The 10-Year, $60 Billion in Assets Lesson


So how do you avoid burn out?

...for me, it's usually an accident.         ~Jovan

Road-time is a harsh reality for me these days. This year I’ve spent more time on planes, trains, and on stages than anything since the days of Trulia. What’s even tougher these days is, during the good times there was an awesome team of anywhere from five to 30 marketers and salespeople behind the curtain helping make my job easy. These days, it’s just a full-time team of two and an awesome intern making the magic work… and it’s a lot of sweat.

Sweat, that without some of the surprise payoffs, positive nudges, and a support system will spiral into full-blown burnout.

So, how do you avoid it (the burnout)?

The truth is, for me it’s usually an accident.

Back in May, I got the chance to have dinner with one of the brains behind Chicago’s investment consultancy, DiMeo Schneider & Associates the night before taking the stage to talk to their Fiduciary Committee. At some point during the meal, the start-up jokes started. This always happens.  

Normally, they are at a table with big bank/company VP’s or CEOS. Sometimes, it’s with HR leaders or other conference speakers who are long removed from the foundation-level sweat it takes to build a company.

Other times, the joke gets interrupted by someone who gets it.

This time in Chicago, it was one of the consultants who helped build DiMeo Schneider from the small office into the $60 Billion asset managers they are today.

The short version of the story, after the table chuckled about how unbelievable startup struggles can be, the consultant leaned in and said, “I remember those days.”

He went on to tell the story of juggling family, funding, clients and convincing the world that the vision you see is worthwhile. I can’t remember the exact words, but at one point he admitted that there were times when everyone thought he was crazy.

It was in that moment, I was reminded, that I’m not alone.

The biggest balance to (not a remedy for) burnout is a win. Sometimes, that in is not your own.

In one meal, the story of Dimeo’s $60 billion won made me feel like I could go out and tackle the next challenge.

That fuel turned into one of the biggest deals we’d see this year. It gave me the fuel to finish out the remaining 11 flights and 5 engagements for the month of May.

Looking back, the only reason that I made it through our crazy spring was the win stories like this.

I keep getting lucky enough to sit with builders, innovators, and humans who are willing to share their story. Those stories are the energy that keeps me going. That’s the $60 billion story lesson; our lessons are fuel.

With that said, here’s a public commitment from me.

I don’t have the answer, but I know what it’s like to win – whether that's the million-dollar deal or the first time 1 million people visit the blog you’re behind.

More importantly, I know how to survive when you don’t.

If stories are fuel, not sharing them is the biggest contribution to burn out I could ever make.

And, I don’t want to be the guy that withheld the story that could’ve helped some young person see a new career path, some entrepreneur survive the scary end of the runway, or some activist find the key to funding and impact that changes the world.

So here’s my commitment, one story a week for the next year. 52 lessons. Maybe I can do for someone what one of the brains behind Dimeo & Schneider did for me – create another win.

Jovan Hackley