The Hell Week Test
Last week was a tough week. Lots of unexpected things happened that we couldn’t really plan for. A lot of shuffling had to be done. It felt like chaos and by mid-week, I was dead-tired.
We experienced a few “setbacks”. I’m putting that in quotes because usually when people read setbacks, they think big. This isn’t that. It was just a lot of mini setbacks that happened one after another. I started to feel more stressed than excited, and confused rather than confident. I did not feel great.
Lesson 1: While it’s exciting and possibly one of the most positively life-changing experience you’ll ever have, starting a business is and never will be all sunshine and rainbows.
My default setting is to always just do everything that I can. And I did. There were some points where I started to doubt myself, not think about it and just lay on the couch, close my eyes and maybe it will just solve itself.
What I found out was this - when it’s your own startup, you can’t do that. At least not yet. So I kept reminding myself that things do not happen in a snap but WE ARE moving forward. I wasn’t really sure if I was encouraging myself or convincing myself. Whichever it was, I am glad I tried. For the first time in 6 months, I was yearning for the weekend so bad (like I was in a bad job).
Lesson 2: No matter how much heart is in your startup, at one point you’ll feel like you need a break. It’s normal.
Yet, I kept hustling and found myself checking off one task after another. I didn’t even pause to see the unicorns fly across my screen (if you’re using Asana, you’ll know what I mean). I addressed everything. Answered all the questions. Reviewed all the things.
Was I feeling great? I should be, yes? No. I wasn’t. I wasn’t in my ideal space. I was doing things because I needed to. I was doing things in a way that wasn’t how I wanted to do things. If you look at it objectively, you’d probably say, “Excellent job, Michee!”. Nope. I wasn’t feeling excellent at all.
When I did find a few minutes to pause and just try and re-center myself, I would let my mind wander and as chaotic as the week, so were the voices in my head.
Every single thought was like a bunch of people battling in my head. Encouragement, self-doubt, frustration, logic were all dancing around. They weren’t helping me. But I kept on.
Lesson 3: There’s a place and time to reflect. Being in the midst of chaos is not one of them. How chaotic you feel is how chaotic your mind will be.
As things start to die down, I finally found that space. I pulled myself out of the chaos and looked back and everything that I did. All those tasks, all those conversations and everything that transpired. Right now is the time to reflect. My mind was clearing up and I was able to see things in a different light.
I could hear myself saying, “Damn, you did all that, girl! Look. At. You. Go.” I still smile when I remember this.
Lesson 4: Acknowledge yourself.
It’s hard for me to acknowledge myself. It really is but this is very important. You have to see yourself first. You have to believe in yourself.
Looking back, I know that week was probably just a taste of what is yet to come. These “hell weeks” will come and go. I have no idea what new lessons those might bring but I’ll be ready to accept them.
The biggest lesson I learned - Your business will test you to your very core. It will build you up. As tempting as it is to not deal with it, DEAL WITH IT. These will be your turning points to success and growth.