In Steve Magness’s wonderful Do Hard Things, he recounts a stern letter written by a running coach to his athlete who was, at that time in the 1960s, one of the best runners in the world:
Reviewing the runner’s training journal, the coach wrote, “I can't say this 40-minute jog will hurt you. I can say it does not help two days before a race. This is a manifestation of uncertainty. There is a time to train and a time to rest—not halfway rest.
“This is a bitter lesson you have not accepted."
And it’s a bitter lesson most entrepreneurs (including myself) have struggled to accept.
It’s difficult to accept that the contest isn’t to see who can put the most hours in and burn the most energy—it’s to see who can provide the most value, without burning out.
And that requires the mental space and clarity to observe the value you create, how you create it, and who values it most. That means taking the time to step back, do less, and think more.
If your marketing is struggling, unless you’re doing nothing, you’re probably doing too much.
Take a breath, take an hour, and remember that constant hustling, endless outreach emails, coffee meetings, cold calls, LinkedIn DMs, and pleas for referrals are a “manifestation of uncertainty,” not a work ethic.
Doing more of what isn’t working can’t help. Doing less can.
This is a bitter lesson we must accept.