Sleep when you’re successful…?

I have a love/hate relationship with a lot of ‘entrepreneurial literature’. Or really any entrepreneurial content. It’s usually written by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. It’s usually aimed at getting you fired up and motivated about having your own business and making it wildly successful. 

That’s all fabulous. I drink it up. Until they start to talk about the hard work required.

Now OF COURSE you have to work incredibly hard as an entrepreneur, especially when you are getting your start up started. You need to build momentum to get it off the ground.

And OF COURSE you have to warn people about this and emphasise that having your own business is not all cocktails by the pool while your sales roll in.

But often the version of ‘hard work’ some people are advocating is mental.

Serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuck famously tells people that there are ‘no excuses’ for not building your side hustle while working full time, because you can work on it from 7pm – 2am each night, then get up in the morning and go off to your day job.

Youtube vlogger and film maker Casey Neistat blogged about his daily routine, where he too works on his side hustle (the video blog) until 2am each night.

It doesn’t help that Gary Vaynerchuck has an estimated net worth of $160 million and Casey Neistat sold his business to CNN for $25 million in 2016. These guys have credibility and they have massive followings.

But the corporate and entrepreneurial worlds are littered with the burnt out husks of people who have devoted themselves to the idea that working longer and longer hours is the way to get ahead. These are people who are often working until 2am and can’t sustain it. Because no one can.*

But so many of us are trying to pretend.

Now, there might be crunch times where you choose to work late for a very short and finite time. But the strategy of sleep-deprivation that Vaynerchuk and Neistat espouse leads to greater success in the VERY VERY short-term…at best.

To do it as a habit is not the path to the top. It’s the path to burn out and worse. (Arianna Huffington is the most prominent sleep reformer currently publicising the horrific impacts of long-term sleep deprivation on health and performance. Check out her book ‘Thrive’ for more.)

For world class performance that has longevity you need to have habits that are sustainable. You need to have habits that allow you for rest and recovery, so that you can be super focused when you are working.

So what are your habits for rest and recovery? How are they serving you?

And do you have help to change and/or sustain them?

*Correction: very very few people can.  If you can sleep for only a few hours a night and suffer no impact on your health or performance at work, you are a rare statistical anomaly. Most probably there are severe negative impacts on your health and work, but they just haven’t shown up yet.


Posted to Habits on 3rd April 2018