When you’re out there working hard trying to build a company from scratch, you’re probably living on cafeine and candy, making long hours. It’s the drive you have, the longing to build something new, something better, something that might change the world, that keeps you going. You welcome it into your life, for without it you would have given up some time ago or not have started at all. But what if that same drive is exactly the reason why things are going slower than you had hoped for?
Not enough drive – or too much?
In his 2009 Ted Talk, Dan Pink described what it takes to really motivate people. Since then (and long before that) numerous thinkers, consultants and authors zoomed in on what Pink calls ‘Drive’: how do you get people to work really hard to achieve the goals you want them to achieve. But what if ‘drive’ – or at least too much of it – is actually the problem and not the solution?
Sometimes it’s better to halt
Running a business that aims to make a difference indeed requires a drive to make a real contribution. Without that motivation, most startups would die long before they even got a chance to present themselves to the world. And to be honest, that is actually what happens to most businesses. So drive is really essential to business growth, no arguing there.
But the thing is, drive is also what keeps you going even when it’s better to stop. And here’s what most startups don’t realize: there are plenty of reasons to come to a halt every now and then. Actually, if you want to run your business successfully, you should do that quite often. Here’s several reasons why.
1. Pausing will make you go faster
Whenever we talk to our clients here at Curbn, it’s clear: they keep pushing it. They want to solve the puzzle, deliver real value, finish the job or… There’s an endless list of reasons why they are motivated to stay on the job, even when they feel tired.
And here’s where it gets tricky: when you’re tired, you really should pause. Take a break and recharge. The one thing you should NOT do, is keep going.
It’s understandable that you’re inclined to keep working when you know you’re on a deadline and there’s some much to do. But there’s actually plenty of scientific evidence that taking breaks, lunch breaks as well as short breaks in between, will actually save you time. You will simply be able to think faster, as your brain is being recharged, increasing your focus and therefore increasing your speed.
2. Find better solutions
Not only will taking regular breaks improve your attention, it will also boost your creativity and problem solving skills. Studies have shown that as soon as your mind powers down, the so called Default Network becomes active. It’s involved in blocking distractions, increasing mental flexibility and helps you connecting seemingly unrelated neural links.
So, your brain automatically starts connecting the dots while you do… nothing. Once you know that, you also understand why the best ideas seem to come while you’re in the shower.
3. Prevent mistakes
Fatigue is definitely the number one cause for making mistakes, ranging from buying that new gadget even though you’re almost broke to decisions leading to some of the biggest disasters this world has seen. Life (and especially startup life) really is all about priorities. And unless you’re sharp as a knife, you’re likely to set the wrong ones.
Just think about all the choices you have to make, about how to spend your money, what actions or processes should be handled first and thus how you spend your time. But it’s also about what people to hire, what tools to use and so on. Making the right decisions is essential for your future as a startup. Instead of helping you pave the way and make faster progress, making the wrong decisions will not only cost you money, they might cost you everything.
Curb your drive
So, the next time you feel tired and still want to push on, think again. Resist that temptation, curb your drive and take moment to do… really nothing. Believe us, it’s the best way to clear the brain fog and grow your business fast.