Drowning

I’m struggling and I’ve avoided talking about it.

I’m used to being busy and I’ve often said that what I like most about my job is the constant phase shifting – it fits my personality and, frankly, my attention span. I’m used to a certain amount of chaos and uncertainty. But lately I’ve been feeling overwhelmed by it. I’m not sure if it’s the constant barrage of news from a president I can’t stand and who I think is ruining our country. Or the friend who was just diagnosed with advanced metastatic stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Or the other friend who was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Or the crap that’s going on in tech and venture that makes my stomach turn. Or just the day to day busy life of a family of 5 with school, sports and everything in between. I feel distracted. I think of Matt and Reggie a lot (and at unexpected times). I’m struggling to focus.

I’ve long prided myself on always being able to take on more. But I think I’ve hit the wall. I both wanted to be open about how I was feeling – maybe others are feeling the same? – and to brainstorm a bit about what I’m trying to do about it. I always feel better when I have a “plan” and I’m trying through this post to create one.

  1. Slow down. I’m starting to take things off my calendar and say no to more stuff. Bouncing from meeting to meeting isn’t productive and robs me of time both to think and to be proactive.
  2. Spend more time with the people I love. Seems obvious but in the face of a busy schedule and travel it’s easy for this to get lost. My wife and I are taking more walks together. I’m spending more time with my kids. I’m spending time with my partners. And I’m not trying to hide it on my calendar or in email responses (“I can’t meet then – I’m going home early that night”). I don’t care if people think I’m cool or always at work.
  3. Define myself more though my relationships than my work. I love my work, but it doesn’t and shouldn’t define me. And I’ve gotten comfortable with my role in our partnership.
  4. Be deliberate. I’m not just more deliberate with my time and schedule but also with what I’m focused on. I’m really making an effort to spend time on things that really have impact – on Foundry, on our portfolio, on our investors, on our industry. At work these are my highest priorities – not the day to day bullshit that can so easily consume me.
  5. Speak out. I’m taking stands about the things that are important to me. I’m ignoring the haters. More on this in a separate post…
  6. Breathe. I’m not particularly into meditation but as part of slowing down I’m taking some deliberate time to stop, stretch and breathe. It’s helping.

Sorry for the overly personal post here. I feel better having written it. Life goes in cycles…this too shall pass.

/sjl