Lesson Learned

Historically, I’ve put an enormous amount of pressure on myself to constantly improve Sifter. Add a constant flow of customer requests on top of that, and there’s never been a shortage of feelings that Sifter’s not good enough. Until recently, my solution was to work more and make those improvements. I’ve rarely worked more than sixty hours a week, usually more like forty, but the catch is that my mind is constantly on Sifter even when I’m not working. The gears are always turning. The feelings of inadequacy and thus the pressure to improve never stop.

For the last 5 weeks, though, no matter how badly I’ve wanted to work, I simply haven’t been physically capable of much more than reading and writing emails. Fortunately, I was able to accept that in order to focus on recovering. What caught me off guard was the fact that in the last 6 months, Sifter’s strongest period of sustained growth was during this 5 week period where I wasn’t working.

Sifter survived. Thrived even. It doesn’t need me to constantly obsess over it in order to succeed. Of course I need to improve Sifter, but I’m already doing that. When I’m not doing it, I don’t need to be worrying about it.

Balancing hours between work and personal has never been a significant problem for me. I’ve managed to keep that under control. But being truly present during the time I spent with friends and family was a problem. I worried way too much about Sifter, and it distracted me. Now, I finally have evidence that my worrying was unnecessary. I always knew that was the case, but I didn’t buy into it until now. Thankfully, my ankle problems have added some much needed perspective.

I generally don’t like to share these kind of insights because, in my experience, it’s something you can’t tell people. They have to figure out for themselves. For some reason, this time I’m hopeful that my story can short-circuit the learning process for someone else out there. Trust me, life goes on, and your fledging business can survive even if you’re not “hustling” full-time.