Keeping Perspective When Things Get Weird

Steve LudwigLife StuffLeave a Comment

A lens ball showing perspective

The Right Five is here to help you get your B2B tech start-up’s first sales hire right the first time. We’ve been you. And, right now, we are you too. We are a startup. As founders we are doing this work because we want to, we have a passion for it, and we know that we can make life better for our clients. And, hopefully, we will make decent money doing it. 

It’s a good place to be. 

We also know that a startup has all sorts of headaches. Staffing, funding, clients, technology, taxes, regulations, and lots of other paperwork. The ups and downs we go through can cause anxiety, depression, and anger. It’s not the stuff we usually talk about in business. Especially in the tech world. 

We would rather say, “Hey, we are great. Our product is great. Our clients are awesome. It’s all kittens and rainbows. We are kings of our own domain.” Still, we are only human. We have ups and downs, even if we like to pretend we don’t. 

The stresses of the startup world can lead to sleepless nights, overeating, excessive drinking, and other unhelpful coping mechanisms. We can lose focus and take out our work frustrations on those around us—the people we love the most. More than one startup has pushed a decent relationship to divorce court and created a string of stories for our kids to use in therapy for years. 

That’s why we all need reminding once in a while to put things into perspective. Mark did that for me this past week. He died at 53. Cancer. Leaves behind a wife of 27 years and two kids.  

Mark was 15 and I was 17 when we met in high school. He was tall and lanky and we were both into theater. We hit it off immediately and have been friends ever since. 

We were different people and led very different lives, but every time we reconnected it was like there was no time between us. 

We were both business guys and liked business. It is how we spent the majority of our waking hours, and it was how we were able to have the lives that we had. We both had our strengths, our ups and downs. It was one of our things. 

It is as true as it is trite, on their deathbed, no one wishes they spent more time at the office. During my two-hour visit with Mark in hospice we got to remember why we were lifelong friends that truly loved each other. We talked, laughed, and reminisced— business never came up.  

He passed 12 days later. 

The world is a better place because Mark was in it, my life certainly is better because he was my friend. 

This blog post isn’t saying that business and work aren’t important. They are. Very important. Our startup can give us reason and purpose. The ride can be really fun and exhilarating, more than making up for the bad days. 

But, I, as much as anyone, need a gentle reminder on a regular basis that work is a part of life, not life itself. And, as much fun as I’m having with The Right Five to help you with your startup, these probably won’t be the stories I’ll tell with my friends when it is my time. 

Remembering that will help me keep perspective when things get weird at work.

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