As a massive sports fan, I have all to often seen my favourite team either have all the Momentum and score freely, or have none of the momentum and be scored freely upon, sometimes in the same game! Until I started my entrepreneurial journey I didn’t actually appreciate what was happening.
The school term holidays have just finished here in Australia, and as someone who works from home, it was very disruptive having my two boys around all day. In fact, I ended up feeling like I was the one on holidays, constantly being interrupted to spend time with them. However, whenever I was speaking to my partner, and I would apologise for the noise or the interruption, he would simply say: “nothing to apologise for, enjoy this time while you have it and we aren’t busy”. And that’s the thing about momentum in the business world: you’re either too busy to get anything done, or you’re sitting around twiddling your fingers wondering what to do.
Momentum is (mostly) out of your control
Array went through a phase in late February/early March where things seemed to Slow down quite a lot: After the busy Charter Hall Bootcamp in early February, we had given up our co-share space (thanks Deskworx!), we thought we had completed our screen designs, and we didn’t really have many meetings lined up. This slowing down allowed me to spend some more time with my boys, for example taking them to the local park for them to shoot hoops or kick a football with (since this was the last weeks of daylight savings time and the evenings were still bright).
While I was indeed starting to stress out about why all our momentum from early February had dried up, I had to be mindful of the fact that I had this free time available for my children to spend with them.
All of a sudden, things picked up again, and we had a few new meetings, a few catch-ups with old contacts, and we drove forwards with our design again. Just like that things were looking a bit busier again. But why? What had changed that we had to slow down in March only to pick up again in April?
Momentum isn’t about you, it’s about the universe
As a member of the “I read the Alchemist because it’s great for startups” club (and you can read my thoughts on the book here), I realised that both Paul and I needed a bit of downtime/reflection through this period. He already had planned a trip back to New Zealand for a week to be with his daughter for her birthday, while I had my boys school holidays coming up where I needed to be available for them. Therefore, it was a great time for our work to be a bit quiet, and allow us the flexibility of doing these things with our families.
So coming back to the quote: When you want something, all the universe conspires to help you achieve it. I see momentum as being a part of that. If you are clear on what you are wanting, then part of achieving it will include slow periods where you can focus on other things, not just your work.
If you focus only on your work, you will drive yourself crazy in the times when you aren’t busy, and all you will think is that the lack of momentum is a permanent thing, which will drive your anxiety through the roof.
But if you take a step back, and look at what is going on in the rest of your life outside of work, perhaps this slowdown is there for a reason, for you to focus on something more important in the short term. And once that has received the attention it needs, then your work will pick up again!
Use your downtime productively
If things are going slow in your business, use that time to focus on other things that you derive satisfaction from. Read a book, watch a movie, catch up with friends, exercise more, go to a yoga class, anything! Think about this as a small ‘vacation’ for you to rejuvenate yourself for the next big momentum wave coming. The universe wants you to be refreshed to be able to take on the next big challenge.
If you have to focus on work, flick through your contact list and reach out to someone for a catch up (now that you have the time for a coffee!), you never know where it will lead. Otherwise read up on your industry, or review your business plan, or worse, get your finances in order!
What are some of the things you do in your slower times? How do you refresh your mind and body for the next wave?
How to deal with the ebbs and flows of momentum in your startup was originally published in The Ascent on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.