May 5, 2013 in Start Something
I’ve noticed over time that one of the things that gets overlooked is the importance of rest when building a startup. It is actually one of the most important jobs of a CEO or founder of a startup. Let me explain:
When you’re starting out with a team, you are going to be sprinting towards many milestones but a lot of the actual day to day is more comparable to a marathon. When you are running a marathon, you need to learn how to pace yourself and not burn out. The great thing about a startup is the you get to work on things that have a meaningful difference and your contributions are always felt. This is a blessing and a curse because you can tire yourself out very easily due to the amount that you want to work.
A CEO of a startup needs to have the experience and leadership to be able to tell their team to take the weekends off, do something fun and come back well-rested and ready for the next sprint. On a macro level, there will also be obvious times when it makes more sense to take a breather and refresh yourself. I think that the best way to recharge is to spend time with family and friends, enjoying a great meal and taking your mind off work if only for a day.
I’m a diehard basketball fan so I’ll also use an analogy to drive the point home. This year, the Lakers had many high expectations for having a great season and perhaps winning a championship with newly acquired players Dwight Howard and Steve Nash. The season was tumultuous, primarily due to a mix of injuries and taking some time for the team to gel. Their playoff dreams were destroyed when Kobe Bryant suffered a serious injury. I would posit that the reason he got hurt in the first place was because he had played an unsustainable amount of minutes post-All-Star Break. One key reason was due to coaching. Mike D’antoni – new coach for the Lakers this season after Mike Brown was unceremoniously fired – did not have the ability/clout to instill in Kobe the need for rest. I think that Phil Jackson, who previously coached both Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan would have saw the red flags. Not to say Kobe wouldn’t have gotten hurt, however, the point remains: knowing when you need your team to sprint and rest and getting them to do so is an important trait for a leader.
One little example to conclude – At our startup at Skillz, we recently had a prize for the person who had the best story to tell after this weekend about something fun that they did!