The Cause Of Entrepreneur Irritability, Blame It On The Testosterone

God have mercy on anyone
who interrupts an entrepreneur
when they are on a roll
or frustrated because they can’t get on one

Whether or not some entrepreneurs have Attention Deficit Disorder (overfocused type 3), Obsessive Compulsive Personalities or are just Bipolar, what many of them seem to have in common is that they will snap at people:

  1. When they are on a roll and anyone dares distract them or interrupt their momentum
  2. When they can’t get on a roll especially following a prior success where the world is putting pressure on them to come up with their next great thing and it’s not coming to them

In the first case, when they are on a roll they are happily/edgy irritable and rather than attacking people, they are merely impatient and rude.  That is because they feel their vision much more clearly in their head than they can articulate it, much less add a strategy or tactics to it.  Interestingly, when entrepreneurs become clearer about their vision, mission, (people and planning) strategies and tactics they actually become calmer, because they see the opportunity in front of them and don’t want to blow it.

In the second case when they can’t get on a roll, they are often caustically irritable because they hate to give up their “visionary” status and be seen as a “one trick pony/emperor who had no clothes” that seized an opportunity but who can’t repeat their original success.  What they don’t realise is that they don’t necessarily have to be “the” visionary; they can merely hire the best and brightest to scout and source their market to come up with the next vision(s) (as was the case with Bill Gates at Microsoft many years ago and probably Google and Facebook now).

What fuels the irritability is that being on a roll or in a “fight or flight” mode triggers enormous releases of testosterone (aggressiveness) and adrenaline (power), both of which go into a cocaine like crash when abruptly interrupted.

And as one such entrepreneur admitted to me: “The thrill of an adrenaline (or testosterone) rush is only exceeded by the agony of an adrenaline (or testosterone) crash.”

This post originally appeared at Usable Insight blog.

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