I am in a growth spurt, just like my toddler. My favorite entrepreneurial clothes, which fit perfectly yesterday, are ridiculously small today. Ideas are moving faster than my attention span can handle. I need more rest, yet I'm overstimulated by all the possibilities now. I've outgrown my past and am stretching hard to build my future. "Comfortable" is a word I haven't used in a very, very long time.
You could argue that entrepreneurs are always in a growth spurt, but that's not really true. You cannot always be expanding, changing and breaking your foundation, and as much as our ego wants us to believe we're always pushing boundaries, it isn't possible to be in a continual state of growth. In fact, not pausing to evaluate can actually hurt our progress. No, a growth spurt is when you are expanding your customer base to a new demographic, you are pivoting your company to a new arena or you are moving your business to another level. It is scary, frustrating and exhilarating.
I see it every day when I am with my toddler, just as I see it every day when I look at myself in the mirror. Here's how I take care of both of us:
Feed yourself well: You don't know what you're doing anymore, so everything takes more time and energy than planned. Let's face it: There is a certain amount of autopilot that happens when we have a good rhythm going. Now, that rhythm is gone.
Like a growing child, your appetite is absolutely insatiable. In the past six months since selling my startup, I have read more books, been more thoughtful and asked more questions than any other time in recent memory. Why? I'm spending every moment figuring out how the hell to structure this next phase. My brain needs to be fed.
Give space: Similar to my son, you need an unusual amount of space to grow. Unlike him, however, you already have responsibilities, obligations and patterns that can keep me from growing into better opportunities. For you, me and other adults, we gain space by saying No. A lot. (Actually, that's not too different from a toddler, either.)
It wasn't until well after I transformed from journalist to entrepreneur that I realized how much I needed to remove from my life: From restructuring my relationships to chucking out outdated ideas. To flip Shonda Rhimes' recent TED Talk, creating a Year of No is one of the best things you can do for your business.
Follow desire: What risks did you want to take now that you were too afraid or unable to take before? The beautiful part about instability is that one smart, calculated risk could be as disruptive as two or three calculated risk - no matter how many changes you make, you know you will never be the previous person again. The past is gone and cannot be rewound. The previous rules don't apply anymore. Passion is your only clear compass.