Mergelane Blog

Broadening the On-ramp for Women-run Companies

When Slowing Down Helps You Go Faster

I finished my first Half Ironman when I was 22 years old and it was a huge feat for me. I have zero natural athletic talent, so I had to train twice as hard, be twice as disciplined and stay twice as focused as my training buddies. But crossing the finish line made it all worth it. It was the first time I felt what it was really like to “win” and I realized that I could push myself to the depths of despair and pull myself back out again. It was intoxicating and knowing that I could push myself that hard has played a very positive role in my life as an entrepreneur. But it also has a dark side.

After I finished my first Half Ironman, I was hooked, so I started training for another one. I followed the exact same training regimen, but this time I was working a very stressful and time consuming job. I maintained my training despite the fact that I was getting less sleep and handling more stress, and I finished the race. I learned that I could push my limits even further than I could before and again, it was intoxicating. But then….I got hurt. The doctors told me that I had a hip injury caused by over-use and it was pretty bad. I had to stop running and biking for an entire year. When I came back to do my third and final Half Ironman two years later, I trained about 1/3 less, but I trained smarter and I took a rest when my body needed it. I finished the race almost a half an hour faster than I had before. It was a great lesson that working smarter is better than working harder, and that taking little rests will help you go faster and further. Yet, it was so, so much harder for me to train that way, just like it is so hard for me to take a breather from my work.

I am deeply passionate about the work I am doing. When my work is tied to my deep and personal passion, there is no such thing as work/life balance, and that is a good thing. Unfortunately, no matter how much I love my work, I still have to sleep. I sometimes forget that.

I’ve seen this pattern in other entrepreneurs. We have the ability to push ourselves further than we ever think we can, but that doesn’t mean we always should.

It’s actually far easier for me to push myself than to rest, but resting is often just as important as pushing. When I take breaks and listen to my body, I deliver better results. When I work smarter rather than harder, I deliver better results. I try to remember that.

I can’t say I have the resting thing down to a perfect science, but it’s getting better and I certainly appreciate the occasional reminder. So…to unwilling-to-rest entrepreneurs everywhere, may you find work that never feels like work, but remember to rest this holiday season. To a fulfilling and restful 2015, Happy New Year.

Related Posts

Episode #15: Fitting Fitness into a Startup Schedule with Nicole DeBoom

I love being active, but I also have high professional aspirations. I’ve spent the last 16 years trying to find a productive balance between the two. In this episode, Nicole DeBoom, pro triathlete turned CEO of Skirt Sports, and I share our thoughts on how to fit fitness into a startup schedule.

Read more ➞

Episode #14: VC Fundraising with David Cohen | Moving LPs to a Yes

Fundraising doesn’t come naturally to David Cohen, founder and co-CEO of Techstars, but he’s learned how to leverage his strengths and team to successfully raise the funds that power the Techstars network. In this episode, he shares his honest and authentic reflections from this experience.

Read more ➞

How Conscious Leadership Bought Me 5 Hours of Extra Time Each Day

I practice the principles of Conscious Leadership, a methodology and toolkit that accelerates self-awareness. It’s being taught at companies like Yahoo, Goldman Sachs and Ebay and has forever changed every aspect of my life. I estimate that it has bought me about five hours of extra time each day.

Read more ➞

Episode #13: Mental Health in Venture Capital with Brad Feld

In this Fund81 podcast episode, I invited Brad Feld, founding partner of Foundry Group, to share his thoughts on maintaining mental health in the fast-paced venture capital world and supporting portfolio companies, colleagues, friends and family wrestling with mental health issues.

Read more ➞

Episode #12: Unexpected Product Pitfalls in Venture Investing

SC Moatti joined the Fund81 podcast to talk about how to discover and vet products in venture capital. We talk about how VCs can spot indications of future product success, creative ways to look under the hood before investing, and the product-related questions most venture capitalists fail to ask.

Read more ➞

The Top 9 Investor Pitch Mistakes

I’ve seen thousands of startup investor pitches. Since I find myself offering the same feedback over and over, I thought it might be helpful to share my nine most common points of investor pitch feedback.

Read more ➞

Episode #11: Using the Enneagram in Venture Capital Investing

In this Fund81 podcast episode, we talk about something that has made our team at MergeLane better investors - the Enneagram Personality Typing System. To talk about how the Enneagram can help other VCs, I invited Kaley Klemp to join the podcast.

Read more ➞

An Unexpected Cure for Exhaustion

As a venture capitalist, I am frequently surrounded by exceptionally high-performing and inspiring people. Until recently, I had never stopped to think about the impact of that.

Read more ➞

How a 26-Inch Powder Day Increased My Conviction for My Business, My Team, and the 15 Commitments

We are big proponents of using the 15 Commitments in the work we do in Conscious Leadership. However, as an Enneagram Type 1 who is most happy at maximum productivity, I’ve always had a hard time buying into Commitment #9, the commitment to play and rest. Until yesterday….

Read more ➞

Why My Day in the Woods Was My Most Productive Work Day Yet

I am extremely disciplined and focused. However, this can also be a detriment. Anything I perceive as a distraction from my to-do list feels stressful, and I have to constantly tell myself that off-the-to-do-list opportunities are often the best opportunities. I was recently reminded of that.

Read more ➞