WHAT YOU FEEL: in response to every question, you can’t help but spout every detail of every detail of the business

PERSPECTIVE: We’ve all been at a birthday party when one of the guests barely touches a balloon and it pops. It’s because the balloon is full. That is the way we entrepreneurs feel all the time.

Entrepreneurs are “full balloons.” The pressures and activities of early stage ventures constantly add air to the balloon. What also inflates the balloon is that we live and breathe every issue of every aspect of the business. Each day we face the pressure and the details of every aspect of the business. I used to say to my dear assistant, “I come into the day with 95% of my brain full”. Part of it is due to the limited grey matter of my gender, but also the overwhelming number of things on my plate. I told her that unless something was important, there was an excellent chance that the information would bounce off my skull.

When your balloon is full, the air needs somewhere to go or it will pop. If we do not recognize this, the implications can be serious and widespread.

First, we create confusion by not giving simple answers. Creating clarity and simplicity in an otherwise chaotic and unstructured environment is critical. When we give simple responses, we make things easy. Unfortunately, simple answers do not release air from the balloon.

Second, it drains our teams and others with whom we do business. When we answer questions with a brain dump of the history of the issue, the people we do business with, and especially your team, gets drained.

Third, when the balloon is full, it is hard to react appropriately to issues. Touch a full balloon the wrong way and it pops. When our balloon is full, we tend to react quickly, emotionally, haphazardly, aggressively or inappropriately.

Recognizing that our balloon is full almost all of the time is key. Once you understand that, you can police yourself and take the time to be more thoughtful and deliberate. Don’t get me wrong, when your balloon is always full, this is hard to do. Recognizing this steady state will help you be more measured and deliberate in your day-to-day activities.

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