The Life: The Anxiety and the XTC


Have you ever laid in bed at night and stared at the ceiling? Your mind races because you have so many things to do, so many things to prioritize, so many ideas running around your head.


"a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome."

The symptoms are varied:

Rapid heartbeat
Nausea, upset stomach or vomiting
Feeling dizzy
Tight or painful chest
Numbness and tingling sensations
Hot and cold flashes

None of which is particularly becoming... nor comfortable.

That is what you are in for when you think about creating something from scratch, a startup.

I simply call it... "the life."

And it sounds so exciting. You survive a year. Your friends start to hear about it. You talk about it at cocktail parties. Maybe people see you on TV or read about you in the local press. Your children start to talk about it at home, "Dad, is it gonna be bigger than Google?"

Holy crap!

The anxiety can take over. It can rule you. And make you sick. It is the overwhelming feeling that takes over your body generally in the form of inability to sleep. Ambien and Grey Goose only exacerbate the debilitating condition. And that will catch up with you... it always does. The only thing that remotely helps is exercise. There have been studies by people far smarter than me indicating that endorphins released from exercise act as a natural sedative in the brain, or something like that. Err on the side of exercise. It will keep you sane.

The converse of the anxiety is the ecstasy (not the pharmaceutical, although...)

The ecstasy happens, perhaps more sporadically than the anxiety, but, if you are lucky, you get a taste of the excitement along the way and this keeps you grinding toward your ultimate goal, whatever that might be: completion of a new phase, a key partnership, obtaining series money, IPO... But, make no mistake, it is a grind. And that grind must become an almost pathological resiliency toward the end goal.

This "ecstasy" can induce the same feelings as anxiety, but it is the good kind of heart racing or nausea; that feeling of excitement and euphoria. You eventually fall asleep only to wake with a renewed vigor for a brand-new day.

"The life," as we call it, is an insidiously strange cocktail of these two emotions and one's ability to manage them.

There are days when you are flying high with a success, no matter how small. Then, there are days you feel like you may have made a grave miscalculation in a fundamental concept of your idea. There is a constant second guessing. And I truly mean a constant. There is the constant worry that someone else will create what you have created, steal your idea, or just simply do a better job at what you are doing. A once cocksure person can become meek in a nanosecond.

My point is simple...

"The life" is not for everyone. It is difficult. It is very difficult. And it is a grind. But if you are lucky enough to experience more of the ecstasy and temper the anxiety, there is nothing like it in the world (save the love of your family).

For those of you in the life... good luck. For those of you contemplating... you've been warned.

This post originally appeared on The Whole Magilla and was written by Chris Meyer, co-founder of

Follow Dean Sioukas on Twitter
Follow Magilla on Twitter