I started my company, RevZilla.com, a few years ago. My biz partners and I work a ton and I always tell people the biggest difference between working for anyone else and being your own boss is that when you own a company, every day is the same. Tuesdays, Saturdays, holidays & birthdays; you are still at the office or at least thinking about the business. You never stop trying to figure out where you are and how you’ll get where you need to be.
I see a lot of people focused on the eventual end-goal and/or exit, which is fine. But I feel that that laser-beam focus can sometimes take a little of the enjoyment away from the journey, if you forget to come up for air.
I have lost sight of the balance between fun and work at other times in my career. Most notably in my mid-twenties. Now more than ever as a business owner, a husband and a father – I refuse to let myself miss the things I know will make me smile that don’t take place behind my desk.
I stopped skateboarding when I was about 16 years old. I always enjoyed it, but the lure of 10th grade, getting a girlfriend and high school sports were just too much. The skating lost out. By college, I had a ton of free time, but then I discovered the nightlife. The skating lost out again. By the end of college I was so focused on getting my career fast-tracked, that the skating came up empty once more; this time by way of the almighty dollar. I did, however, for the better part of 13 years, always want to learn to ride a halfpipe. It was always right there in the back of my mind.
RevZilla has a warehouse now, so 5 weeks ago I went and bought a 4 foot half-pipe from craigslist and had it delivered (yes, delivered)… I bought some pads and a board too. As I write this, I am one month from my 29th birthday and learning (painfully) to ride the ramp. My wife is still confused by it all, but the smile on my face is all she needs to see to be completely supportive.
This 28 second “run” was the fruit of falling on my head for the last 5 weeks. It doesn’t look like much, but I am damn proud of it and had a blast learning to do it.
Here is the obligatory bail between runs for posterity….
Riding “that damn halfpipe” has done a great job of keeping me sane this summer in light of the many pressures facing a new business launched into an economic downturn.
While there are always times when work just has to be all-consuming to keep the company afloat, when I can come up with 30 minutes after all of my other obligations are fulfilled, I grab my skateboard. I challenge everyone to find their “skateboard” here and there, whatever it may be. You will be glad that you did. Those 30 minutes of falling on your head may just help you find your focus and your smile.