Sleepless nights

As I write this, it’s been about 37 hours since I last slept.

For almost as long as I can remember I’ve had trouble getting to sleep; staying asleep has never been an issue though.

Every couple of months or so, there will be a night that’s worse than usual. For the love of all that is holy, I will not be able sleep. I can typically trace the restlessness: I’m excited about progress made on a project; I’m looking forward to digging my teeth into a new project the following day; I’ve hit a problem I haven’t found a good solution for; my mind’s revisiting the past; or, as is currently the case, my brain in making the most of the quiet dark room to unearth those little what-ifs? and poke them with a stick.

Readership, the first product my recently formed company is building, solves a common problem in a way I believe to be better than other solutions out there. The confidence in this and other ideas going around inside my head is what led me to starting my own company in the first place. Confidence doesn’t mean there aren’t doubts though. To me, having doubts is the line between confidence and arrogance. Arrogance is all-consuming, it conceals the cracks, always bringing focus back to itself and as such has no place in business. If you can’t see the cracks, how are you supposed the fix them.

The what-ifs? going through my mind at the moment are what if Readership is a flop, what if I’ve poured months of work into a project that generates no revenue, what if when the time comes to cut the ribbon, the walls come tumbling down.

I know why they’ve surfaced too. My ideal date for 1.0 has come and gone, and there’s still work to be done before reaching that particular milestone.

Looking at these what-ifs? logically in the light of day reveals reasonable answers to sensible doubts however. What if Readership is a flop? Well the project’s already passed the point where it can be considered a complete failure as it’s taught me so much in such a short amount of time. What if it generates no revenue? Well then I’ll look for employment somewhere else again, perhaps doing something the project has taught me. I tried though, and I refuse to feel less of myself for trying but failing, as long as I know in my heart of hearts that I gave it all I had at the time. The key to falling down is getting back up, that’s no secret.

I don’t think there’s a human being ever to have walked the earth that hasn’t, at some point, doubted. Doubts can be work related or personal. They can keep us up at night, cause us to grind our teeth subconsciously during the day or turn our hair grey by the time we’re 32.

Worrying gives us something to do but doesn’t get us anywhere. I find it best to acknowledge doubt, and then be proactive about it. If it’s valid, do everything you can to work against it. If it isn’t though, write down why whilst your rational brain is in control (as I happen to be doing here). You can then point yourself towards that writing the next time that that doubt is poked with a stick.

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