If you can describe the life of a startup founder — it will “Endless Mood Swings”. You will either have the best day of life, or the shittiest day ever. This endless mood swings will definitely take a toll on your body and mind and will push into a depression state. No entrepreneur has not escaped this state of mind. Do you have a clear boundary between you and your startup? As a founder, drawing this line was a huge challenge that I faced.
Here are my learnings as an entrepreneur, on setting boundaries with your startup and how to stay sane while managing your startup,
1. My Emotional Well-being Is My Own Responsibility
The last thing, any entrepreneur, think about is their own emotional well-being. After long struggles, I realized it is up to me to take care of myself. To not burn out, to not become a bad boss, to not make a wrong decision, I need to ensure I am emotionally stable.
I need to continually keep a check on how I am feeling, what makes me feel this way, etc. Here are something which I realized from my thought-process,
- I become irritable if I don’t get six hours of sleep
- I become exhausted if I have back-to-back meetings all-day
- I feel lethargic and tired if I don’t hit the gym for more than three days in a row
- I feel lost if I don’t get a week off in a long time
- I feel anxious if I don’t give feedback to a colleague
- I get overwhelmed if I take up too many things
These are the feelings every entrepreneur faces, understanding my vulnerabilities helped me to overcome it.
2. My Emotional Well-being is More Important than My Company’s Success
As a startup founder, we usually tend to everything which comes our way. You would always say, “I would do anything to make my company successful”. It sounds excellent and motivating. But, here is the hard truth — you can never build a successful company by sacrificing your health and happiness.
The moment you start sacrificing your health, you start losing balance and start making wrong decisions. You may begin treating people badly and can see your best people leave. Nobody wants to work with a leader who is not emotionally stable, angry, sad, over-stressed, etc. You are just going to kill your own startup.
3. It’s Okay to Say “NO” Without Feeling Guilty to Protect My Emotional Well-being
Saying NO is the most difficult thing for an entrepreneur. No matter how over-stressed we are, we just Yes to everything which comes our way. One of the most important steps of setting boundaries is saying No, it also involves when to say no — so saying it doesn’t make you guilty or uncomfortable.
Guilt is the national feeling for startup founders. Your sales team missed targets — you feel guilty, your HR team has issues — you feel guilty, your investors are not happy — you feel guilty. You always beat up yourself for every issue that is happening in your company.
But all this guilt trip is because of bad decisions. You need to take up the responsibility of your emotional well-being and start saying NO with confidence. Eventually, you will notice that saying no actually earns more respect than saying yes to everything.
4. Pick Awesome Co-founders
One of the best decisions I made in my startup journey is to pick up kickass co-founders. Every successful entrepreneur has awesome co-founders — it’s important to pick up your right partner in crime. Like Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, Batman and Robin, Ironman and Spiderman.
Running a startup has many responsibilities; if you can find a co-founder who can complement your strengths and weakness, you can’t be luckier.
5. Get Support Network
Everyone should have a support network with whom they can fall back when they are down and need a recharge. For me, it’s my friends and family.
If you can’t keep track of your emotional well-being, have someone who can have a check on you. It’s important to remind yourself to step back and take a break once in a while. This might sound absurd, but this will bring in magic.
Derek Shanahan, Director of Marketing at Playerize quoted that,
“Your family goes through your startup journey — the effects of stress, uncertainties, ups and downs. So ensure that you are aware of that and be open about it with those who care about you ”
The Bottom Line
Working on a startup is like sailing on a ship in stormy weather. No matter how strong your stomach is, you will end up getting seasick. So, make the right decision on how to manage your startup with the above tips. Stop burdening yourself and start enjoying your startup life.
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