I feel guilty these days because I’m not “working hard”.

These days I’m doing less “day to day” work. Here’s what I mainly do: 

  • think about and plan for the future of the business
  • write a bit of code
  • reply to a few emails
  • help my employees when they have questions

To be more specific, here’s an actual list of what I did today:

  1. Approved the newsletter going out today
  2. Reviewed analytics
  3. Got a tennis lesson
  4. Chatted on Telegram with my entrepreneur friends
  5. Sent 5 or 6 emails
  6. FaceTimed with my best friend
  7. Reviewed & approved a project plan
  8. Cleaned, did laundry
  9. Made dinner
  10. Wrote this blog post

^^ How much of that is actually productive, creative work for the business? Not much!

I feel guilty when I think about just how little I did today, especially because I value the power of hard work so much.

For me, hard work is a deep, core value that I hold. I learned it from my parents. I believe hard work has gotten me to where I am today.

But I also believe that the definition of hard work changes over time, especially as I grow as a founder and entrepreneur.

The definition of hard work used to be simple: Put the hours in. Wake up at 5 AM every day. Build new features. New projects. Read more business books. Grind.

But lately, working hard is different. It’s more delegation. Management. Building a good culture. Building systems. Finishing what I start. Doing things with completeness. Being helpful. Making decisions quickly. Saying no. Unlearning many bad habits.

I understand this change, but I still feel guilty when I don’t “put the hours in” and grind like I used to.

For example, today… I didn’t build any new features. I didn’t push any code. I didn’t wake up early and grind out emails. I didn’t have any meetings. But today, the business generated over $2,000.

To me, that feels strange, because, in some twisted way, it doesn’t feel like I worked at all for that money!

But I can’t look at it that way. This money is the product of the blood, sweat, and tears of the last 10 years. Of true, hard work!!

More specifically: 

  • the hard work of 5 years ago, quitting my career, learning how to code, going into over $50k in debt
  • the hard work of 4 years ago, launching and failing at multiple startups while giving it everything I had
  • the hard work of 3 years ago, waking up at 5 AM every day to squeeze in hours to work on my side project and then go to my full-time job
  • the hard work of 2 years ago, interviewing hundreds of founders, reaching ramen profitability, and quitting my full-time job
  • the hard work of 1 year ago, figuring out how to make this business work, hiring employees, learning to build a team
  • the hard work of this year, navigating COVID, writing every day

I will no longer feel guilty when I don’t “work hard” by traditional standards. 

Today, I did work hard. Just a different kind of hard.

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