I’m the CEO of Digital Press, a thought leadership agency for other founders and C-suite executives.
To be perfectly honest with you, I’ve been working 7-days per week for as long as I can remember.
Even back in high school, when my peers would count down the minutes until the weekend so they could hang out at the mall or a movie, I would make lists in my notebooks of all the things I wanted to achieve in the World of Warcraft. I didn’t care about going to parties. I didn’t see Saturday and Sunday as “days to do nothing.” I saw them as opportunities to get ahead on all the things I cared about — and ultimately wanted to achieve.
After college, when I was working at a digital marketing agency, I treated my weekends exactly the same. While all of my peers posted pictures of themselves at Sunday brunch, ‘cheers’ing mimosas on Instagram, I was posted up at a coffee shop somewhere, headphones in, working on my first book. I didn’t see weekends as time to relax from the long work week. I saw weekends as my only time to make any real progress on the life I actually wanted for myself — which was to become a professional writer.
Of course, a lot of people disagreed with the way I spent my time.
In fact, I questioned even within myself.
There was a huge part of me in my early twenties, and even more so as a teenager, where I really struggled to be OK with ignoring the short-term rewards for the longer term payoff.
As much as I reference my experiences as a hardcore teenager gamer, and see how influential they were on my development as a human, the truth is, it took a toll on me. I spent many, many nights both obsessed with my goals and borderline depressed from spending so much time alone. And when I was fresh out of college, I remember so many nights declining invitations to do something social, forcing myself to sit at my desk and write instead. It was hard to see other people my age living a life that looked like so much fun — meanwhile continuing to invest in the idea of a future that had yet to materialize.
But eventually, it did.
Everything I said I wanted to happen, happened.
After 4 years of investing almost every single weekend into my aspirations to become a writer, I published my first book, Confessions of a Teenage Gamer.
The same day, I left my 9–5 job and went all-in on becoming a full-time writer. My first month, I doubled my previous salary. My second month, I doubled it again — ghostwriting for a handful of CEOs who wanted to position themselves as thought leaders in their industry. My third month, I doubled it again. And by the end of 2017, I decided the next logical step was to build a company.
Exactly 1 year later, Digital Press has 15+ employees and 30+ clients around the world — and we still have a long way to go.
When I look back on all of the experiences that got me to where I am today, my gut reaction is to drive home the point that you have to forgo short-term rewards in order to see the long term payoff.
And my rationale for that perspective is because that’s what I had to do in order to make it happen. I was living in a tiny studio apartment in Chicago, where my rent was 50% of my monthly paycheck. I didn’t have air conditioning. My heater was from the 1950s (and had an open flame). My kitchen was the size of a small closet, and the cabinet under the sink was broken — one of the doors wasn’t even on the hinge, it just sat on the floor and rested up against the other cabinet. For 3 of the 4 years, I slept on an air mattress because I couldn’t afford to buy a real bed. I couldn’t shop at Whole Foods because it was too expensive, so I had to shop at the shady grocery store down the street instead. And I wasn’t making enough to be able to take cabs around the city or eat out anywhere nice, so every Friday night I would ride the train home from work and treat myself to a bowl from Chipotle, before diving into my list of goals for the weekend.
Grinding every single weekend is what it took for me to become successful. And I was OK with that.
But now that I am the CEO of my own company, and I spend 95% of my time talking to CEOs of other companies, I don’t fully agree with my previous logic.
I think as a kid and a young adult, I was so starved for success, so hungry to make something of myself, that I felt guilty about ever spending time doing anything else. I saw my goals as deeply personal promises to myself that I couldn’t break, and even on the rare occasions when I would allow myself to go out for a night, I struggled to enjoy it. I felt bad for wasting that night out at a bar with friends, when I could have taken one more step toward the future I actually wanted for myself.
Today, it’s easier for me to see that I could have been a tad easier on myself.
I have more responsibility in my life right now than I’ve ever had in my entire life (arguably combined).
I have more projects on my plate than I’ve ever had before. I have more people to cater to, more people to hold accountable (and to be accountable to), more of every single variable — and I am giving myself more “down” time than ever in the past. Because I’ve learned that there is a tipping point. You have to be productive and driven up to a certain level, a certain daily or weekly or monthly benchmark. And then once you hit that, anything beyond starts to work against you. Instead of getting “more” done, you end up getting harder on yourself. Instead of being “more” productive, you become less productive — and more critical of whatever it is you’re doing. Instead of getting better, faster, stronger, you start to slow down, get sloppy, until finally burning out.
Being the CEO of a company, especially, isn’t about grinding until you fall asleep face-first on your keyboard. That’s what being a hardcore gamer is about — and you can do that because the stakes are a lot lower. You aren’t responsible for people’s livelihoods, their salaries. You aren’t responsible to clients who are paying you real money to do great work. You have the luxury of burning out.
As the CEO, your job is to stay sharp, well rested, emotionally stable, and self aware. The moment you stop being any of those things, you suffer, your team suffers, your work suffers, and your company suffers. Which means, the name of the game isn’t to do “more.” The game is to do more than enough, so that you are competitive and making terrific progress, but not so much that you’re running a sprint pace during a marathon.
How you spend your weekends are a great indicator.
I still work 7 days per week. I rarely go a day without spending at least a 2–3 hours doing something related to my company or my own writing. But I’m learning that, some days, some weeks, 2–3 hours is more than enough. And what’s more important is knowing where you’re at, emotionally, and giving yourself time to rest, reflect, and recharge.
I used to think being the CEO meant you worked harder than everyone else.
And in many circumstances, that’s true.
But being the CEO means working smart — and sometimes the smartest thing you can do is to not work at all.
Did you know…
… that today is Lawn Chair Flight Day? In 1982, Larry Wadsworth made the first airborne flight in a lawn chair (lifted by a dozen plus balloons). He got as high as 16,000 feet before he began shooting down a few balloons with his BB gun so he could descend. He landed safely. Kids, don’t try this at home!
Today’s Inspirational Quote:
“It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”
— Aristotle Onassis
Remember to turn the lights off when you leave a room!
Say good morning/afternoon/evening to a stranger
Fight climate change – go vegetarian for today!
Help a younger student with their work
The Humor Gap
Men and women may have different roles when it comes to comedy, but laughter is crucial from flirtation through long-term commitment
Whose rock is that? I think I know.
Its owner is quite happy though.
Full of joy like a vivid rainbow,
I watch him laugh. I cry hello.
He gives his rock a shake,
And laughs until her belly aches.
The only other sound’s the break,
Of distant waves and birds awake.
The rock is bright, funny and deep,
But he has promises to keep,
After cake and lots of sleep.
Sweet dreams come to him cheap.
He rises from his gentle bed,
With thoughts of kittens in his head,
He eats his jam with lots of bread.
Ready for the day ahead.
With thanks to the poet, Robert Frost, for the underlying structure.
Snail – A Haiku
A large, awesome snail slithers
by the scorpion
Morning Briefing Top news & stories of the startup ecosystem from India & around the world
12 Min Reading Time
After announcing the deal to buy Indian ecommerce company Flipkart, Global retail giant Walmart has been engaged in arranging the funds for the deal. The new reports have revealed that the US giant has set a target for June 7, 2019 to complete the process of arranging funds through bond sale for Flipkart.
In a statement, Ajay Bhushan Pandey, CEO, UIDAI said that in certain AUAs (Authentication User Agency), the authentication is always done in a controlled environment in the presence of their own regular staff while in case of some AUAs the authentication is performed in the presence of their agents who many a time cater to more than one AUA.
As per Ankit Tandon, COO, OYO Townhouse the idea stemmed from a lot of MICE (Meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) enquiries that OYO was getting for its operated properties. Launched in April this year, OYO Auto Party is currently available in eight cities including Delhi/NCR, Jaipur, Lucknow and Kolkata with 50 venues. The company is targeting 100 venues by December this year in the eight cities.
Keeping up with our consistent efforts to bridge the gap between the Indian startup ecosystem, policymakers, and industry stalwarts, here are the startup events that you should consider participating in this week. Mark your calendars…
Who will understand this market better than someone who’s been in the SaaS industry since its inception in India till today, when it’s a booming industry? The man in question is Sridhar Vembu, the founder and CEO of Zoho. As we caught up with the SaaS magician during Inc42 Facebook Live AMA, here are some things that he shared…
The now-defunct Anglo-American firm has gained notoriety for its harvesting of Facebook profiles and shady campaign tactics, but the storm of controversy has been building for decades. Before its younger sibling, Cambridge Analytica, worked for Donald Trump, SCL Group claimed to have built a portfolio of political work in three dozen countries, deploying its “behavioral change” tactics in sometimes shaky democracies.
“Good artists borrow great artists steal” is a phrase that Facebook seems acutely aware of. It’s common to speak of Instagram, the Facebook-owned photo-app-now-social-network, borrowing from Snapchat, but now Facebook’s WhatsApp chat app is increasingly drawing its innovation from others such as Telegram.
Connoisseurs of the Amazon media narrative knew exactly what to expect when the retailer announced its acquisition of online pharmacy PillPack for just under $1 billion: lots of headlines about disruption, combined with breathless reporting about the plunging share prices of Rite-Aid, Walgreens, and CVS. Everything Amazon touches, it seems, gets automatically imbued with industry-shaking potential.
Back To the Drawing BoardMeaning: Starting over again on a new design from a previously failed attempt. Starting over again, in a new city this time. Hope is not the Strategy. Doing is.
Know the RopesMeaning: Having a familiarity or understanding of how something works. This sure is a help, An insider friend’s insights as I do not know the market, the customer yet.
Dropping Like FliesMeaning: To fall down ill or to die in large numbers. Hmmm… don’t know how this will work.
Under Your NoseMeaning: Missing something that should be really obvious. I must be meticulous, scrupulous and a perfectionist this time around, taking care of all nitty gritty.
Quality TimeMeaning: Spending time with another to strengthen the relationship. Yesss.! Meeting my 2 closest friends of 33 years after a long time is sure a motivation for the upcoming trip tomorrow.
“May our head of devotion and friendship be placed at the threshold of the Lord-Friend,
Because whatever we are passing through is His Will, His Kindness and His Friendship.”
— Hafiz, 14th-Century Persian Poet & Mystic
Photo Courtesy : AMBPPCT
Teelo Teelo was thinking about Heart Break again. Heart was a cold-blooded juggler with pursed lips and Teelo Teelo had self cause hurt to his fingers.
Teelo walked over to the window and reflected on his Odorless surroundings. He had always loved The Dark Skies with its filthy, fried Universe, Full of Stars, Self Illuminated and those shining with reflected Glory. It was a place that encouraged his tendency to feel concerned.
Then he saw something in the distance, or rather someone. It was the a cold-blooded figure of Heart Break.
Teelo gulped. He glanced at his own reflection. She was a snotty, scheming, beer drinker with skinny body and slimy, sweaty palms. His friends saw her as a testy, tough teacher. Once, she had even rescued an ashamed old man from a road accident.
But not even a snotty person who had once rescued an ashamed old man from a road adccident, was prepared for what Heart had in store today.
The clouds danced like gyrating pigeons, making Teelo sparkly. Teelo grabbed a crumpled guillotine that had been strewn nearby; he massaged it with his fingers.
As Teelo stepped outside and Heart came closer, he could see the vague glint in her eye.
Heart glared with all the wrath of 4432 clumsy squidgy snakes. She said, in hushed tones, “I hate you but I want xoxo.”
Teelo looked back, even more sparkly and still fingering the crumpled guillotine. “Heart, I bid you adiós, adieu, addio, adeus. … aloha. … arrivederci. … ciao. … auf Wiedersehen. … au revoir. … bon voyage. … sayonara,” he replied.
They looked at each other with calm feelings, like two flabby, flipping frogs thinking at a very arrogant disco, which had trance music playing in the background and two spiteful uncles chatting to the beat.
Teelo studied Heart’s sticky lips and hurt fingers. Eventually, he took a deep breath. “I’m sorry,” began Teelo in apologetic tones, “but I don’t feel the same way, and I never will. I just don’t hate you Heart.”
Heart looked lonely, her emotions raw like a kooky, kaleidoscopic knife.
Teelo could actually hear Heart’s emotions shatter into 4863 pieces. Then the cold-blooded juggler hurried away into the distance.
Not even a drink of beer would calm Teelo’s nerves tonight.
Spiritual life is a matter of perception and not of mechanical conformity to rules, even when these rules are meant to stand for the highest values.
It implies an understanding which goes beyond all words or formulations. All words and formulations have a tendency to limit the Truth.
Therefore those who seek to bring out the spirit underlying these formulations often have to launch upon a searching analysis of the formulated principles, and supplement this analysis by constantly retaining touch with concrete examples taken from life.
——-AVATAR MEHER BABA
[Source- Discourses by Meher Baba, volume-I, p-100 (Copyright ©1967 by Adi K. Irani, King’s Rd., Ahmednagar, Maharashtra, India]