As background, I've been a founder in nine startups, five of these as CEO, plus two other startups where I came in as Interim CEO when things got bad.
My experience - when you're running hard, working with Customers and your people, it is constantly exhilarating. Whether things are going great or things are going downhill, if you believe in what you’re doing and want to make it work, you are constantly stimulated. Whether good times or bad, you want to keep making things better, you want to keep making course corrections to improve growth, get to free cash flow, and grow free cash flow.
The doldrums normally came when slowing down to get some sleep or, heaven forbid, take a couple of days off. That’s when the negatives tended to dominate. Your mind is still going a mile a minute but you’re not acting to make things better, you don’t get that stimulation by doing and hence creating the little wins that bring so much fulfillment to you and the team.
The best things I found to minimize these down times were first of all to concentrate on building a great team of first rate individual contributors that also work together well. The second is to make sure that everyone is having fun, do some crazy things, have fun outside of work together. The third is to fight to retain balance in your life, including family and exercise. Finally, you need to come to the realization that it’s normal to feel down now and then when you’re not sure if you’re going to be able to pay everyone next week.
Hope you find that helpful!