For a while, I got a little bit disconnected from Simplifilm. My throughput dropped off, and I was busy but rarely truly productive. Over this past weekend I’ve come around and gotten though it. I wasn’t exactly depressed, but I was certainly disorganized and I was certainly disconnected.
This meant that things didn’t get handled, starting with sales and spilling in all sorts of areas. It was probably due to moving from being a practitioner of sales to a sales manager. I think.
But things were harder than they had to be. I dropped a few balls, and I didn’t have what I usually have – the ability to see things and drive the nail all. the. way. in.
I woke up tired and went to bed worried. I can’t share that worry with anyone because what good does it do? A man must walk alone. And these are first world problems.
Brad Feld talks a lot about Depression.
Again – not quite saying I was depressed, but overwhelmed. And what’s the damned difference anyway?
It was something like his 80/20 rule, Brad mentions here. At Simplifilm, I’m the guy that writes the checks, collects, writes the business…handles payroll there was some sort of balance that got lost. I was in administrivia mode mostly because I’d just moved the office and moved my house after being literally on the road for 3 months. I always had overhang because we had to surf the payables since revenue growth was falling behind. Writing a check to a vendor is important and necessary, and it takes time. But truly, it doesn’t make our company better.
That stuff needed to happen but still, things slipped:
- I regained 20 of 50 pounds that I lost. The gain was ridiculously fast (10 of it at Disneyland in a day, it seems).
- Simplifilm’s revenues stagnated (didn’t go backwards, but we added staff and expected another big pop that didn’t happen).
- I became churlish.
- Paperwork backed up.
- My own sales went from 4 per month to 2.
This was all borne of being busy with stuff, not knowing my role, moving around for a summer.
We also hired a sales staff, making my role less defined.
I fought hard to be hands off and to let them win or lose, I basically took 3 months to figure out what we have, personnel wise, and how to win with them, and I think I have a pretty good setup now (finally). My role as chief hustler morphed a little bit and the part of the job (the hunt) that I will forever love was taken away from me. I didn’t want to trample my new salespeople.
So this is where I was left. I was still functioning, but I wasn’t functioning at a level that would make Simplifilm enduring success that I dream of. It was a quarter of treading water. Of just sort of being there.
Like they say in wall street: a bunch of “one time charges,” but look, everything is a one time event. The ipad, iphone, etc. are all one off events.
Right now I put a good week in and I’ve ad a really peaceful weekend of getting caught up. No, I’m not all the way caught up but I feel like things are manageable. So here’s what I did (and what you can do).
- Reconnect with your profession. Mine is selling. Everything else is something I mostly dabble at. I had been away, and so I had to go sell stuff. I did. I sold this trailer. It took hustle and creativity to sell: I had 3 different entities invest in it, but it was a huge opportunity for us. Your takeaway: If you’re a designer, design. If you’re a writer, write. If you’re a coder, code. You will feel in control when you’re doing something cool and good. Do your job.
- Pay attention to your health. When everything is right, I’m working out I’m eating correctly. I do this and it brings me energy. When I’m off I’m letting my middle get fatter and saying ‘next time, next time, next time.’ I feel like I’ve regained a lot of lost fitness in 2 weeks. I’m not all the way back but I feel good.
- Read more. Reading is good practice, and reading an hour a day (at least) is better than crushing candy or whatever. It lets you think and participate without having to create. Yet it still provokes you imagination, and transports you and, and, and, and and…
- Don’t underestimate externalities: I underestimated how much time I’d need to recover from a summer away, from moving my residence. It took me a week or so to find the new normal.
- Learn a skill: the first 20 hours is an exceptional book. I’m learning Photoshop. I’ve worked on this stuff
- Feel grateful: The root of depression – as far as I am concerned- is self absorption. I was feeling overwhelmed, OMG I have to chase things down.
- Make a new friend: Doesn’t matter where they rank, there’s something good about talking to new people, something that allows you to describe & present the current version of your best self.
- Drop some tasks I’m going to die with stuff in my inbox. I’m going to die with a notice from the state of Pennsylvania that I have to comply with in 30 days. OR whatever. There is a lot I don’t have to do.
- Finish. Just. One. Part. Of. One. Thing: This is hard, way harder than you think, but finishing something, making a promise to yourself and others then keeping it is a big deal. It’s a start, and it’s the way away from a poor situation.
- Focus on daily deliverables. I’ll write for 30 minutes. I’ll make 5 sales calls. I’ll write 2 queries each day for 5 days. This is where I turned it around, when I had some. I wanted to have a day that ended with work I can perform.