Over the past few months I’ve stressed myself out. I’m approaching my 40th birthday and feeling a bit stressed about my perspective on my own success. I went on a vacation. I started with a solo hike for a few days in North Georgia, then took a flight to Puerto Rico and laid in a hammock on the beach for 5 days, reading and writing. I could have gone anywhere, I could have stayed longer. I cleared my thoughts and came back to work with a clearer view.
Allan and I have travel to industry events over the years, occasionally someone will say “I want the level of success you guys have,” or they allude to us being in a level of success they desire.
Looking back to late 2006, our current level of success is what we aspired to when we started this company. We are very successful and I’ve lost sight of that. We have decent growth, payroll is covered for many many months, we earn good salaries. So what the hell am I down about? How did my perspective get out of whack?
In reality if we were in any other industry I’d be thrilled how our business is doing. But our industry doesn’t live in reality, we live in this make believe, Hollywood-type industry of hype passed off as real. “Media outlets,” book publishers, conferences, and VCs have warped the idea of what a “real business” is. They’ve promoted “acquisitions” like they’re big pay-offs when no money was made. (Read that again, people “selling” their company for no money, just a job.) They promote landing a round of funding like that’s the pinnacle of success, they shout the praises of companies that spend $3 to make every $1. The truth is the companies they write about are here today and vanish in 24 months.
I’m back in reality. I’m going to enjoy my business, even if it doesn’t measure up to their standard of success. I’m going to enjoy my life even if I’m not jetsetting around and taking “big” meetings. I’m going to enjoy my calm, simple, happy life.
I actually wrote this article a few weeks ago. It seemed fitting to release this post now, since DHH wrote about a similar topic.
If you wanted it to build a product you’d find a way to get time to work on it. If you really wanted to start that new hobby you’d sacrifice something to find the time and money to do it.
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