Hiatus

Taking a break can nourish an artist and the seasonality of the art they’re creating. A hiatus can refocus teams or provide space for a community to recharge as well, but misplaced interruptions can also become an excuse to stifle progress.

Let’s look at short breaks. For example, a moment to refill your mug, eat lunch, catch the latest episode of YDNTP, or get some sleep. When you’ve achieved flow, time away can feel like a waste of time. If a hiatus is only an excuse to avoid the work, then yes, worthless wandering is a trap and can actually devolve into a dangerous habit. When paralyzing progress is normalized, it will impact other things you actually want to accomplish. This means that even short breaks should be used to recharge your return.

What about a more extended hiatus? This could be time away, setting a project aside, or even taking breaks in a relationship. When things get tough or positive momentum starts to fade, it’s tempting to avoid reality by pushing pause. This may keep things afloat, but it’s often a lackadaisical move to avoid reality, which may include the challenges of calling it quits. If an extended hiatus is truly strategic, the time should feel restful and build confidence as rearranged resources add fresh motivation. If this time away is wasted however, a false restart can be hard to recover from and will further expose what always needed to change. If a hiatus ever feels like an excuse to dodge blame, instead of being fainthearted, perhaps the illusion of an endless break should be replaced by a determined effort to make the bigger decision.

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With limitless ways to spend our time, it’s easy to take on more than we should. Be careful taking breaks when you’ve overextended your own personal bandwidth.

The length of any hiatus is relevant and so are the people who decide to take the break. Lone wolves can make these decisions easier, but they may struggle to understand the whole equation without feedback from customers, mentors, and fellow community members. When more people are involved, deciding what/when/how to take a break becomes more complex. For example, if a few people decide a break is good for a larger group, this decision may come from an individual’s lack of interest or bandwidth instead of what’s best for the group.

When we feel significant, promises are kept and more people are set free to lead together. When we lead together, the limitations of some are less likely to compromise the well-being of many. This agency supports enrollment, trust, creativity, and honesty between more linchpins who collectively decide when the right type of intermissions will be most invigorating.

Uncharted

Building without a map is a bold art form.
It’s challenging, dangerous, and rewarding.

It’s challenging, because these expeditions call for initiative to show up, but also an unknown amount of resources to stay persistent. All seven capitals (intellectual, human, financial, institutional, physical, network, and cultural) can be hard to find. Celebrating what we have with a sense of abundance, attracts more of what we want. As different types of capital connect, staying balanced with your personal bandwidth requires attention, but when we care enough and remain realistic, we give ourselves the permission to keep building.

Uncharted crusades can also be dangerous. This probably won’t go as planned and opportunity cost is high with endless ways to spend our time. Even when the odds are against us, a healthy obsession paired with a willingness to succeed or learn cultivates a potent mix of curiosity, optimism, and righteous recklessness. Those willing to try have a huge advantage over everyone else willing to wait.

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What might you regret not doing?

When exploring the unknown for the first time, be clever, collaborative, and patient. Also, remember that winners quit all the time. They simply quit the right things at the right time, so get passionate without falling in love with impossible. To do so, ask for help. There’s much to learn from heroes, mentors, and those you seek to serve. Success and failure leaves clues, so speed up progress and avoid pitfalls by leaning into the tribes you trust.

When you’ve built without a map for a long time, the highs and lows strengthen decision making, while also making the unknown less intimidating. Experienced way finders gather feedback faster, measure the right metrics, and appreciate the hardships without allowing pride from the past to be misleading.

We know how rewarding it can be to build an event, business, or relationship you’re proud of. To dance toward the unknown, be thoughtful with early moves, but don’t get paralyzed by perfection. Sustain growth with sequenced storytelling. Be urgent, but not frantic by activating trust channels that stimulate accountability. Welcome feedback like a scientist, listen with concentration, and savor metrics beyond the money.

Landing

Arriving at your destination took work, but the task is not complete until you stick the landing.

As I enjoyed the serenity of birding on a morning walk, I noticed how birds are quick to take off and fly around with ease, but there’s definitely a final moment of attention required to land.

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In the midst of a transition? Stay golden!

The excitement of new is easy to like. The forever dance of enjoying a hobby or building a business then takes persistence. As momentum creates ease, it can be easy for attention to slip. Whether it’s a small task or an epic exit, pushing toward a strong finish can actually be more challenging than everything leading up to it.

When it’s time to finish strong, make no assumptions. Stay detail oriented to complete the sequence. With another successful landing under your wings, let the experience inspire fresh vitality as you shift gears and remain open to next.

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Every moment is the end of something.

Melting Momentum

Once something melts, it’s never quite the same.

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Inspiration is perishable.

From the moment we decide to start building an idea into reality, the force required is geared toward finding and then maintaining momentum.

Meaningful momentum is awakened in endless ways. Early momentum might mean showing up at an event for the first time, researching the competitive landscape, testing an early hypothesis, leaning into customer discovery, recruiting potential co-founders, building product, and eventually activating a launch sequence. Once a project is launched, the need for momentum never fades. If anything, it only becomes more important. There are many more examples, but growing the business, achieving milestones, and celebrating progress are all forms of valuable momentum. Even in later stages of a company, momentum drives activities like succession planning, navigating a successful exit, and considering how your human, financial, cultural, intellectual, and network capital can be recycled back into the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

No matter where you’re at in your own journey, if momentum is maintained long enough, the result can be a flywheel effect that feeds on itself. Anything you want to grow will always require endless work, but with less friction, momentum delivers more time, understandings, and space for different activities emerge.

On the flip side, if momentum is melting, it’s difficult to recapture. These are moments to consider when and what to quit. If there’s enough energy to keep writing the story, it’s neat how there’s always the option to keep building. A few sparks that can help regain momentum come to mind. For instance, (re)connecting with the startup community, learning something new, saying “yes” to unlock adventure, saying “no” to create space, travel, revisiting customer discovery, building a new feature, considering a pivot, onboarding new customers, and adding to the team.

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Need help regaining momentum?

The longer stagnancy lingers, the harder it will be to realign momentum. Tactics to maintain a creative state of kamiwaza, even when momentum is melting, starts with communication. Keeping honest communication consistent adds clarity and is the easiest way to appreciate the realities of slowness. Reducing the weird by exposing the why, also keeps different stakeholders on the same page, even during more lethargic times. By reducing the tension that quietly brews in silence, teams may be able to run at lower speeds. If left unattended, this can devolve into a lack of urgency that brings new challenges, but at a lower speed, perhaps less movement is needed to regain/retain the sense of shared momentum.

When we play long-term games with long-term people, momentum is crucial, but set your own pace by exploring the type of momentum you need at different stages within the work. This awareness helps you quit chasing momentum and sets us free to forge better art, at a sustainable speed. This helps us multiply mass and velocity, which equates to momentum when, where, and how it’s needed to keep building.

Personal Bandwidth

New projects make work invigorating and it’s fun building things we care about. When we’re all able to do so much more with less in our connected era, the danger becomes how easy it is to spread yourself too thin. If you seek to unlock the boundless energy from a balanced career portfolio, it’s critical to keep an eye on your personal bandwidth.

To make it easy, visualize all the work you do as a dynamic pie chart. Each project you’re involved with represents one slice. It’s not an exact science, but the more time, money and energy you spend on something, the larger that slice becomes. Let’s call this your career portfolio.

Most of us can manage multiple slices of activity within our career portfolio. For example, a traditional, salaried position may be the lion share, but there’s still room for that innovative idea at your company, a little side hustle, the volunteer role and mentoring a few other entrepreneurs. No matter what makes up the complete pie chart, stay mindful of the coevolving sizes of each slice and how everything interacts within the overall system.

Saying yes or no to new projects should obviously be carefully considered. As you make these decisions, be honest with the resources required to continue building on each front. The time you spend on one thing can’t be spent on others, but positive force in one area often fuels fresh energy (and clarity if it’s time to quit) for other areas of your career portfolio. When different projects are in the same realm, synergies may be easier to compound, but sometimes having projects in completely different industries provides stabilizing diversification.

Beyond the obvious impact of adding or removing elements within your career portfolio, how resources are spent on existing areas of your career portfolio should feel strategic. Think about how much time is being spent compared to the income that’s being produced. There are other factors to consider too, as we know it’s not all about the money. Reflect on the type of energy each project generates. Who do you get to work with and how does the work make you feel overall? Hobbies that pay just enough to break even, leading a group of people you care about or volunteering to become a mentor are all wonderful examples of satisfying additions that don’t pay the bills.

Have something that’s dragging you in the wrong direction? It’s hard to revive old projects, but don’t be afraid to put things on the back burner. That said, if it is time to quit, read The Dip by Seth Godin, then decide if and when to make your move. Winners quit all the time, they just quit the right things at the right time.

That last sentence reveals one more important variable: good timing. When you activate new projects, adjust resources or quit something to make space for what’s next, good timing will provide a noticeable blend of confidence and tranquility. This state of mind will allow your work to make a bigger impact. To give yourself room to find good timing, remember entrepreneurship is not a race. Urgency is helpful because it creates valuable momentum, but stay patient knowing that persistence is the ultimate wild card.

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I once had a boss tell me I could never catch two rabbits. That’s outdated. With a balanced career portfolio and the support of those around you, we’re all able to catch more proverbial rabbits without diluting ourselves to mediocrity. Learn to efficiently activate different energies, on different projects, with different people, at different times, that all connect through you.