Since we came back from Los Angeles six weeks ago, I have been going harder than any time that I can remember. I’ve had many days when I start with a breakfast at 7am and end with a dinner that wraps at 11pm. Two weeks ago, I gave speeches at three evening events. Last week, I had dinner functions four nights in a row. My workout routine is in shambles and I am not getting enough sleep. I am posting less thoughtful stuff here at AVC. I am three weeks behind on email. Even the CEOs of our portfolio companies are not getting replies from me. That never happens and cannot happen. This weekend I got the notice from my body that I need to slow down. It always happens to me when I’m going too hard. I feel like I’ve got the flu even when I don’t.

Some of this is because I put off a number of things when we were in LA and I’ve been trying to make them up now that I’m back in NYC. I’ve been doing a lot more meetings at USV, I’ve been doing a lot more fundraising for CS4All. I’ve been catching up with business relationships that I didn’t see when I was in LA.

Some of this is because I’ve taken on a bunch of new projects without closing down any. I’ve done this a number of times in my career and it always bites me. I should say no to new things unless and until I can wrap up old things. But I have a bias to say yes and I sometimes break this rule. And then I pay the price.

Finding balance is hard for me. I have tried blocking out slots in my schedule. And then I override them and use these slots to book last minute meetings that come up. I have tried working from home on fridays. And then I allow myself to get scheduled back to back to back on calls and videoconferences. I have tried to not work on weekends. But then the stuff I couldn’t get to during the week finds itself on my to do list on the weekends. I have tried to not do work stuff at night. And then I get talked into doing it.

I am committing myself to getting things back in balance. I am going to get back on my workout routine. I am going to cancel a bunch of evening events. I am going to cut down or cut out public speaking. I am going to sleep longer and better. And I am going to start going to the beach where I always find and keep down time.

I tell you all of this because writing it down publicly will help me commit to it. And because you may get a no from me when you ask to meet me or get me on a call. And because you might see less of me out and about, talking, speaking, being.

My friend (and AVC community member) Kirk calls dieting “lockdown”. I am going on lockdown on work/life balance and I’m going to find more life and a bit less work. I need to.

#life lessons

Comments (Archived):

  1. William Mougayar

    Funny I was thinking the same about you, but didn’t realize the glass was overflowing. Pace yourself! More golf won’t hurt either 😉 How long do you think it will take you to regain that balance?

    1. awaldstein

      We don’t regain much in life. We refind it anew with new twists.

      1. PhilipSugar

        I love that comment.

  2. JimHirshfield

    Looking forward to our breakfast meeting in 2026.

  3. Tom Labus

    Your partners can do some of the out front things that you do now. Younger partners can be out front too

    1. pointsnfigures


    2. LE

      As in politics people want the President to show up they don’t want the VP. A possible way around this is to create more stars at the firm and give them PR play so they become valuable and important. Tim Draper did this with Steve Jurvetson (or it happened that way regardless of what Tim intended).

      1. Tom Labus

        Maybe being out there will make them stars too

    3. ShanaC

      there aren’t any younger partners

      1. Tom Labus

        Hire one

        1. ShanaC

          they keep it small on purpose. chemistry.

  4. LIAD

    We’re all trapped in the same battle.Urge and need to create, achieve, succeed, take on challenges and be victorious butting against our urge and need just to be, to breath, to enjoy and feel at rest.Few find equilibrium for sustained periods. We oscillate between extremes. Flipping usually as result of a red warning light on one side or the other.We’re bad at self policing. Public commitments can work well. So too religious dogmaWise man once told me only way we know we’ve arrived at a destination is by stopping. If we never stop we never actually arrive anywhere. Constant moving is exhausting and unrewarding. Only by stopping can we appreciate the progress we’ve made, enjoy our achievements, enjoy our current location, and recharge for our next journey.

  5. pointsnfigures

    Turns out, this time of year it’s always like that. It seems like every city is having a startup week or pitch competition. Or, every college or university is having one. Fundraising meetings pick up because people want to do it before the summer.I find that when I lose control of my schedule like that, I don’t do anything well.

    1. LE

      It seems like every city is having a startup week or pitch competition.The expression is of course make hay when the sun shines. In business you never know what is around the corner. Fred’s situation is different than someone who is younger [1] or is re-inventing themselves obviously. His issue appears to be both enjoying what he does tremendously but also the need to stay relevant by finding the next big opportunity (my DX). [2] When you were trading I would imagine you worked all the hours that a trader would work. Both because you were younger and you could but because you wanted to and saw it as necessary to be able to earn a living and stay in the game.[1] When I was younger I worked to a point where my ex wife would constantly whine and want me at the pool with my young kids while we were at the shore. I would stay up in the room and work. I would drive back to the office on Sunday. And it was good that I did. Had I listened to her I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing now because that extra effort and dedication did matter and paid off.[2] Which he does through his marketing efforts, involvement, speeches, interviews and so on.

  6. William Mougayar

    In addition to writing it down, forgiving yourself can reduce the guilt you feel, and also help in getting back on track.

  7. Guy Lepage

    Touché. I too find balance to be the hardest thing for me. I have to work very hard at it. One of the things I’ve found to work well is public statements such as this. It’s not necessarily me wanting to tell the world what I’m doing but as you said, it holds myself accountable. It’s an instant mental switch. Seems to work well. Rest up and get well.

  8. sigmaalgebra

    Ah, it must be going around — for the past two months I’ve had non-stop independent exogenous interruptions!Sleep? The best stuff!This is one reason I don’t want to report to a BOD: The interruptions would gang up and slow the work, reporting to the BOD about it would make it worse, and the BOD would have an excuse to can my back side.

  9. JLM

    .You want a solution? Can you handle a solution? [Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men-ish voice here.] Yes, you can.Get an MBA assistant. The MBA assistant is like an aide-de-camp. You’re a general and you’ve earned an aide-de-camp.Get an admin assistant. Let the admin assistant conduct triage on your email, correspondence, and contacts. Let the admin assistant schedule every present you have to buy and have her/him (haha, no sexist labeling allowed, very PC) buy them two months in advance. [This is the kind of little stuff that can pay a huge dividend.][Note to Fred: If you want to rant about how busy you are and don’t get some assistance, then you are self-flagellating. Get the assist. You are literally buying time.]Block out your “model” calendar for a week, month, year. Just the big strokes, so you can see what time you really have available. Pure modeling to identify how much time you really have.Put in vacations first. Put in business travel next. Put in dinner with your beloved twice weekly. Put in working out. Put in a weekly massage — do this. Trust me on this. Weekly massage. Deep tissue with a bit of reflexology.Now, you have your template.Pick an iron clad time to get up and an iron clad time to go to bed.Prioritize the demands on your time — investing, boardmembering, fundraising, blogging, reading. Whatever the Hell it is, write them down in a priority. Make a deal with yourself that this IS your priority.Then, begin to tinker around the edges.Delegate everything you can. Start out easy and then become a madman. When you delegate, create a “suspense” file with your MBA assistant whereby they come back to you with the list in a set period of time.Drop some stuff. Identify the bottom 10% of stuff you do and just shit can it. Bury it. Kill it. Do not shed a tear. Use a chainsaw. A Husqvarna is always good.[Pro tip: Model how long you think you are going to live. Pick an arbitrary date when you will actually slow down. Calculate how many days you have of “working.” Know that number. It will scare you. But it will, also, help you identify the shit you can live without.]Get some guest bloggers on your blog. Get some “dial it in” days. Pick a day a month in which you just turn on the mic and drop it. Let the blog blog back to you.Develop a quick NO to go w/ your native YES.There, now you’re all better.If you have any questions, I can chat with you at 3:00 AM CST on the 29th of September 2019. Thirty minutes.Fred, you got this. You’re Fred Freakin’ Wilson.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. Aaron Klein

      I’ve done some of this, but this is a tour de force and a guidebook. Way to go, CEO Coach.I did get the MBA assistant, who I call my Chief of Staff. Very different role from executive assistant. We just passed the one year mark and it’s a life changer.

    2. LE

      Get an admin assistant. Let the admin assistant conduct triage on your email, correspondence, and contacts. Let the admin assistant schedule every present you have to buy and have her/him (haha, no sexist labeling allowed, very PC) buy them two months in advance. [This is the kind of little stuff that can pay a huge dividend.]I believe he already has one actually.But forgetting that, his issue appeared to be speeches, dinner functions, dinners and commitments that require his own personal involvement or effort. (They want the President, not the VP).Put in vacations first.I think part of the reason for going to CA was that even though he did work out there. Not being in NYC (the way I read this) is what caused this breakdown. Ordinary working people know this, when you go away you come back and have to make up for things you didn’t do while you were away.

      1. Mark Essel

        It’s a vicious cycle, it’s like there’s no real downtime. Your work continues to pile up rain or shine. Only by restricting it (saying no), can we take control of our time. I’m doing a poor job of this lately.

    3. April Johnson

      Brilliant. And wise. I’m applying some of this to my own life, and endless transitions. Thank you, JLM!

    4. Jeremy Berman

      How would you apply this thought to early stage founders and teams?

      1. JLM

        .”Dress for the job you want not the job you have.”Time management — manage your time like you’re the CEO of the company you want to build.Time management for startups is even more important than for bigger companies.It is much, much easier to run a company with a hundred people in the HQ than four. The CEO has a lot more room to delegate.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    5. Mark Essel

      Dig the model of how many work days we have left. “Too many” is the answer I came up with when I was 21, now 21 years later it’s not that many ;)Working on the tech assist, we’re ready for it at our company.I’d like to add as a suggestion, how about part time work only Fred. Can you dial it back the other way and take control of your time again? I did this between 2009-2012 and have never been more satisfied.

  10. bfeld

    Yay! As Amy would say, “go Fred go.”We just had our Q2 vacation and our annual collective reset heading into summer. Last year we went to Paris and slept for a week. This year we skipped the Paris part and just slept for a week. We were both exhausted, which seems to happen with more frequency as we get older.Enjoy more beach time. It is summer after all.

    1. sigmaalgebra

      A “week”? Gee, now I don’t feel guilty getting extra sleep on a weekend!

    2. Anne Libby

      I can’t tell if I tire more easily as I get older, or if I’m just more willing to admit it to myself…

      1. Donna Brewington White

        Probably both, but definitely the former.

      2. bfeld

        I enjoy sleep more as I’ve gotten older.

    3. Daniel Kimerling

      Brad, can you talk about the cadence that you and the other foundry partners set quarterly, annually, etc to ensure sustainability?

      1. bfeld

        We each take regular week long vacations. I’ve been doing one quarterly that is off the grid completely (with my wife Amy) for the past 16 years. My partners do this now as well, but not as consistently as me.We then each take a month sabbatical off the grid once a year. No phone, no email, no contact. The other partners cover for the partner currently on sabbatical (we rotate so we don’t overlap). Since we all work across all the companies in our portfolio, there is great (and deep) coverage for the person on sabbatical. It’s also a powerful way to continually get fresh perspectives on all the companies we are investors in. We’ve been doing this for two years (this year will be our third) and are in an amazing rhythm around it. I believe it has significantly extended both our work life as well as our time on this planet.Historically we all travel a lot (we invest all across the US) but we ebb and flow around it. Through 2013, I travelled 75% of the time for 20+ years and needed to stop, so I took off a year of travel. I now travel a lot less, so that’s also been a major change for me.

        1. Mark Essel

          That work/free time cycle sounds fantastic (7-8 weeks off a year). I had a part time job for a few years after a 6 month sabbatical and have never been happier with a mix of work and free time. I had endless energy then.

      2. ShanaC

        Long time no speak Dan :p

    4. ShanaC

      not yet, and it is really chilly for may. I haven’t felt a may this chilly in a long time.Interestingly, you keep coming up in discussion between me and my fiance because of Boulder

  11. Vendita Auto

    Steve Jobs, David Bowie & any little one in a hospice would be happy to have your “problem” If you keep going you can tell them personally

  12. Mike Zamansky

    So important and it does creep up on you.Only recently, having entered a much better work environment am I realizing how stressful and crazy my life as a full time classroom teacher was.A vacation can help but that’s just a temporary fix so stepping back has got to be the healthy move. I’m guessing the hardest part is dealing with that instinctive tendency to say yes.

  13. John Revay

    HUMMM.Fred – I think I recall when you and Joanne had children in school at home…you made it a point to be home for dinner most nightThought -it was odd yesterday when I read through the post on self driving cars and did not see Fred in any of the comment threads.

  14. WA

    Balance can tilt out of balance. Too often. That adds to the stress. Work/Life Integration affords the ability to adjust time weighting into either camp, as needed with less stress for it. Life schedule judo.

  15. Christopher Seshadri

    Saying No is also my challenge. But when your body starts saying No, you know that’s the boss talking and you better listen. Or is that my wife?Overall I think most of us here are in the “Yes, if …” club and not the “No, because …” club. But we still have limits and need to draw the line somewhere. :-/

  16. Camiel van Velthoven

    I co-organize a live guided meditation on Zoom. Its on Tuesday nights 20:30 AEST, which would be somewhere Wednesday morning in the US. Its free. If you, or any of the other readers here, ever feel this may be useful for you, please feel free to send me a message.

  17. kirklove

    I need to go on Lockdown. Instead I’m going to Pok Pok tonight ;p

    1. daryn

      Those wings though…

    2. fredwilson

      That place is great

      1. Donna Brewington White

        One good thing about you being in LA for a few months is all the good Foursquare recommendations that come as a result. 🙂

    3. Donna Brewington White

      Yeah, lockdown TOMORROW!

  18. Joseph Burros

    I wonder if there is a way to move into this hyper work mode in a more conscious way? I am directing this question as much to myself as to you Fred, and everyone else who reads your blog. So when you find yourself burning the candle at both ends, I wonder if it is possible to say to yourself, “Ok, I am going to have packed work days from 7am to 11pm for the next week or so. How do I manage this without becoming too stressed?” So when you are accepting, maybe even welcoming super intense work weeks, you can then come up with strategies to make it more manageable.I like the suggestion of getting help with certain things like email, correspondence etc, ahead of time when you know things are going to get crazy. Other ideas are: scheduling some meetings/phone calls out in the park or during a walk; have someone come to the house or office to give you a massage for 40 minutes halfway through your day; leave events early after you have given your talk. These are just a few examples of little things you can do to recharge your batteries during the day. I am sure you can come up with many other ideas.One idea that my sister has come up with is to set an alarm for when she wants go to bed. When the alarm rings at night, she wraps up whatever she is doing and goes to bed. I have never heard of this idea before, and it is actually working very well for her.

    1. Mark Essel

      I like the concept of a walk in the park meeting (1 on 1), but it wouldn’t work well for more.

  19. awaldstein

    Fred-I appreciate your honesty as much as I do your thoughts.I appreciate your connection to the regulars in the community even more honestly.Should you ever find yourself downtown late one afternoon and in need of rare bottle of Jura Poulsard, ping me.Love to share my own variant of this journey, now 6 months out of the family food startup and equal amount into a flat out startup project.Quite the journey.

  20. B Tenneson

    I think it was Heidi Roizen in 1988 who said you get to a point in life that you may not add anything more until you remove something else.

    1. PhilipSugar

      Same for your possessions

  21. Nidhi Mevada

    Same thing used to happen with me when I was in college, due to hyper curiosity and tenacious nature and outcome wasn’t so cool, better I would have focused on things which matters most to return.Here’s nice video of Brendon Burchard :…I hope it helps :)This one is good ;), “I tell you all of this because writing it down publicly will help me commit to it. And because you may get a no from me when you ask to meet me or get me on a call. And because you might see less of me out and about, talking, speaking, being.”

    1. LE

      How about start or do something that you can earn a living from? Then later when you have that taken care of (after years of hard work and a bit of savings and security) worry about things that “matter”. Whatever that means.

      1. Nidhi Mevada

        Depend how you want to live your life. If you start early, you fail early and learn early. But it takes a lot of courage and perseverance. Before start, imagine yourself in war and eating glass.And stress of survival period fertilize original creativity.

  22. falicon

    Welcome to the first two or three YEARS of *every* startup founder’s life…but imagine that through it all, you’re scrapping together pennies to keep the lights on, the team motivated, and the vision focused.p.s. +1 for Lockdown via @kirklove:disqus

    1. Donna Brewington White

      Met with three founders/aspiring founders in the past week because I know that they will get to this point and will need someone who can be there for them. Why do we do this… and then encourage others to do the same. Madness.

      1. falicon

        Agree…but those tiny tastes of success are insanely addictive and fun. Actually having our fate in our own hands might just be an illusion, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! 😀

        1. Mark Essel

          A good deal of our fate is in our own hands. Some is external influences. Some is Netflix underperforming in our IRAs lol. Pesky Netflix

  23. scottythebody

    Take care of yourself and keep on keepin’ on, Fred!

  24. Ovidiu Schiopu

    Remember you’re in it for the long haul – it’s a marathon. Sounds like you need to take a page out of Brad’s book! Taking care of your health is job1. This will put you back on track and available to the people around you….yes obviously! Take care and keep well!

  25. jason wright

    when it gets like this my way is to get out on my bicycle, with no route plan, phone off, no watch, and no return by such and such a time.just knowing that i’m unplugged and therefore unreachable is a massive booster to my mind and body. it the very necessary ‘far from the madding crowd’ emergency action. feeling hunted is stressful.

  26. John Pepper

    I sent you an email the other day on my sponsoring a possible wunderkind to come down and spend 30 minutes with you. Please feel free to disregard that email. I get all of what you wrote. And I’m just John Pepper.

    1. ShanaC

      thank you for being a mensch

  27. LE

    This post made me think of ordinary folks (and writers) who harp on CEO pay as being excessive. It’s not. They don’t realize that when a person is at the top their entire life is consumed by their job. Even if they appear to be taking vacations and time off and have toys to play with. And the fact is, even when you are a small business owner this is the case. You can’t take time off w/o having to deal with (both prior to leaving, during the time away, and when you return) all sorts of things that others don’t have to think about (and there is nobody to point the finger at and blame if things go wrong you are just SOL).

  28. bobmonsour

    It gets harder to be your best and retain your good judgement when you get to this place. I’m glad to hear that you’ll be doing this as it benefits everyone…you, your family, and everyone around you.

  29. PhilipSugar

    Great post. Today I bailed on going to event around Penn’s graduation. I was going to go but then decided hanging at home was more important.

  30. Richard

    “My workout routine is in shambles” i don’t buy into the slowing approach to health, what I argue is that you need to add 10 minutes to your workouts with each passing decade. In your 50s you should be at 1:20 a day. And for each 10 minutes you add to your workout you should subtract 20 minutes from your work schedule. (PS for those who can afford it, always work with a personal trainer).

  31. LE

    I tell you all of this because writing it down publicly will help me commit to it.I do a version of this as well. [1] What’s funny is that that same dedication, commitment and most importantly conscience, is what gets you to oversubscribe yourself in the first place.[1] That said work related things I do because I like to and it’s enjoyable it’s a built in. Social commitments or family things I have zero problem rejecting simply because they don’t float my boat in any way and I see those who are on the other side not being around to clean up the mess if the issues cause me to have problems. In that area I not only don’t oversubscribe I under subscribe my time.

  32. daryn

    Balance is the real key, as overcorrecting has its problems too. Focus purely on “life” and I think you’ll find yourself unsated in other ways.

  33. Jeremy Robinson

    You know the saying Fred. You’re heard it before. No is a complete sentence.

  34. David Lee

    definitely resonates with me on many levels…i’m in same mode right now. maintaining the exercise regimen is so hard and when i lose track, definitely first sign that things are out of whack.

  35. Sean Trigony

    Great to see you are prioritizing your life and health. Your last 6 weeks sound like my life the last 10 years. We all forget, and it is so important, and I know we can all relate. Thank you for sharing publicly and to such a broad audience. Please keep everyone updated and share any ideas for life balance you discover. Well done!

  36. Mac

    ‘No’ has a precedent of success.”No”. Rosa Parks – 12/1/1955

  37. george

    Thanks for sharing such personal feelings and experiences, this really helps me and I’m sure many others that are caught in a similar wave. By chance, watched a video last night from Professor Clayton Christensen from the Startup Grind event, he discusses your point, learning to saying no and building the right personal strategies for enjoying work/life balance.My takeaway, when you truly know and live by your values, decisions become easier to make. Sometimes, we need addition by subtraction.

  38. Ruhinda Ruganda

    I watched enough “Fred talks” and religiously subscribed to most of his written work. I’m suggesting I could appear on your behalf if only we could replicate the face and voice. #tryingtohelp

  39. cavepainting

    The weird thing is we can sometimes feel balance even though we are not actually balanced between what we consider as life and work. And the opposite is true as well.I believe a lot of it is driven by what is happening between our heads and what makes us involved, happy and excited. This is different for every person and at different stages in our lives. Turning inward (as in meditation) can also be very helpful in getting to an inner state that is peaceful irrespective of the turmoil and drama in life and work.

  40. Try Observing Shabbat

    As a fellow Jew I suffer from the same tendency to be aworkaholic. I have some simple advice for you: “ObserveShabbat.”Observing Shabbat does *not* mean you haveto go to shul on Saturday. It does mean no tweets, no emails, nophone calls, no driving, etcetera. Basically it meansabstaining from “regular work activities.”ObservingShabbat will almost certainly increase your chances of being around to enjoy yourgrandchildren in good health.Frankly there are myriadwise old rabbis in NYC who focus on kiruv (“bringing close”)who can help mentor you on adding balance to your life without tryingto compel to you become a Torah observant Jew overnight.Sure,they would encourage you to, say, prayer before you eat. But “kiruvrabbis” are generally patient and gentle in theirapproach. And they are very accustomed to working with successful workaholic Jewish businessmen.The inimitable Mark Twain famously penned the following. One of the “secrets” to the survival of the Jewish people, which Mark Twain refers to below, has been the observance of Shabbat.”If the statistics are right,the Jews constitute but one quarter of one percent of the human race.It suggests a nebulous puff of star dust lost in the blaze of theMilky Way. Properly, the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he isheard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planetas any other people, and his importance is extravagantly out ofproportion to the smallness of his bulk.Hiscontributions to the world’s list of great names in literature,science, art, music, finance, medicine and abstruse learning are alsovery out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made amarvelous fight in this world in all ages; and has done it with hishands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself and be excused forit. The Egyptians, the Babylonians and the Persians rose, filled theplanet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passedaway; the Greeks andRomans followed and made a vast noise, andthey were gone; other people have sprung up and held their torch highfor a time but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, and havevanished.The Jew saw them all, survived them all,and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, noinfirmaties, of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing ofhis energies, no dulling of his alert but aggressive mind. All thingsare mortal but the Jews; all other forces pass, but he remains. Whatis the secret of his immortality? “-September 1897 (Quoted in The National Jewish Post & Observer,June 6, 1984)Copied and pasted from http://www.jewishvirtuallib

    1. ShanaC

      Have you ever read heschel? He’s interesting

  41. Andu @

    You have to because you will die someday.

  42. Vasudev Ram

    A wise guru once said (so I’ve read):”Balance is all.”Might have been the Buddha, or some other. Not so important. The quote is.

  43. Donna Brewington White

    Thanks for sharing this, Fred. (First time ever that I didn’t hear back on an email and now understand why.)You are not asking for advice and in this regard I’m the last to give it. But, I was zinged this week about the need for sleep and exercise. So very hard when there are so many demands and needs. But taking the long range view, our potency and longevity depend on it.You’ve been great about being there for people. I think that I speak for a lot of us when I say that we’d like to have you around for a long time even if it means that we as your public receive less from you. Take care of yourself. You’ll be doing a favor to yourself and many others.You’ll figure it out. You always seem to. Let us know how it turns out.

  44. Donna Brewington White

    And because you might see less of me out and about, talking, speaking, beingA lot MORE *being* even if not out and about.And… Beach. Always.

  45. Zak Khalique

    Listening to the body is key fore also, it’s way ahead of us.

  46. mencsh magnet

    I had to comment after reading your article .. The only difference from my life and yours was the departure and arrival cities .. middle age , good shape , eat well and good health or so I thought .. I came back from my last trip and contracted Shingles .. “out of the blue “.. The doctor said the my immune system got distracted ..” it sure did” I am 5 days into it and its terrible .. Trust me .. listen to your body before you get ” distracted “

  47. Matt Zagaja

    This guy’s walking down a street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep, he can’t get out. A doctor passes by, and the guy shouts up, “Hey you, can you help me out?” The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a priest comes along, and the guy shouts up “Father, I’m down in this hole, can you help me out?” The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a friend walks by. “Hey Joe, it’s me, can you help me out?” And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, “Are you stupid? Now we’re both down here.” The friend says, “Yeah, but I’ve been down here before, and I know the way out.”Nothing better than having a group of friends who have been down in the holes before, and this comment thread shows why. Good luck Fred, balance is difficult.

  48. Daniel Clough

    It’s nice to hear the people we look up to, have the same challenges as the rest of us ;-)I think ambitious people move between having balance and then slowly moving towards not having it. You hit a point where it doesn’t feel right and make changes to get it back. Just seems to be the way.Always seems to come back to taking too much on. And the fix is almost always taking some things off your list, saying no to new things and focusing on fewer.Thanks for writing about it!

  49. Ana Milicevic

    I’m so glad you’re writing about this topic @fredwilson:disqus – it’s easy to forget about balance when you’re heads down on something you’re passionate about. I’ve had periods where I’ve willfully sacrificed balance for focus, and that’s an extremely short-term strategy. It’s so easy to get dangerously close to burnout especially in startup land where we tend to glorify the amount of hard work that goes in; until we all get replaced by algorithms with more stamina than humans that’s really not sustainable nor healthy.

  50. Sean Hull

    couldn’t agree more.I try hard not to let anything disrupt the workout. That is the ocean to our own personal climate system.

  51. openwaterswimming

    the salt water will help. get well.

  52. ShanaC

    So I have been/am experiencing this. It was worse, it is slowly getting better.I’m not buying that it is just you fell behind/too much stuff/too many events/too much of the wrong food/not enough exercise/california keeping you unbalanced.You’ve been going through a ton of life changes in the background. Frankly, I’m surprised this post hasn’t happened sooner.I’m going to send you an email about something I do in my personal life with an open invitation to join (sorry guys, personal life stuff) involving very serious amounts of meditation. It helps attack the issues at the core of balance in life, how to get there, and how to maintain it, and it is worth thinking about as a practice to help you along through this.

    1. Mark Essel

      Good stuff Shana. My meditation has always been my walking. Now it’s my wifes too.

  53. Mark Essel

    Amen to this post. Feeling stretched pretty thin these days and looking forward to a slower and more meaningful work/life mix.

  54. alexstephany

    Reminds me of the Fred I met when I interviewed him about online marketplaces for my book. I don’t know if you ever caught it, Fred, but excerpt below.”I met Wilson in the offices of his firm Union Square Ventures, high above the Manhattan traffic. Low-key and cordial, Wilson let me in himself, appearing to be the first person in that morning. He had deep rings round his eyes. I liked that. Many a time, I’d gone to meetings at a venture capital firm looking frazzled and sat opposite an immaculate venture capitalist who clearly had far more time than me to get their beauty sleep and fix their wardrobe. ‘How hard do they actually work for their companies?’ I’d sometimes wonder. ‘How much do they really care?’ Sit opposite Fred Wilson and talk to him about startups and you don’t have those concerns.”For anyone curious to read more – it’s taken from The Business of Sharing.

  55. dave hochman™ ‏

    Physical fitness and diet are crucial, everything else stems from that.

  56. David Noël

    I went into lockdown a few months ago and prioritized mental and physical health, spent more time with fewer people, removed all push notifications, deactivated FB for a month, etc. I replaced it with daily journaling, reading, time with good friends, physical exercise at least 3 times a week.Lost 60 pounds and feel inspired again.Feel better, Fred. Take care of yourself.

  57. Girish Mehta

    “You have two lives and the second one begins when you realize you only have one” – Confucius.

  58. LE

    Last year I said yes to a few things that made sense to meWell thank God you took my advice (I think) and didn’t get involved in buying a McDonalds.There’s something just wrong about thatThere is nothing wrong with that at all. You have a young nascent business and in this phase you can’t afford to make mistakes (not that you can ever afford that) that might cause you future problems. And to boot you are in a traditional business which is not the same as a tech business where the market is increasing and you have a bit of leeway and access to capital to screw up (twitter fail whale).

  59. Mark Essel

    Best of luck getting back to 5 Charlie.The hikes sound great!

  60. LE

    You have to get your wife to stop hocking you about working instead of social functions. Hard to say how to do that since I don’t know your wife and I don’t know you. Social function shit is not anywhere near as important as maintaining your work to a point where it can sustain you and you can make a living.I once saw a Dr. Phil where he was telling some guy who did home improvements or construction how he had to work less and spend more time with his wife or something like that. Dr. Phil apparently had no clue what it’s like to be that guy and run that type of business or he wouldn’t have given that trite advice. Is it all a balance? No not on the way up it’s not. The “other guy” is out there (maybe he is divorced) ready to eat your lunch if you ease up. Of course not everybody is cut out for this I recognize that. But I am guessing by the fact that you read this blog you have some aspirations.You know back when I was married to my first wife I used to sit up in my room (on the computer) while she was down stairs socializing Sat/Sunday with her father and family who came over. They used hassle me about not being down there for meaningless conversation which I did not enjoy (whereas the computer stuff I did). Back when I had (the other story I told here) a vacation place that same women used to constantly hassle me about not being at the pool (was a condo) with her and the kids and driving back to work on Sunday (only going down 1 day on a weekend in other words and working on that day). This all culminated with getting a divorce (which took roughly 55% of what I had at that point). Today, many years later, I am remarried with a better woman who understands the value of hard work and accepts what I do and actually likes it. You know why? Her first husband was the guy that your wife wants you to be. I hope my personal story will inspire you not to get divorced but to find someone who can explain this to your wife.

  61. Vasudev Ram

    Ha. Good one. Reminds me of a National Geographic article about the Raji. A forest tribe (living in the Tarai, IIRC). Wild region where India borders Nepal. Quote from article, a Raji saying: “You fall when your life is over.” (They climb tall trees, unprotected, to get honey from wild bee hives. And sometimes fall.) Somehow I didn’t see it as fatalistic (a characteristic often attributed to Asians) at all; more like realistic or pragmatic.

  62. cavepainting

    Yep. Life flows and works in mysterious ways. When we are in tune with it, we feel light and happy. But when we try to go against the grain of it, there is dissonance. We have free will and the ability to shape our lives, but it is also subject to some larger pulls and flows that we really do not understand.

  63. ShanaC

    hehehe hocking