4:32am

My brain is awake and ticking through the things I didn’t do yesterday. The things I need to do today. The audit. The board meeting prep. The sale I really need to get across the line. The hard conversation I need to have. And I can’t get back to sleep.

I try to roll over. And over. And over. And over. The man in my bed is probably awake now. Maybe I should cuddle him? Really, I just want to sleep. Or go to work. But it’s a Sunday. And 4am on a Sunday isn’t an appropriate time to be working. And my brain won’t let me sleep. Maybe a cuddle will help.

I’m at a low point. I’m not sure that this start up ride is worth it. I think I want off, but there doesn’t seem to be a way to eject myself. I’m trying to take the advice that I give everyone else. It’s meant to be hard, otherwise everyone would be doing it. But I think I naively thought there would be more support. A grown up to make some of the big decisions, or at least give me some time off on weekends.

Everyone wants to help. But no-one seems to be helping.

I want to be seen. I want people to realise it isn’t always fun, in fact, a lot of the time this life is a hell of a lot of work. And, if it doesn’t work? I’m going to be that big fat F word that seems to be so en vogue these days. A Failure. And, its not that I’m not averse to things not being a “success” I’m just so deep in the duldrums of trying I don’t even know what success is anymore. Really, what is success?

I know it’s not all about me. It’s about my team, and my community. But everything feels so personal right now.

I want to hit delete on this personal rant. On this showing of my insides. But, sometimes, I think we have to show this side of ourselves so we don’t perpetuate the start up shiny. Only celebrating the wins, and hiding the losses for fear of online critique and public shaming. If we’re all about supporting founders that fail, can we also support founders as they flail?

Since I wrote this originally things have gotten better. As is typical in Start Up Land the highs closely follow the lows, to lure you into a sense of security or to help you forget the bad times.

I’ve chatted to a bunch of founders, shared this, and asked if I should put it out there. The response has said a lot.

One camp has strongly advocated for sharing, because they’ve experienced the same feelings, and wish they could hear more stories of people like them.

The other camp was against it, because they’ve experienced the same feelings, and are scared for me on what this vulnerable rant could open me up for.

So, world, which camp are you in?

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