How does the road to success look like for you?
Let’s see some facts…
In less than 280 characters, Elon Musk lost his seat as chairman of Tesla and ended up with a $20 million dollar fine.
Musk’s infamous tweet in August 2018 – “Am considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured” – sent Tesla shares into a tailspin and caused the Securities and Exchange Commission to sit up and take notice.
Tesla is still a public company today and he was fined $20 million by the SEC for misleading investors.
All of this triggered multiple debates about Musk’ erratic behavior.
Founder of Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington even wrote him an open letter about his 120-hour work week and sleep-deprived lifestyle.
Musk apologizes for none of it.
In a 2am response to Huffington, Musk tweeted, “Ford & Tesla are the only 2 American car companies to avoid bankruptcy. I just got home from the factory. You think this is an option. It is not.”
Is this the cost of entrepreneurship, trying to build a successful business? If yes, it may not be worth the trouble.
The D Word
Designer Kate Spade took her life earlier this year. So did massively popular chef and food and travel TV host, Anthony Bourdain.
The last few years have seen the loss of so many talented, creative entrepreneurs.
CEO of Diaspora 22-year old Ilya Zhitomirskiy took his life in 2011.
Partner at Reddit, Aaron Schwartz, did the same in 2013 and so did Founder of Ecomom, Jody Sherman.
In 2015, it was CEO of Cambrian Genomics, Austen Heinz, and CEO of Appton, Faigy Mayer.
This shouldn’t make sense but it tragically does. It’s a well-known fact in mental health circles that depression is a major cause of suicide.
According to various reports, both Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain suffered from depression.
A study of over 200 entrepreneurs and published in the Journal of Small Business Economics, shows that “mental health differences directly or indirectly affected 72% of the entrepreneurs.”
These entrepreneurs also reported experiencing more depression – 30% more – than comparison participants.
The truth is staring us straight in the face.
More entrepreneurs are stressed and depressed. More entrepreneurs are ending their lives.
This is unacceptable. It’s heart-breaking.
It probably could have been avoided.
The World Is Wrong
On the outside, entrepreneurs are a positive, upbeat group. But on the inside, they’re highly stressed. All-the-time.
How could they not be?
When your success or failure rides on the next product launch, when the fate of your entire company comes down to a single decision…
It’s hard to not feel stretched to the max every single day.
To cope, most entrepreneurs work longer and with more intensity than anyone else.
Elon Musk isn’t alone when it comes to sleep deprivation and working 120-hour weeks.
The Los Angeles Times reports that PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi regularly pulls 20-hour days and that former President and CEO of Yahoo Marissa Mayer used to work 130-hour weeks when she started out at Google.
Entrepreneurs seem to have unbelievable skills and abilities to survive this rocky road to success, and they’re applauded for it.
The world sees them as heroes.
They hold them up as superhuman.
The world is wrong.
Like A Toilet
In her memoir about her father Steve Jobs —possibly the most successful and innovative entrepreneur in history — Lisa Brennan-Jobs says that just before he died, Jobs told her that she smelled “like a toilet.”
It’s been widely reported that for years, he refused to accept he was Lisa’s father even after a DNA test came up positive.
And he offered his daughter and her mother almost no financial support…
Even after he made it big with Apple.
For most entrepreneurs, Jobs is a hero.
But there is nothing heroic about focusing on your goals to the point of damaging your personal relationships and hurting those closest to you.
There is nothing superhuman about destroying who you are and all that you love for the sake of your company.
I refuse to back the idea that the road to success must come at unthinkable personal cost…
And if achieving incredible success without destroying your health and relationships seems undoable or unrealistic, think again.
Success Without (Crazy) Sacrifice
Co-founder and CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, meditates 30 minutes a day.
Richard Branson tries to be in bed by 11pm so he can get a full night’s sleep.
Mark Cuban works out 60 minutes a day almost every day.
Bill Gates takes a personal 7-day retreat, 2 times a year to read and meditate on new ideas.
You can become a major success story without crazy sacrifices…
You don’t have to give up your mental and physical health…
Or your personal happiness.
What you do need to do is ditch the “hustle and grind ‘till you drop” method now.
Think about why you became an entrepreneur or why you want to become one.
You want to be of service to others and live in congruence with your values.
You want financial independence…
And most of all, you want the one thing all entrepreneurs dream of…
Freedom to live life on your terms and do what you love with the people you love.
Remember this when you think about skipping your best friend’s wedding or your daughter’s birthday.
Remember the names of the incredible, talented entrepreneurs we lost when you think about pulling yet another all-nighter even though your body and mind are screaming for rest.
Success without giving up everything you want, need and love…
It’s more than possible.
It’s what you deserve as an ambitious, creative entrepreneur.
Your first step is to reinvent the road to success…
And then make the choice to take it.
How are you shaping your road to success? Share with us in the comments below.