I've been meaning to write about the roller coaster for a very long time. Obviously not the attraction at some amusement parks. The roller coaster is a metaphor used by some entrepreneurs to describe their journey of business creation.
As you might guess, it represents the emotional fluctuations you are subjected to when trying to make a business succeed. A very steep slope to climb, a short time at the top, then a fast swoop, shorter (in time) than it took you to reach the previous peak. Repeat this sequence several times and it'll give you an idea of what entrepreneurship is, emotion-wise.
It's tough. But, moments spent at the top make the whole ride worth it. There, you feel like you can rule everything. You feel like you belong.
In time, you will learn to reduce the amplitude of the curves and to mitigate the impacts and consequences implied by the succession of ups and downs. But, the ride itself remains.
Let's see what we can do to make it less exhausting and, in the end, more enjoyable.
Admit you're riding it
Relax and observe. Do you recognise the patterns I detailed in the first part of this post? Maybe you'll have to ask the people living with you. Do they sometimes think you are irrational regarding expectation of outcomes? Do they regularly tell you that you need to be more positive?
If yes, you might be on a roller coaster ride. Acknowledging it is the first step towards making it smoother.
You are not alone. Most of us are on board.
Optimise the way you work
What I'm going to talk about now is true for all humans. Entrepreneurs or not. Although, when you are on the roller coaster, the effects are multiplied ten times, which makes it even more important to accept and respect it.
We are not regulars in the way we work.
There are days when we outperform, and some days when we don't. Sometimes, everything seems to get magically aligned all by itself. And sometimes, you want to give up.
Accept this "simple" fact.
Now for the good news, we can take advantage of it by planning our working time accordingly. When on a roll, leverage the context by scheduling important activities. Do the things that require the most positive energy.
For instance, this could be to pitch investors or customers. People are affected by our enthusiasm.
On the contrary, if every little task seems gruelling, it would raise a red flag in your head. That might be the time to chill out and take some distance from your big objective. I'm not implying that you should totally stop working. I don't. But, you can afford yourself that extra hour of sleep and take more time for yourself. Reduce your work day. You can focus on being productive in the morning and dedicate the afternoon to thinking, planning, and other activities.
Remember, your mind needs some time when you are unfocused from your main goal to regenerate creativity and find solutions to difficult problems. If you still want to stay "active", plan time to help others.
I'm usually not a fan of ending posts with quotes, but this is the perfect opportunity to share my favorite with you. I tell it to myself when the entrepreneurship journey becomes too bumpy:
"The journey is the reward" --Steve Jobs