I'm the author of "How We Make Stuff Now" and the Co-founder and CEO of The Grommet. We launch innovative products from small businesses.

How does Jason Varitek do his job on the days when he gets no sleep?

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Anyone who has survived the early months of a newborn baby at home knows how to push through bone-weary fatigue.  You just have to.  Same with a business baby.  Just as your love and passion for your precious little human baby gives you reserves you never knew you had, so does belief in a business.  But even still….even with all the passion in the world…sometimes your body just says “YIKES!”  Surely even Jason Varitek has those days.

I’ll never forget my first meeting with a twenty-five-year old company founder who had recently landed a $5M Series A VC financing in record time.  Even with his relatively speedy process, he was flattened by all the legal and investor wranglings.  I met him just after his financing closed and this guy was a shell of a human being.   Smart as a whip, yet he could barely string two words together.  (He long since bounced back.)

I just got through two days in a row that felt like that.  I’ve taken six trips in four weeks.  (Nothing compared to a MLB travel schedule, I know.)  All of them packed with critically important events, inhuman logistics,  and zero downtime.  So for the last 48 hours, I felt like I’d been hit by a Mack Truck.  But I still had to handle one enormously important phone call with a “game changing” potential partner, and three similarly important meetings.  In the actual moment of an important event, I go into a bizarre auto-pilot.  But I know the mental synapses are sometimes only working at half-speed and I’m concerned that I can miss important data and insights with my dulled perceptions.  If I could,  I’d bring a second person to these meetings to catch the 90MPH curve balls I miss.  But I couldn’t, and, back to Jason, I’ve never seen two catchers behind the plate either.

I went to bed at 9:30 last night, got up and took a long walk with the dogs, and today I am back to industrial strength.  (It helped that a lot of good stuff happened in the last 48 hours, too.)  But in the case of getting some sleep and taking a walk, I knew I HAD to do those things or I’d be on a dangerous downward spiral.   But this issue–of sheer physical stamina–is one I think about a lot.  I wonder how other people in my shoes–company “builders” trying to catch fastballs left and right–and not take one in the face–think about maintaining their physical stamina.  I know what magazine articles say…eat right, get sleep, and regular exercise.  But even those things are not always enough.  I wonder what Jason does.  Any other ideas, or maybe just plain old commiseration out there?

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