Inc. has a detailed profile on the ups and downs on being an entrepreneur. In the startup world, it was long taboo to show any sign of weakness or depression. Any thing other than “I’m crushing it!” was considered a failure. But starting your own company (or any creative work) is a roller coaster of emotion. Taking time off and maintaing some perspective is essential to remaining happy. One of the best ways to prevent the drastic downs is to not complete associate your personal worth with your work. From the story:

Caught in the global financial crisis, [Woeppel’s] customers were suddenly more concerned with survival than with boosting their output. Sales plummeted 75 percent. Woeppel laid off his half-dozen employees. Before long, he had exhausted his assets: cars, jewelry, anything that could go. His supply of confidence was dwindling, too. “As CEO, you have this self-image–you’re the master of the universe,” he says. “Then all of a sudden, you are not.”

Woeppel stopped leaving his house. Anxious and low on self-esteem, he started eating too much–and put on 50 pounds. Sometimes he sought temporary relief in an old addiction: playing the guitar. Locked in a room, he practiced solos by Stevie Ray Vaughan and Chet Atkins. “It was something I could do just for the love of doing it,” he recalls. “Then there was nothing but me, the guitar, and the peace.”

… 

Woeppel says he’s more resilient now, tempered by tough times. “I used to be like, ‘My work is me,’ ” he says. “Then you fail. And you find out that your kids still love you. Your wife still loves you. Your dog still loves you.”

Remember, it’s okay to take a break and it’s okay to not feel on top of the world at every moment. Entrepreneurship is a long journey. Pace yourself.

  • joyof

    THANX for the license to live.. it’s a vital lesson we have to remind ourselves is our obligation to self.

  • http://notebookandpenguin.com/ Chatman Richmond Jr.

    Summation: the surest way to kill your business is to kill yourself trying to run it. Your work doesn’t survive without you, but you will survive without your work.

  • velvetanne

    I’ve gone through nearly the similar experience since the financial meltdown and agree totally. Never thought I’d be living like this at 56. I’m a changed person and would never go back. Tough living though but just have to press on. It is much easier to not look back. Good Luck to you.

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