Entrepreneurs: Are You Losing Your Head?

Here is something we’ve noticed – true entrepreneurs are mission minded, singularly focused, and seem to have the unique ability to invest “whatever it takes” to make the idea work. The other thing we’ve noticed? When those entrepreneurial qualities kick in, other important relationships, responsibilities, and opportunities seem to suffer. We’ve said it before – if you are going to change the world, balance might not be the best goal. We’re not suggesting that your project should matter less or take 2nd place. However, we’re guessing it probably won’t feel like a big win if you get to the finish line, look around, and see a trail of carnage and destruction around you.

Sorry…should I have put that more gingerly? I’m going to write a short series related to “keeping your head” in the midst of a project. The idea is that these practical tips are ones you can implement immediately if you start to realize that your sacrifice for the project is out of proportion, or that you have become a workaholic. Which leads me to my first tip… The Assessment.

Before you start implementing changes you need to do a quick assessment to determine whether you are off target and, if so, how far. Here are some questions to help with your self-assessment (and if you think that you might flag this and do it later…it could be a sign you have too much on your plate.)

  • Do people often tell you that you have too much going on?
  • When is the last time you asked a question about what is going on in someone else’s life?
  • Have you missed significant family or social events in order to work on the project?
  • Do you find that all your conversations with people eventually drift towards your work?
  • Are you sacrificing health (eating right, working out, sleeping) on a regular basis?
  • Do you feel “spent” or “tapped out” at the end of everyday?
  • Have you only been spending time with people who are collaborating on your project?
  • Are you finding it hard to connect with other people because you are out of touch with what is going on in the community, pop culture, or the world?
  • What word would your children, significant other, or friend use to describe the state of your relationship right now?
  • Can you name three challenges that your friends or family members are facing?
  • Are you experiencing physical distress on a regular basis that might be linked to your project (migraines, panic attacks, jitteriness, exhaustion, weight gain, etc?)

If you have trouble answering these questions, ask a friend or family member for some feedback. Everyone will experience the early signs of burnout differently, but chances are if you feel consumed with your project, you are probably further down the path to burnout than you would like to admit.

What can you do about it?


This post originally debuted on the Plywood People website.


Wendy Dickinson, Ph. D.


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