I have a confession.
I was high for a week straight.
I know, it sounds crazy, right?! Well it was. I was up at all hours, I couldn’t stop talking, I was deliriously happy, and I barely ate. I was literally vibrating with thoughts and emotions for a whole week.
It was intense and incredible and life-changing. And, you want to know the craziest part? It wasn’t drug induced. I had my first entrepreneurial high, and I’m itching for another one.
Startup Side Effects
There’s a reason for serial entrepreneurship. There’s a reason why people will spend years building a business making hardly any money and working crazy hours. Entrepreneurship is a drug, and if you’re the right combination of ambitious dreamer and actionable doer, watch out because it’s going to get you hooked.
There’s a reason that striking business brilliance mirrors an induced high. It’s because in those moments of innovation and clarity everything is totally aligned; we’re crystal clear on our mission.
My Entrepreneurship Fix
For me, my best (and longest) entrepreneurial high hit when I came up with the concept for my business. It played out like this…
After finding “it” I was buzzing with energy. Every cell in my body was saying “Yes! Finally! This is it!” The clarity was undeniable. It was physical. Visceral.
With everything else I’d done, I always felt like a second rate version of someone else. I would see someone else’s website, content, email blast or program and think, “Ugh. Why didn’t I think of that? That’s so much better than what I’ve got going on.”
Now that I had found “it”, I felt completely liberated from the notion of competition. It was completely irrelevant. I had no doubt that I could be the best because I decided to put my whole self into it.
Not part of me. Not a version of me.
Not a cleaned-up, toned down, yogified version of myself. Me. Cocktail-drinking, sarcastic humor, sassiness, logic and all.
I couldn’t help myself—I had to work on it.
Your “it” gives you a lens through which you see the world in a radically new, brilliantly clear way. I just kept saying to myself “How could I not see this before?” It was so painfully obvious. It was staring me in the face.
That super intense high-on-everything feeling lasted a week.
When the Thrill is Gone
That led to seven days of working crazy hours (sitting at my laptop writing copy at 3am after lying awake since 2am because I literally could not turn my brain off), missing meals, talking about me and my ahhh-mazing idea to anyone who would listen, and not being able to think about anything else.
In that week I rebranded everything—my website, newsletter, Facebook page, Twitter profile, LinkedIn, Instagram, blog, bio, head shot, monthly webisode. Everything.
Yes, in 1 week. I was a madwoman. A glorious, on-fire madwoman.
During that entrepreneurial high, my brain was on 24/7, and my eyes were bloodshot from staring at my computer screen. I was a mess. But, I felt great.
I felt like nothing could stop me. This was my new norm. This is where I wanted to live forever.
Then, I got sick.
I was sicker than I had been in a long time. Nausea, sore throat, fever, chills, fatigue (obviously). It hit hard and fast, I felt awful and had to stay in bed (or close to it) for the first 24 hours.
In all, the sickness lingered a few days, and as I recovered, I noticed the constant overpowering buzz had faded to a subtle hum. My motivation was there, yes, but not waking me up at 2am (probably a good thing). My vision was still clear, but the edges were a little fuzzy.
I thought to myself, “Where did my high go? And, more importantly, how can I get it back?!”
After bumming around for a couple of days, something hit me—I realized it’s not meant to be sustained.
We can’t function like that. We can’t possibly keep our energy at that level for too long. If we do, we get sick. Or, if we don’t succumb to physical illness, perhaps we’d go insane.
Chase It with Passion
No, unfortunately for us high-seekers, it’s not meant to be sustained. It’s meant to be chased.
That’s what keeps us going. That’s what keeps us working on our businesses, honing our mission, serving the people we’re meant to serve. We’re looking for the high. We’re chasing it. We need it.
And just when you think that maybe it was all a dream, that you couldn’t have been that happy, that clear or that aligned, it strikes again.
And just like that, you know that you’ve found it. And it’s more insanely beautiful and intense than you could have ever imagined.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Cailen Ascher is a recovered serial entrepreneur who helps entrepreneurs align their purpose and their business. She’s been spotlighted on Gary Vaynerchuk’s Q&A and was the 2014 Gold Stevie Award winner for Young Female Entrepreneur. Her online teachings have helped 1000s create purpose-full businesses. For weekly lessons visit CailenAscher.com. Connect with @cailenascher on Twitter.
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