Working until it hurts

Would you trade your health for success?

Most entrepreneurs talk about being willing to trade anything for financial success. I was definitely one of them. When I started my second business in 2016 I made a deal with myself that I was willing to trade anything to get the company off of the ground. I would trade anything in my life to make it happen…

I would work every hour of the day seven days a week.

I was OK with losing all of my friends and relationships.

I was willing to miss all family functions.

I was willing to go broke.

I dedicated myself to not leaving my desk until our company was a wild success. However, the one thing I never realized I was trading was my physical health.

Unfortunately, after about a year of non-stop work my body began to give out. Specifically, my legs. According to my doctor, due to endlessly sitting in front of my computer I had atrophied the muscles in my legs. It got so bad that my muscles were unable to hold my knee caps in place and they started to grind against the bones in my knees. My endless work days became extremely painful quickly.

I endured the pain for about 18 months. I refused to admit something was wrong and interrupt my work schedule with a doctor appointment. For two years I didn’t run, go to the gym, stretch or participate in any sort of non-work related activities due to the pain. Looking back, the only time I can remember running was hustling to get a flight.I ignored my body and it lead to me being unable to walk without being in serious pain at the ripe age of 27.

I thought it was worth sharing this part of my story because I’ve been working with a number of founders lately that are taking the same approach I did. I can see it taking a toll on their bodies but their unwilling to invest in themselves the same way they are investing in their company. It’s hard to pitch the value of exercise when you’re trading a few more dozen cold calls that could lead to a sale or a few lines of code that will push out that beta. I get it but I urge founders to reconsider.

I’ve found that most people only speak about willing to trade savings or career advancement for their dreams. There’s little discussion about the mental and physical trade that’s made when you step into the startup gauntlet. Thankfully, I’m back on track now due to intense physical therapy. Hard to admit it was all avoidable.

I learned the hard way that if you trade your health for success, it can lead to debilitating injuries that will last far longer than TechCrunch headlines. Listen to your body and you’ll avoid my experience.

Good luck out there and get out and stretch why don’t ya! 😎