But these are exceptional people who didn’t have to treat people poorly in order to get to the top. Many new entrepreneurs believe it is their duty to behave the same way. This poor treatment of talent does not reproduce the best of these leaders, but the worst.
What you have to remember is that your personal decision to drive yourself to the edge should not be the expectation of the people who come to work for you. When an entrepreneur throws her own life out of balance, she expects others to follow her. That does not lead to a healthy workforce. When you take a healthier approach to work, your employees will have the freedom to do the same.
Relationships are fragile. But the people in our lives are what is most important. Trading relationships for a moment of success is almost always a bad trade. There are good reasons why so many entrepreneurs get divorced.
There are also friendships and business partnerships, as well as children and extended family. You will never get a second chance to see your baby’s first steps, or hear her first words, or see the twins dance in their first ballet.
If the price of your mental health, a happy workforce, and close relationships are too high a price for you, now is a good time to slow it down and consider the longer, but more relaxed road to success. It is a lot less lonely at the top when you get there that way.