DILEMMA: I run a highly successful business with a bright future. I'm being feted by all and sundry. Life should be great, but it's not. I can't seem to get motivated to do anything any more. The nicer people are to me, the more irritated I get. What's going on? How can I get back to my old, rampantly entrepreneurial self?
ISSUES: What do you do when you've done it all, you've realised your dream and there seems to be nothing left to aim for? This is a more common situation than you might think, and not one confined to men of a certain age. 'Entrepreneurial paradise syndrome' is just as likely to strike women, or young high-tech stars.
Just as an entrepreneur's passion for the business can whip up morale when the going gets tough, a lethargic leader can kill a seemingly successful enterprise. Leaders need to lead somewhere. So, if this really is a problem and not just a bad week, finding a new direction will be key.
What is happening at work may be exacerbated by what is happening at home, creating a tougher problem. The entrepreneurial crisis may be a genuine mid-life crisis. If the kids have grown up and don't need you as much, the loss of purpose can be pronounced. Jogging downhill is no fun for marathon runners.
Could you sell the company and start a new one? Or get someone else to run it, go part-time and reinvigorate yourself elsewhere? Many entrepreneurs gain much satisfaction from helping younger images of themselves. What does your partner think? Can you consult friends who've been through the same thing?
- Don't just sit there getting more unhappy. You'll infect others.
- Figure out what you are good at, and who and what is most important to you.
- Get exploring. Find a new dream or a higher division to play in.
- You may need to get a shot of education or find some kindred spirits to open your eyes to new possibilities.
- Accept that selling out may be the best option. You'll be forced to take action.
- Get good professional advisers, but most of all have a clear idea why people should buy from you and why they should work for you.
- Find a youngster to help.
- Read Manfred Kets De Vries' excellent work in this area.
- Don't buy a convertible.