Running with scissors


Maybe I should have titled this ‘running with a barbell overhead.’
So we know by now that I don’t handle lack of sleep well. That last weekend was a massive sleep deprivation nightmare, followed up by a late night plane trip back to Cape Town where I was so exhausted that I couldn’t even understand the telecoms industry report I was trying to read. So exhausted that I bought a chocolate bar for the sugar rush. Not so much because I needed it to stay awake, but because I was so tired I couldn’t think, and there is nothing worse than three hours of boredom while waiting for your plane because you can’t understand your reading material.
I knew I was back in town when I was driving down De Waal Drive thinking about unit margins.
Two days of competition and my body was fine by Tuesday. My adrenals were not. I tried to train Wednesday, despite a severe lack of motivation, and as a result ripped both my hands open. At least when I woke up the next day still with no desire to train I took the day off. Finally Friday I had a proper training day.
Monday night’s acupuncture left me something approaching woozy. I don’t even remember what else happened that evening. Who needs alcohol when you have adrenal fatigue? You can also get that room spinning vibe from doing cartwheels, I discovered.
Bloody competition. That week after Regionals is going to be interesting, especially since I’ll be in Dakar, Senegal for part of it. My first trip to Africa! Thank goodness for long plane rides on which to catch up on sleep.
So, training is a balance. You must balance between training not hard enough and too hard, between training all around and working on your weaknesses.
Work is the same thing. You must balance a lot of different things. What I am trying to do right now is a balance of management, systems design, sales, product management, business & channel development, product marketing, branding, human resources, and goodness only knows what all else. I am lucky that I have a committed team and some awesome vendors, one of which has endeared itself to me even further by sending me unsolicited awesome insights.
So one of the teams at the competition (oddly, not the one that nearly injured me for life), was apparently yanking the 45kg barbell overhead and then using the barbell’s momentum to pull them forward (it was supposed to be an overhead carry). A little bit dangerous, right? Well, that’s kind of how I feel sometimes. Life of a small company CEO in a fast-changing, very competitive industry.
Bryony was saying something about how soccer players’ bodies get all messed up because of the constant, sharp changes of direction. Think: you have all this momentum going one way, then suddenly you have to change. That’s the very definition of stress. Now of course, the bigger they are, the harder they fall, too.
I woke up a few times in the week a bit suddenly. The one morning I dreamed I was hugging someone and it was the best feeling in the world because there was love, and support, and everything was going to be ok. Then I woke up. It’s that old double-sided inverted pyramid thing that Riaan and I commiserate about. Not that you’d want it any other way, but man it’s tough sometimes always having to be the one with all the answers.
It’s this independent streak in me. I do NOT like to be told what to do; we know that. But sometimes, and only sometimes, I wish I had someone I could just tell everything to who would help me share the burden. Or, so says my subconscious.
Maybe it’s also the wake of the Boston bombings. It was surreal in a way to be watching my old home on lockdown, on TV, from Johannesburg. South Africa. Seeing the trees do their springtime thing, and my friends post photos of cherry blossoms and status updates of ‘I’m ok.’ Hectic; perhaps more so than I let myself admit.
Anyway amongst all the frenzied activity, I’ve discovered something that needs to be re-prioritised. I also have an interesting balancing act to do. Something like the overhead kettlebell pistols I’ve been practicing. Those are funny because I can get down but then I fall over backwards.
I think the highlight of the week, in a way, was spending quality time with Doug & Henk, who is briefly in town. Great feedback from the both of them; mostly positive and encouraging but some critical, and that’s good. The only way to keep yourself from fooling yourself is to have someone there to point out the stuff you don’t want to see. It was excellent also to hang out with Henk at the 27dinner. Last time we’d done that was August, before I started. Seems like a lifetime ago.
This week also held the 88mph Demo Day, which led to some other very interesting discussions with friends old & new. It’s amazing the great ideas other people contribute to your business if you just take the time to listen!
Speaking of time, this would have been awesome vacation weather. Indian Summer that I thought was gone was back with a vengeance. It was 30 degrees some of the days in the week. Insanity. It’s like summer days in the middle of autumn, and you really appreciate them at this time of year.
Hey there’s a lot to appreciate. I remember when Nathan used to bang on about appreciative inquiry, which I suppose I kind of think of as ‘building on strengths for children who can’t take criticism like grownups do.’ Not that there’s nothing to the ‘sandwich’ theory of giving constructive criticism, or nothing to be gained from focusing on your strengths as well as your weaknesses.
But you know what they say? Every cloud has a silver lining, and every silver lining has a cloud.
The glass isn’t half empty or half full. It’s both.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, but neither did it rot in a day.
Maybe drama queens have been annoying me recently. Keep calm & carry on.
  • “Ellie! Your eyes! What happened to you??” – Bronwyn
  • “What’s nice about it is that it’s not just a meaningless graphic.” – David
  • “And if you really don’t trust them, send them a .jpg.” – David
  • “If we can’t figure out Microsoft Word, we shouldn’t be installing your Wi-Fi.” – Ellie
  • “The mind sometimes can’t understand the body.” – Byron
  • “I’m still going to send you some reasons. I couldn’t think of any more on Friday.” – Stefan
  • “We don’t want them to run out of Mikrotiks too.” – Tim
  • “I think South Africa runs on hope.” – Henk
  • “I sold him a firewall five minutes later.” – Jon
  • “It looks like one of those safety manuals you have in the back of the airline pocket.” – Jeff
  • “Here’s your hug!”  – Mike (I wish…)
  • “Ellie! It could have broken your shin in half!” – Tash
  • “Don’t worry about competition.” – Michael
  • “I thought all girls liked doing their hair.” – a CrossFit newbie
  • “Well, you look good training.” – same newbie
  • “Why would you want to do a triple under?” – Graham (why indeed!)
  • “CrossFitters are masochists.” – Louise
  • “When I can you know I will.” – David
  • “When I say pornography I mean data.” – Georgina
  • “Did you hear us?” – Tim
  • “I’m tired.” “You’re a startup CEO!” – Ellie & Justin
  • “I also waited until the last minute because I’m passive aggressive like that.” – Ellie
  • “If I’d known it was with ________, I would have dressed more nicely!” “I think your talking does the dressing for you.” – Ellie & Adam
  • “Too early for a high five?” – Adam (apparently my talking did the trick)
  • “And I never shot a bird again.” – Elan
  • “Something about how we must never fool ourselves.” “But we all fool ourselves, all the time.” “True.” – Jo & Ellie 

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