Some of us just assume that our family has your back. I am here to tell you that sharing the journey with them is better than hiding your fears and concerns. Here are a few things (taken from an email post to a bunch of my entrepreneur friends) you might share with your family:

  1. Win or lose, I am counting on your support
  2. I am scared about failing you.
  3. I am scared equally about being a failure.
  4. I have frequent guilt about the time away from them.
  5. I think about the business just about every minute of the day.
  6. I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about the details.
  7. I second-guess almost very decision at least once per day.
  8. I have no idea how to answer, "how was your day today?"
  9. I am mentally exhausted.
  10. I know I should exercise more but the pressure to spend more time on the business seems to trump that idea every time.
  11. When I am on my game I feel like a King.
  12. Yes, it looks like I'm just reading the newspaper again, but actually I'm semi-consciously shuffling through dozens of challenges (problems, threats, opportunities), many of which can't even be articulated yet.
  13. As a startup founder, I do not think about what is next job wise.
  14. When I am around other startup founders I feel like I am part of a club built just for me.
  15. When I am talking to people outside of the entrepreneurship space, I feel like I am speaking a different language
  16. When I am not in the club, I feel awkward, neurotic, or impatient. I may come across negatively in social situations where stable jobs carry more cache.
  17. It's not very easy and in fact seems almost impossible some days.
  18. It takes the same amount of emotional toll as raising the family.
  19. It drives more self-awareness than anything I have ever been through.
  20. I get really lonely on all of those airplane trips away from home.
  21. As compared to a large business, when I stop working the business--the business stops. That burden is huge.
  22. I feel like I am "on" all day when in business mode, which makes it really hard to be "on" when I get home.
  23. The outer confidence is frequently a lie.
  24. Being responsible for my employee's salaries (and lives and well being) is a larger burden than my own salary and well being.
  25. The lows are pretty low--lower than I have ever felt before and I wonder if I am medically depressed some days.
  26. I feel like I am an imposter on many days.
  27. I can't imagine doing anything else but this right now.
  28. I will be, or at least appear to be, selfish to the family even when I am being selfless - i.e., "the company" or "the team" will trump most everything else.
  29. It will take 5 times as long as expected to get to the payoff for all of the hard work.

Not exhaustive and overlapping, these thoughts represent the feelings of startup founders from across the US. See yourself in any of these. Go ahead and share these with the people that are important to you.

Published on: Aug 20, 2015