Maintaining Perspective on the Entrepreneurial Roller Coaster

Written by Sean Murphy. Posted in skmurphy, Tools for Startups

We had a great Bootstrapper Breakfast® in Sunnyvale this morning. One of the comments from an entrepreneur who was doing his first venture and making good progress was that he hadn’t anticipated how much of an emotional roller coaster doing a startup was with “higher highs and lower lows” than his earlier jobs.

One technique you can use to maintain perspective is the “Morning Pages” approach concept from “The Artist’s Way at Work” Write three pages in longhand first thing in the morning every day. It can be stream of consciousness, a journal, a story, or even “I don’t know what to write” over and over. There are a number of good techniques in the book, but this is the best one to start with. If, like me, your handwriting skills have deteriorated to the point that writing out more than a 3×5 card is both painful and illegible you can use a typewriter or a computer, but do it in a way that it stands out from your regular work location. Write in a coffee shop or at the breakfast table or a place you can associate with this activity distinct from work. You can also do it in the afternoon or late in the day if that’s a “dead spot” but you have to do it in a way that it represents a clear break from work.

The breakfast also allow you to listen to other entrepreneurs describe your same issues, for some reason–at least for me–when I hear someone else describe a problem I am also having I am able to engage my analytic and creative problem solving skills in a way that they are not available during introspection.

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Comments (2)

  • BootstrappersBreakfast » Balance A Startup’s Extreme Ups and Downs With a Boring Family-Centered Life


    [...] The emotional roller coaster that is almost unavoidable when you are bootstrapping means you need to be connected to planet Earth, and that’s through friends and family who will keep you grounded. Larry Niven, in the short story Flash Crowd, observed that “For each human being there is an optimum ratio between change and stasis. Too little change, he grows bored. Too little stability, he panics and loses his ability to adapt. One who marries six times in ten years won’t change jobs. One who moves often to serve his company will maintain a stable marriage. A woman chained to one home and family may redecorate frantically or take a lover or go to many costume parties.” A startup injects enough chaos into your life on a regular, and irregular, basis that you need a strong support system to be able to survive it.For another approach see “Maintaining Your Perspective On the Entrepreneurial Roller Coaster.”  For two analyses at different times of the Hugh MacLeod “Random Thoughts” post see: [...]


  • SKMurphy, Inc. » Record to Remember, Pause to Reflect


    [...] in Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way at Work” I mentioned in “Maintaining Perspective on the Entrepreneurial Roller Coaster” One technique you can use to maintain perspective is the “Morning Pages” [...]


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