You are not alone.
Right now I’m living in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and the weather is beautiful, and I look outside (over our attractive park) and feel nothing about it but, “Meh.”
I know I should try to enjoy it before we leave — for 2.5 months — but I can’t. I can’t bring myself to leave the sofa, much less the apartment.
I’m looking at the brand spanking new version of Charm that we deployed to our beta customers yesterday, and I want to love it. I want to feel proud of all the work and suffering that’s paid off.
But I don’t. I don’t love it, and I don’t feel proud.
Today, all I can see is what’s wrong with it. Bugs. Awkwardness. Missing features. Frustration. I want to punch it.
I’m scared that we’ll miss our August launch. (There’s no reason to worry about that, but I won’t let that stop me.) I’m deeply anxious that after all this, after all the work — we’ve been building it for a year now — and the reworking, and the research, that I’ll turn out to be wrong.
That people won’t want it.
That my “revolutionary” interface designs, that I struggled with for months, are so much gilding on a self-indulgent pile of crap.
And that very thought, of course, leads straight to another nauseating tug on my heart: that Charm won’t cover its own monthly costs any time soon. That we won’t make back our investment. That it may turn out to be nothing but a giant sink of time and money, and we’ll struggle, and I’ll be incredibly embarrassed because hey, here I go trying to teach other people how to duplicate my success. What would I do with such an obvious flop?
That alone be enough to ruin anyone’s day, but I never do anything by half-measures. There’s something else.
A sickly, whispering little doubt that maybe all this growth is a mistake.
Bigger, more involved projects, renting an office, hiring a team… today, it’s making me feel trapped. With a team, with more important products, comes responsibility. I can’t just skip out whenever I want or work whatever hours I want. Straightjacketed. Stuck. Doomed.
Maybe, that nasty little doubt whispers, we have doomed ourselves to a workaday existence by our own hand.
But wait, there’s more.
We had a bug in our (human) email workflow last week. Some people’s emails slipped thru the cracks. Then they thought we were ignoring them and got angry. On a good day, I can handle this with no problem, soothing bruised egos with expert skill.
This is not a good day.
I’m antsy with guilt and shame. It makes my fingers curl. I want to hide under a rock, or maybe a pillow, and not come out.
And the money situation. We did too much too fast. I have gotten too used to having a large padding that hand-waving “of course we can” has become my modus operandi.
Now I am paying the price in muscle twitches.
And fat checks I have to write to certain government agencies.
I know, intellectually, that our financials are not dire. I have a plan for fixing it — and, because we have assets in the form of existing products, I can fix it. But not by tomorrow or next week.
So I’ve had to write one email after another, asking the freelancers we work with to hold off on doing new work. Juggling. Canceling stuff we were gonna do. And today I had to nix plans to hire a certain consultant. He would have started today.
Not only am I bummed out by the fact that we have to grind these projects to a halt, but oh, the guilt.
So yeah. Today? Not so great.
I suppose I “know” that it will pass. It has every other time. But it sure as hell doesn’t feel like it. It feels like the weight will never lift and that this, the way I’m seeing things now, is truth.
There’s nothing useful in this post. No action steps for you to take. No suggestions on how you, too, can avoid feeling like this. This is just the way it is sometimes. As far as I can tell, it happens no matter how awesome my circumstances may be, no matter how much I love my work. Like the weather. Maybe it doesn’t “mean” anything, but that’s cold comfort when it sure as hell feels like it.
But if any of this sounds familiar, at least you know you’re not alone.Tweet