Clarity of the Run

Last week I spent some time laying out the 500 Startups mantra to give some context to my journey. I’d like to share with you what the rest of my NorCal life looks like.

Sadly, no — this isn’t me.

Why I lost weight working harder than ever
I’ll admit, I’m somewhat of a workout fanatic. Not in intensity, but certainly in frequency. I do 20-minute jogs daily, usually paired with 20 minutes of strength or yoga. Or Pop Pilates (pictured above). She is as close to organized workouts/religion as I get.
I recently read this rant on work-life balances, which essentially argues that balance is a highly individualized assessment. While some people need 9 hours of sleep, others can crank out with 6. Some people work their best in the morning, while others have 10 snoozes set on their alarms. Ultimately, I agree: your life’s balance is dependent on what gets your body revving.

Here’s how my routine has shaped up, and I’m embracing it:

  • 8am morning runs — Paul Singh, a kick-ass partner at 500, shared with me the secret of morning runs: they actually clear your mind. There’s science behind the chemicals that get released when running, and how they provide clarity. So clearing the day in the beginning vs. at the end seems to make solid business sense to me.
  • 10am work starts
  • Shit happens
  • 8pm dinner at home
  • More work happens

And I feel pretty nicely balanced. And stronger than ever. And more focused. Maybe this startup thing can actually be good for you?

Embracing the 10am – 8pm office times
I used to feel strange thinking of the workday starting at 10am. Perhaps it’s the residual influence of my corporate business education (or just too many episodes of The Office) but I was more a 9 – 6er. 
I’m certainly energetic in the morning. And this was before I read the Forbes article on The Secrets to Being a Power Woman, which not-so-subtly states that consistently rising at the armpit of dawn makes you successful. But I’m also just an energetic person period. And people energize me.
Suddenly, I’m pumped to shift my work schedule to a time when more people are in the office. And I’ve worked with more focus than ever before. 
Here’s what they don’t tell you about startups…
Starting a company with a co-founder in an apartment is a highly creative, incredibly freeing experience for sure. But if you’re not a programmer/designer (or even if you are), sitting in a living room with near silence is really draining. I’m an extravert in the Meyers Briggs sense, so having others around me definitely recharges my battery. 
500 Startups is absolutely the most energizing environment I’ve ever worked in. 

(Check in with me in 2 months. I might hate everyone then.)

Acceleration is Emo

There’s an acuteness of emotion here. An acute feeling that if you cannot survive this program, you cannot survive the real world. Sadly, the inverse isn’t true. Just because you survive, does not mean you will survive in the real world. All roads seemingly go towards the death of your company, and you must fight like hell to pave a new one. 

All this focus is pumping me full of energy. Odd thing, that this impending doom can be so incredibly motivating. 


3 thoughts on “Clarity of the Run

  1. Awesome post! I'll tell you what I like about it: it really transmits how thrilled you are about what you're doing, even amid the stresses of such an uncertain and insane lifestyle as startups can be. It doesn't imply by any means that I have to suffer running my startup or that I have to endure extraordinary difficulties in near-heroic fashion. This is what I usually read, and while it's inspiring to see such stoicism, it's becoming tiresome. Yours, though, is cheerful in a raw way, which only shows how honest you're being about it. Well, you just transmitted this to me. I'm also happy working like crazy towards what many call an unreachable goal. It's OK, I'm enjoying “paving my road” (I also dig this analogy, did you come up with it?). Anyways, great writing and thanks for the friendly and honest words. Keep it right up and say Hi to Manolo from Yogome for me! (If you know him, that is.)

  2. For sure — the idea of “suffering” is too much like martyrdom for me. You should be THRIVING on your start-up. Tired as hell, being pushed to your limits, but ultimately being satisfied.

    If it ain't for fulfillment, why else would be work for so little pay? 😉

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