Saturday, March 10, 2007

The CEO Playbook: Smile Through the Mild Discomfort

I spent the week at the GDC, sucking up information, schmoozing, and stalking the competition. As a result, I slept about 4-5 hours a night. Friday morning, I woke up, feeling dead tired and as I trudged down the street in misery, I wished it was all over. And then I thought of Julius Caesar.

A glimmer of something I read his account of the war in Gaul, "The Gallic War". Something about the standing in a muddy battlefield at dawn after a sleepless night. Just an image. I haven't read the book since junior high, so my memory is pretty faulty.

Anyway, in comparison to Caesar's travails, I realized that it was stupid for me to think that I should even conceive of a conference full of smart, interesting people, free food, and relatively comfy chairs should somehow be an ordeal. I'm actually kinda of ashamed of even thinking that way.

The thing is, if you're going to be the leader, you got to suck it up, drink the kool-aid, and put a big smile on your face. And you have to do it every day. Despite however your body may feel.

It should be easy for you. You probably have a nice bed, in a nice apartment. Money to pay for food and coffee. Tons of friends and business acquaintances. Probably even enough leisure time to play Orcs and Elves on your cellphone, or catch an episode of Lost on your Tivo.

Even more: you have an opportunity to pursue your dream. People may have already given you money to do so. That's mind-boggling. Other people give you money to pursue YOUR dream. How can you not see how lucky you are?

I can. I sometimes forget, but I think I'll go out today and pick up a copy of The Gallic War just to remind myself how easy I have it. Hopefully, the coffee at Borders won't be too acidic this afternoon, I don't think I could handle any more suffering.