Earlier this week, I was staying in a multi-million dollar mansion outside Phoenix.
I mean, this place was insane. 8 bedrooms, a pool, putting green, and some of the most incredible desert views you could ever hope to see.
I was sitting in the hot tub by myself around sunset drinking a Corona, and was having trouble articulating exactly what I’d been feeling for the past few weeks.
By any standard, it should have been an unbelievable month (and honestly, it was). It was my highest grossing month ever in my business, I’d just played 4 of the best golf courses in the country, and now I was spending a few days hanging with fellow entrepreneurs in what was probably the biggest house I’d ever been in.
Yet, I’ve found myself feeling oddly melancholy.
Not depressed by any means, I don’t know, I guess flat.
I just couldn’t seem to get myself motivated to get back to work. I have plenty of projects going on that need to be moved forward, yet I was finding myself incapable of focusing long enough to get any work done.
Over the years I’ve learned one of the most unexpected effects of finishing up a big project is the complete lack of motivation for starting and working on something else.
You’d think it would be the exact opposite, right?
You’ve got a ton of momentum, and you should want to carry it over and keep it going.
That wasn’t the case for me, this go around.
I’ve talked to a couple other entrepreneur friends of mine like Karol Gajda and Andy Drish who have experienced very similar things in their own business.
So why is this?
Personally, I believe it’s for a few reasons.
1) Establishing a Motivator Other than Money
Historically, I’ve always done my best work done when my back is against the wall, and I feel the stress of needing to make more money.
Well over the last few years business has done well enough so that money isn’t necessarily a huge stress factor. I mean sure, we all want more money, but when you don’t have that “do or die” factor, there has to be something else that keeps you going.
I’ve been putting a lot of thought into this, and will explore it in a future post.
2) Lack of Concrete Goals and “Whys”
While I’ve got a lot of projects I’m working on, I haven’t necessarily had a lot of concrete goals and timelines to go with them – making it much easier to continue putting them off.
More importantly than that is really knowing the “why” behind those projects.
During this past month I’d lost focus on why I was so excited about doing all of those things – and when that happens, you feel like you’re just going through the motions.
3) Not Having the Right Conversations
For the first couple weeks of my slump, I was spending a lot of time by myself, which was great at first, but slowly I just kept moving further and further into hermit mode – which isn’t good.
The conversations I found myself having were often superficial and I wasn’t pushing myself to figure out what that next step was going to be.
This is what was so great about my time in Nevada and Arizona – I finally got to have those conversations. I finally got to talk to people who “got it” about what I was dealing with, and start looking towards the future, rather than residing in this mental purgatory I felt like I’d been in all month.
4) Neglecting Basic (Healthy) Routines
As anyone who has found themselves in a funk before knows, motivating yourself to do things like go to the gym, drink water etc. can be a real challenge, and it was for me.
Between the travel, a social life that was focusing too much on happy hour, and my already dwindling motivation level I wasn’t doing the things that lead to momentum.
Whenever I go to the gym, I find myself ready to go out and get stuff done.
If I go to the gym and make a healthy breakfast, then it’s like nitrous oxide for my day.
It was a vicious circle, I wasn’t doing those, so I was less productive, and the less productive I came, the less I felt the need to take care of myself.
So all of those well intentioned business and personal goals I made last month got a bit sidelined because of the post launch slump.
Recovering and Looking Forward
That’s what the last couple weeks have looked like.
I’ve been going back and forth about whether or not I should post this – but 5 years ago I made a promise to you, to always talk about both the positives and the struggles of being an entrepreneur and building a business.
No matter who you are you’re going to go through phases like this.
Sitting here today, I’ve found myself more motivated than ever to get back out there and do amazing things.
On top of focusing on some of the things above that I’ve been thinking about, there’s one important thing that got me out of my funk.
I took a trip.
This trip had an interesting evolution to it.
The first few days I was able to fully enjoy myself, relax, and have fun.
The middle few days of the trip I was stressed because I knew I should work, but wasn’t able to motivate myself.
Then the last few days saw everything come full circle. I began slowly getting things done. I put together a plan for my return. And the simple act of removing myself from a familiarity and detrimental routine allowed me to hit the refresh button and come out swinging.
This doesn’t just apply to launches either.
This can happen (and probably has) after any major transition or ending. It could be a relationship, a vacation, a class, a job – you name it.
It’s stress, stress, stress, relaaaaaax. And once you get too far into that relax mode, it can start causing stress again until it’s addressed.
Moving forward this month, I’m really excited about a project I’ve had in the works behind the scenes. Within the next two weeks I’ll have something to share, but in the meantime just keep an eye on this space.
I actually recently installed a free Chrome Extension called Momentum. Every time you open a new tab it shows you the time, a pretty picture, and few customized things like your goal for the day and a to do list.
I thought the quote I got today was particularly fitting:
“People who are unable to motivate themselves must be content with mediocrity mo matter how impressive their other talents.” – Andrew Carnegie
Couldn’t have said it better myself.