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Adii Pienaar

Now working on Receiptful. Co-Founder & ex-CEO of WooThemes. Author of Brandiing. New Dad. Ex-Rockstar.

An Idle Mind

I'd like to start my writing year by writing about a couple of the things that have been on my mind since I decided to press pause on my startup about 6 weeks ago.

The last 6 weeks has been mostly about distancing myself from everything that culminated in the emotions that surrounded the act of pressing pause. When I started out on this journey, I had no plan and I haven't had a plan in the last couple of weeks. The only real plan I had was to truly start my recovery and detox at the beginning of January, as it kinda made sense within the context of it also being a new year with a blank canvas.

The interesting about my decision to only kickstart this process in the new year has been that I essentially created a void or a space for things to just naturally happen.

This has been both good and bad.

Below I've shared both the good and bad things that I've experienced or have been thinking about in the last 6 weeks.


The Good

1. I've been distracted

The best (and most stressful) thing that probably happened in the last month has been our move to a new town and into a new home. This has required a lot of attention and energy, which meant that I didn't have too much time (physically or mentally) to fret about either my decision or the year ahead.

Beyond that, I've been lucky to spend my time with the one's I love most, playing games (of the board and video variety), enjoying our new surroundings and picking up a little DIY project.

2. I've been surrounded by great people

You've heard the mantra surround yourself with great people before and I've always tried to accomplish that in a way that inspires or improves me. In the last couple of weeks though this tended to happen naturally and the result was that I felt loved and safe.

I've been able to spend real quality time with my own (little) family, my extended family and siblings, along with some of my closest friends. It's been great to just be during these gatherings and I'm grateful for the safety net that it's created.

3. I've been wasting time

I've always had this notion that time is a very finite thing and that I need to always maximize my output within this limited framework. What that's meant in the past is that I'd rather do some work than doing something mindless (i.e. something that is purely and exclusively for enjoyment).

In the last couple of weeks, I've managed to spend a lot of time doing absolutely jack-shit. And it feels so fantastic not to feel pushed to do something productive or something of value.


The Bad

1. I'm still driven, passionate and ambitious

This has probably been my biggest challenge; realizing that it doesn't matter what I do, I can't change who I am. To some extent this is a curse, because whilst these things are obviously great as an entrepreneur, it is also a beast that needs to be fed.

I've seen this manifest itself in presenting me with (business) opportunities in the last couple of weeks and I've had to be very disciplined in not allowing myself to explore those and be sucked in. But that's been very hard to do, because I enjoy hard work and I love working on things I'm passionate about. And above all, I remain incredibly ambitious.

2. Who am I?

As I've been contemplating what my journey looks like in the new year, I've been considering my own identity too.

I'm Adii and I'm an entrepreneur. That's the label that I have chosen for myself and the one that I use the fuel most of the things I do. But right now, I'm without a startup or an entrepreneurial project. So who am I?

Yes, I'm a husband and dad too, but I've never been those things exclusively. I was also an entrepreneur long before I was either of those. So it's been a tad scary to reconsider and refine how I view and choose to label myself.

3. Some cuts run deeper

In my reflection of the past year and also all of the experiences that culminated in my decision to pause PublicBeta, I've realized that some of the issues I have are much bigger and more significant than I thought.

There's regret, anger, resentment and self-doubt that I'll need to work out before I can tackle a new project again. Whilst these things have obviously shaped the Adii that I am today, they definitely also left a few deformities which needs to be corrected.


All-in-all I'm 100% convinced that I've taken the best decision in pressing pause and taking a break. I feel challenged about the issues I need to address, but at the same time, I'm excited about new mistakes and new adventures.

Next up, I'll be spending some time formulating a vague plan of action for the year ahead and I hope to share my goals for 2014 here shortly. :)

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