A few months ago I came home from work exhausted and mentally drained.
As a CEO of a rapidly growing startup, most of my days are totally crazy.
After I walked into the kitchen, my wife Sarah asked me about my day. I can’t remember what I said, but I remember feeling that she was somewhat disinterested.
So, I shut up.
After I got quiet, she gave me a funny grin.
The kind of grin she uses whenever she makes an expensive purchase or has news that she knows might get me worked up.
I gave her a funny, questioning look and raised my eyebrows — “What?” I asked.
“Soooooo….” she began, as she reached for the pregnancy test…. “I’m pregnant!” as she shot me a probing smile.
I can’t exactly remember how I reacted, but it was something along the lines of excitement, anxiety, fear, joy, worry, relief and surprise all rolled into one.
Excitement: Holy shit! I’m having a kid! That’ll be cool!
Anxiety: Holy shit! I’m having a kid! I have no idea how to do this!
Fear: Holy shit! I’m having a kid! What if I screw the kid up?
Joy: Holy shit! I’m having a kid! We made life together!
Worry: Holy shit! I’m having a kid! What will this do to my time?
Relief: Holy shit! I’m having a kid! I can reproduce!
Surprise: Holy shit! I’m having a kid! But we just started trying! Does my sperm have superpowers?
I wasn’t ready for that particular news. I don’t think you can be.
At that moment, I felt a feeling rush across me in a giant wave.
It was a feeling of responsibility.
It was the feeling of adulthood.
I was 34 years old, and my time as a grown child had run out.
I was now having a child.
My Inner Voice (we’ll just call him Hugo) said to me: “I guess it’s time to Man The Fuck Up and become an adult.”
And I knew Hugo was right.
Hugo knew this moment was coming and had been nervous about it.
Hugo continued: “We’ve been spending 7 days a week, 18 hours a day for the past 4 years working on the company. It’s been selfish and totally crazy. That’s gotta change.”
Again, I knew Hugo was right.
Hugo added: “But how? We have to figure this out. We’ve got about 8 months.”
I didn’t know how this change would happen, but I knew I needed to change.
So, I gave my wife a big smile, a kiss and a hug, and tried to absorb the news.
But deep down, I knew I had lots to process.
As head of a startup that had raised $8.8 million dollars from investors, I already had an enormous amount of responsibility on my plate.
Now I would soon have a child added to the long list of ‘things I’m responsible for.’
Hugo assured me: “There are plenty of books available. There are plenty of mentors available. People have done it before. You are not unique. “
Still, I was scared shitless.
I was scared I’d be a bad father.
I was scared that I’d let down my wife.
I was scared that I wouldn’t be simultaneously a good father AND a good CEO.
And you know what? It’s a few months later, and I’m still scared.
But I’m an entrepreneur, and fear of failure is something I’m very accustomed to.
Fear of failure drives me to do what I do every single day.
So, in attempt to work through all my fears, doubts and uncertainty, I’ve decided to simply write about my feelings.
Writing is therapeutic for me.
So the forthcoming collection of posts will reflect my attempt to come to terms with starting up a human life while balancing my responsibilities as a startup CEO.
I hope you enjoy.