Entrepreneurs · Startups

Experiences with founder burnout?

vinod kumar QA Engineer and Team Lead at Code Brew Labs

December 5th, 2016

Burnout feels incredibly illogical, because you can't do what you tell yourself you want to do. You can have a conversation with someone and get right fired up about an idea in-the-moment, but when you try to execute, a blanket of fog comes over your brain and you sit there like a deer in headlights. You can hardly perform at the level of a 10-year-old, no matter how much you tell myself that you want to continue. You try to explain this state to someone else and you get a blank stare; how could you be so "disabled" when you still look reasonably healthy and vivid in conversation? It's tough for them to see this as anything other than a conscious choice, on your part, to quit. But, you know that you keep getting up and trying to hack away at things -- and you keep hitting the same wall. Thankfully, my partners and investor are being very understanding, and they are the ones with the most to lose.

Has anyone here burnt out before, or seen it happen?

Sridhar Rajagopal

December 5th, 2016

Wow, that is quite an irresponsible reply, Steve! 

"Real" entrepreneurship is a mix of fun and all the baggage and hard work that comes with operating long hours in lots of uncertainty. Of course everybody knows the phrase "An entrepreneur is one who works 80 hours a week to avoid 40 hour work weeks"

And "real" NFL players face injury and depression and loss of motivation and loss of performance all the time. If you think playing professional football is having fun all the time, that is just not right, and it also sends a dangerous message that "real" athletes and "real" entrepreneurs do not suffer setbacks - it is just way too much fun all the time! 

One thing that is important in entrepreneurship (and everything else) is maintaining the work/life balance. Get some R&R to help you with your fog. Identify your strengths and weaknesses - focus on your strengths, and try to find suitable counterparts to balance your weaknesses. Find an accountability partner, and keep plugging away at your to-do items one item at a time. Focus on your task at hand. Remember, it is a marathon and not a sprint. 

When your to-do items get struck off one-by-one, and your R&R also starts to kick in, you will get your mojo back. 

Good luck!
Sridhar


Charlie Calabrese VP at Performance Horizon Group

December 5th, 2016

I saw a C team member burn out. He was overwhelmed by the work and asked to do things he had no experience doing. Between the work and some life events, it led to a breakdown and we ultimately lost him. It left the organization in a bad spot and some long term friendships were lost.
I recommend checking in with people on your startup teams regularly. Not just asking about work but about life in general.
In the end we are all only human, the stress of startup life can be both invigorating and overwhelming. Not everyone can walk that line. Keep an eye on your partners and remember we all need to life each other up from time to time.

Victoria Amador Co-Founder & CEO at Boston's Best Commercial Cleaning, Tremendous Maid & Discover Vedas

December 8th, 2016

I have gone thru a 'burnout' and some of my entrepreneur friends also go thru their own burnout periods. I stopped taking care of myself to build the business, i stopped exercising and meditating etc which led to many issues, 6 years later I paid the price and now I am back to taking care of myself again --it comes with a guilty feeling b/c i am now taking time to exercise, to spend time with my son, etc and that takes time away from the biz so for a while I felt quite guilty until I finally realized that if I donttake the time to be happy and have balance, i wont be around to move my company forward.

Burnout is probably a way for your mind to tell you to reconsider / to think about your priorities, something must be out of balance and your mind /body may be telling you to take time to think things thru...dont feel guilty for having to stop for a moment to evaluate your future.

I know exactly what you are going thru --feel free to connect with me and we can chat. I actually ended up doing some therapy too b/c i thought i was just being lazy for taking time away from the biz...your mind can play many games and sometimes we need another person/s to help us figure things out, to ask questions or make observations so we can think deeper and figure out what is it that we really want out of life....sometimes you just have sooooo much to do and not enough time in the day, not enough capital to hire the right people, no enough resources in general so it can get complicated to deal /and sort things out in your mind all by yourself. ;) Best of luck to you!

Eliahu Gal-or presso Lightwave International Wellness Research & Enterprises

December 5th, 2016

Shalom and Jerusalem's blessings Vinod, I don't have a single minute available right now, but will gladly engage in this discussion a bit later; it is for me a subject of extreme interest, as I also run an organization to prevent suicide and divorce caused by insolvency. See the AMEN link under my signature.

Angela Hartman Communications, Event Producer, Online, Business Development

December 14th, 2016

The past 4 months were a lesson learned. All of my projects fit perfectly on the calendar for the past year....except one thing was missing: rejuvenation and rest time. And I find people need different amounts of unplugging to feel like themselves again. The key is to catch it before it happens. I fortunately learned my lesson and was able to share with my team. I put boundaries in place. It's a new muscle and takes some time to learn what you can handle. It's really learning about your limits. It's about catching yourself before enthusiasm takes hold and we go on automatic pilot and sign-up for something we just can't handle at the moment. And I find this changes at different times in life as well depending on what else is going on. On a side note, I recently went through Todd Herman's 90 Day Year program. It was really helpful when implemented to help avoid burnout and know where your energy is best focused. It's looking at company data, checking in with yourself, seeing what you accomplish....It's a feedback mechanism.

Craig Gibbons Passionate about mastery and inspired by growth.

December 15th, 2016

You may have some depression lurking under the surface and the burnout might have been a catalyst or vise versa. I'd recommend talking to a therapist to have them help you work through what you're feeling and find the source of your problem. Once you get a hold on those reins, it will be easier to focus on what gave you drive initially, and what allowed you to work at a higher level of performance.