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Issue #15: Sometimes It Sucks

Last week sucked. In fact, the last few weeks have been pretty rough. There's no other way to say it.

James Costa

June 20 · Issue #15 · View online
A batch of thoughts, resources, and motivation from a friendly digital agency owner delivered every Monday at 6am ET.

Last week sucked. In fact, the last few weeks have been pretty rough. There’s no other way to say it. I’ve been driving around a lot more which has cut significantly into my productivity and ability to sit down and work, and haven’t seemed to be able to sell anything in the last few weeks. I can’t blame it on any person or factor, though: it’s on me.
One of the things they don’t tell you is tough about running a business is the pressure. That pressure applies an unparalleled amount of anxiety that can be suffocating. We go through this mental battle every once in a while and go from loving work and our lives, to hating everything. We feel out of control and like we want to start over, or as though everything we’ve done is wrong. We tell ourselves “could have, should have, would have,” and feel alone. When we make decisions, we end up making short-sighted ones that hurt us later, and doubt ones we made before. It’s one of the toughest challenges I deal with.
For me, the main reason for this pressure is my team (a few of which read this (👋, I’m going to freak you out a bit)). I really care about my people. A lot of people say it because it’s the thing to say, but they’re truly my greatest worry and my greatest motivation. We’re at 9 full-time people right now (though hiring for a couple positions), and our payroll is sitting somewhere around $20k USD. This isn’t the largest payroll in the world, but it’s not something to scoff at either.
So, what’s the solution? There really isn’t one. There isn’t a magic button that cures all, or a life hack that’ll make it all better. But I attribute the mindset you need to shift to in these moments as being in the last leg of a big game. It’s make or break, win or lose. You’ve worked hard to get to where you’re at (whether or not you’ll admit it). You can sit down and admit defeat, or get on your feet and give it your all. I’d rather give it my all and say that I did. I’d rather make all of those around me who have believed in me and cheered for me more reason to do so. You need to give it an all-in mentality that pushes you over that hump and helps you to focus less on the anxiety and more on what’s ahead.
Life can suck. Sometimes it throws you a bit of a curve ball, or takes you off-path. We’re human, and it happens. What we need to learn from all of this is that it’s alright to say it’s tough. Saying something is tough isn’t giving up hope or admitting defeat. Internalizing that fear or anxiety is extremely dangerous. Saying it out loud and to others is motivating. Thank you for allowing me to externalize my anxiety for a moment and call it what it is.
Now, let’s make this week great.
P.S.: If you enjoyed this week’s issue, I’d really appreciate your support sharing this newsletter. Whether it’s a forward, a Twitter post, or hiring one of those airplanes that fly around with a message attached to them, it would mean the world to me.

Good Reads
I went on vacation and a funny thing happened — I didn’t do any work
Revamp Your Retrospectives
Tough News: We’ve Made 10 Layoffs. How We Got Here, the Financial Details and How We’re Moving Forward
Super shiny perfect customer service or you’re dead!
Lazy Leadership
Weekly Inspiration
“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.” ― Randy Pausch
In Closing
To all those dads reading, happy (belated) Father’s Day. I’m so inspired by the Fathers that I’m surrounded by, especially those in our industry fighting the good fight to be able to work hard and play hard. We don’t get enough credit, but I believe our kids recognize it and will learn from it. Which is more than I can say about Ronaldo hitting the post on a fucking penalty kick. 😭 🇵🇹
If you have any questions or I can help you in any way, all you have to do is respond to this email.
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