At the point of near exhaustion last Friday on day nine of a 10 day trip, I got a second wind and became super-excited when talking to Becky, our Operations Specialist, about her new responsibilities managing our marketing projects. I was so happy she was stepping up and taking control. As she was talking I was almost in tears of joy, until I realized I was completely turned around—I'd driven to Marina Del Rey instead of Playa Del Rey...I could see the lights of Playa Del Rey in the distance but there was water in front of me.
My day started in NYC at 3:45 a.m. ET (12:45 a.m. PT), continued on a six hour JetBlue flight, and ended after a seven hour event in LA at 9 p.m. after finding food. Becky asked me how I did it and it suddenly dawned on me:
I drive with the cougar in the car.
If you have not seen Talledaga Nights where Ricky Bobby is in the car with the cougar—watch it.
I am not driven by money or the possibility of success or fame. At this point it's fear of failure. Not because I would personally fail, but because I would let so many others down: Investors, Trakers, supporters, and clients.
Brad Feld wrote on suicide recently and I was of course saddened. That sadness turned to shock when I read that I knew one of the men in the article who took his own life. It made me think hard about fear vs. depression. I have not been depressed while being CEO of Traklight but I watch for the signs. I live with the fear and do a worst case scenario analysis when faced with adversity: "What is my bottom-of-the-barrel scenario?" I am lucky that my husband will indulge my rants and scenarios plus role playing. I run so much by him and he is my rock.
I try to find the silver lining always. It is a much better way to live. But I also limit my interaction with negative people. Also I have a theory that when you have a bad day or series of events, it's actually good because something amazing will happen—waiting for the other shoe to be picked up (or delivered from zappos!). :)
You may read this and think that I am delusional, and you may be correct, but that's what it takes for me to be a professionally persistent CEO driven in our pursuit to have companies capture all their potential value with our software.
My motto: It's hard to beat someone who never gives up. But It's rough being an entrepreneur, and at times can be lonely, because while you can have personal relationships with your team, as CEO I cannot be everyone's friend. My husband and I have recently become empty nesters along with many friends that I know (which can be an even greater feeling of isolation), many of which are taking up hobbies and getting pets to fill the void. Me? I have a startup instead, but hey, 50 is the new 40!
In the meantime, I will continue to lead while driving with the fear in the backseat. Maybe one day that fear can be in the trunk with a cute, mischevious monkey.
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