Startups are hard; they require you to maximize efficiencies in many parts of your life, they spread you thin, they can easily become your definition of self success. Especially if you believe your future self will benefit from sacrifices now. I'm still learning to find the sweet spot of detachment, to be independently happy, yet still intimately concerned with my company. Here's what I've come to realize thus far.
Going All In
If you want your business to succeed, you can't half-ass it (unless you can—but you're not most). I speak in general terms here, but I think this concept applies to many things. From relationships to self improvement, learning to dealing with stress. If you want to succeed you have to put in the work.
"Quitting your job" to invest yourself in your business full-time is the start of an arduous journey. Foresight in this moment can make all the difference later on. You're about to start sliding down a slippery slope, and constraints you set for yourself at this time will help tie you to an anchor point.
Knowing what things are essential to you is important, don't neglect them.
You are Your Own Success
Detaching self actualization from external influences is of the utmost importance. I wish I had come to realize this much sooner than I did. It was far to easy to become lead around emotionally by the day to day happenings with my company. Spending all my time on work really only makes the situation worse, as I become more emotionally dependent on the success of something that is affected by so many factors.
I've found that the best way to achieve a feeling of success and accomplishment is to invest myself in projects which are immediately rewarding. Creating art, learning languages, instruments, and making/spending time with friends all come to mind.
These activities are not what I do for work; they are detached from the ups and downs of the company's success. This allows me to keep a level head and maintain a sense of control in my life.
I have been running more lately than I used to. The feeling of accomplishment when I complete a 10 mile run is so high compared to how little time it takes (~1.5 hours). Considering how much time I'm in front of the computer, it's also wise to stay fit, not to mention that running can grow you brain.
If you're overwhelmed and anxious about your startup, you're not going to make rational decisions about how to operate it. Keeping your true north requires you to keep a level head.
Try to step back little, do other things that make you happy and don't overwhelm yourself. Your mental, physical, and emotional stability is more important than anything. Just because you're not spending every waking second working on your company's problem doesn't mean the problem isn't being solved. You can only finish the job if you keep the tools sharp.The section about exerise was updated on September 17th, 2013.