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

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 ➞

Episode #10: Lessons from 300+ Venture Capital Fund Pitches

For the final episode of Fund81's first season, I interviewed Jaclyn Freeman Hester from Foundry Group. As someone relatively new to the industry, she has a fresh perspective on what's compelling to institutional investors and an incredible pulse on the landscape for emerging VC managers. Enjoy!

Read more ➞

Shedding My Commitment to the Conventional Schedule

Could I be more effective if I simply surrendered to a schedule that felt natural to me? After some serious self-reflection and experimentation, I can unequivocally say YES.

Read more ➞

How I'm Doing Less to Achieve More

I’m trying to focus my time on opportunities to operate in my zone of genius and a few select priority areas in line with my passions and in which I feel I can make the most impact, aka my true north. To help all of us stay the course, I thought it might be helpful to share those priorities. ‍

Read more ➞

When Giving First Gets to Be Too Much

I gave first without question for almost five years. It came back to me in spades. I don’t regret it, and I think it was exactly the right thing for me to do at the time. But then….it just got to be too much.

Read more ➞

Episode #9 - Cryptocurrency Venture Investing: The Questions Every VC Should Ask Before Making a Crypto Investment

Dave Balter, the CEO of one of our MergeLane portfolio companies, Flipside Crypto, shares his perspective on investing in the cryptocurrency space. Dave is obsessed with and extremely knowledgeable about cryptocurrency, and has an interesting perspective from both sides of the table.

Read more ➞

Episode #8: Why Ownership Matters in Venture Investing with FirstMark's Amish Jani

Most venture capital funds target a minimum ownership percentage when making investments. In this Fund81 episode, Amish Jani, a founder and Managing Director of FirstMark Capital, shares his take on why ownership matters and how funds of different sizes and strategies determine ownership targets.

Read more ➞

Episode #7: Venture Capital Liquidity: Innovative Solutions for Today and the Future

Venture capital funds are typically structured to have a 10-year lifespan, but venture-backed companies often take more than 10 years to achieve an exit and return capital to their investors. In this Fund81 podcast episode, we discuss solutions to this problem with our our guest, Roland Reynolds.

Read more ➞

How 75 Ski Days Made Me a Better Venture Capitalist

This year, I decided to do an experiment. To build our MergeLane investor and mentor network, I dedicated four months to exclusively focus on meetings that involved skiing.

Read more ➞

Episode #6: Using Conscious Leadership to Be a Better VC

Conscious Leadership has been a game-changer for our partnership and our investing. For this Fund81 podcast interview, I invited my business partner at the MergeLane venture fund for high-potential startups with at least one woman in leadership, Sue Heilbronner, to talk about Conscious Leadership.

Read more ➞