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Adii Pienaar

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

I'm Emo

I just read this great post - "When you want to quit because it’s just not worth it" - about how it's generally pretty shitty being an entrepreneur if you consider all of the emotional ups & downs you have to endure. As I was reading this post (by an entrepreneur whom I have loads of respect for), I realized that I've had so many such situations in the last 3-odd years and if I had to tell an upcoming, sparkly-eyed entrepreneur about all of that, being an entrepreneur is probably the last thing that they'd want to do.

What is even more appalling - even to myself - is that during most of the down periods, I'm totally emo & irrational. (I think it takes big balls to admit that, so am hoping for some kudo's for that at least... :))

Let me tell you about one of these recurring emo episodes that I experience every other month...

I'm a very impulsive guy, which means that momentum and adrenaline are the things that generally keeps me interested in projects. So in business and in my daily to do's I always try to make sure that there's as much momentum as possible on all fronts (of which there are multitudes), because this is the only way I know how to work. This also means that I've taken all of my time and dedicated it to as many projects as possible, because I avoid being in limbo like a plague. Let me explain...

The bulk of my to do list compromises stuff that I need to get done for WooThemes, where we are always working on multiple different projects at any given moment in time. The WooTeam compromises of 10 of us, which means that I need to have a hand in a bunch of different pies as the "strategy guy" making sure that we're all working in the same direction. All of this is just dandy, because obviously that means that some days my time / energy is quite stretched in trying to get to all of these to do's.

Yet I found a way to complicate that even further: create even more projects. Along with WooThemes, I also founded Radiiate where we're working on a variety of different other projects. Then there's also the Rockstar Foundation of course, which is purely a passion project considering that I'm definitely not involved in there for the profit. :)

So now most of my days end up being a juggling act, whereby I try to figure out what's the most pressing to do and to get to as many of those to do's as possible. I might add that I've become really, really good at this too in the last couple of years.

But what's the problem then?

Every other month I become a tad emo and I start to question everything I'm working on; especially the projects that either don't have enough momentum at that stage or simply aren't growing in the direction that I'd like. Questioning myself turns into massive self doubt and eventually turns into utter denial, where I simply want to drop everything that I feel is causing my emo-state at that point in time.

My logic generally sounds something like this: eliminate the things that is causing me unhappiness, free up my time / energy and then be happier. But cue my inherent personality: I'd just find something else to fill up my time again, causing the same old cycle of questioning, self doubt & denial.

I think I'm genetically incapable of sitting still (in terms of being an entrepreneur), which means I'll always be chasing the next idea. I can't not have ideas suddenly. This obviously means that there's no way for me to serve both gods here and I'm thus destined to become overly emo and irrational once every couple of months as I try to figure out just what makes me happy (I think that's it).

At the moment I'm dealing with these episodes in a very simple way: I ride out the storm and then I continue as if nothing ever happened (normally after a pep talk and a proper slap from my wife). And everything has been working out just fine.

But that doesn't detract from the fact that - as an entrepreneur - these emotional rollercoasters are part and package of my job and I have to deal with that.

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