Many extremely successful entrepreneurs are even clinically diagnosed Manic Depressive or Bi-Polar (Bi-Polar Disorder is nicknamed, “The CEO Disease”).
Francis Ford Coppola has it. So does Ted Turner. Jim Clark, cofounder of Netscape, was described in Business Week by Netscape’s other cofounder, Jim Barksdale, as someone “who has his mania only partly under control. He’s a perpetual motion machine with a short attention span, forever hurtling at unsafe speeds. When his forward motion is impeded, Clark becomes irritable and bored. In his search for the stimulation of the ‘new, new thing,’ he quickly loses interest in the companies and ideas he starts and tosses them into the laps of his bewildered employees.”
Bill Gross, CEO of Idealab, was written up by a Fortune editor who apologized and said, “I believed him because I was dazzled by him. He had an infectious boyish enthusiasm that was charming and irresistible. He spoke so rapidly—jumping from topic to topic as if he were hyper-linking. It was hard to keep up with him. He had so much energy he seemed constantly on the verge of jumping out of his skin. He bubbled over with optimism.”
Apple CEO Steve Jobs has been described as “hypomanic” and “unable to think outside the box – because he doesn’t even see the box. He’s also been described as quick to fly off the handle emotionally.
Here’s a note from a CEO’s blog:
“Today is Wednesday, and I haven’t been able to accomplish anything so far this week. It’s not that I don’t have plenty to do – I just can’t shake this depression long enough to do it. Last week I was a whirlwind – this week I’m a slug. My insomnia has been bad the past week or so, and it’s only when my body can’t go on any longer that I sleep. This lack of sleep makes my mind sluggish too…and it takes a great deal of time and effort to accomplish even the simplest of tasks. Intellectually I know what needs to be done…but emotionally I just don’t have what it takes to get a move on….
I’m trying to take things one day at a time, but it’s so hard to keep from thinking of what the future holds in store for me. I’m sad that I didn’t do more to keep in touch with friends I have known for years. I guess I could attempt to re-connect with some of these folks, but the embarrassment of my current situationis just toomuch right now…. sigh.
Something needs tochange pretty soon or I’m afraid I won’tbe able to crawl out from undermy rock and I’ll end up in a home, or worse. This is not a good day at all. Perhaps tomorrow will be better.“
It’s not about what’s in your head, it’s about what’s in your gut.
How will you use what you’re feeling to help you become really successful??
I hope you are seeking the answer. This is one of the many areas I mentor the CEOs I do in our bi-weekly coaching sessions too.
For more information on this topic, check out: The Emotional Roller Coaster of Entrepreneurs.