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The most conscious time for a founder is most probably the period of the first phase of the startup. You have a brilliant idea, and you believe in it. There is nothing that can stop you. You are ready to give up everything to reach your goal. Your ego is not there. You see everyone as friends, you appreciate every help. You are full of energy and you get up every day with a big dose of Dopamine to push you forward. If you fall, you smile and you get up again. You know if you get up there is a wonderful way to go.
Your intention, your attention, and your attitude are in line and you feel content. This means you are very clear about where you want to go, what are the obstacles on the way and most probably you have Plan A and Plan B how to overcome those hurdles.
I call this phase the ‘Nothing to lose’ phase. People ask me what the driver of this initial phase is, which makes you feel invincible. Is it the aspiration you have? My answer to that question is always the same: It is either aspiration or desperation. If you are desperate you go the whole yard with no fear because you have nothing loose, even everything goes wrong. If you aspire, you think that there is no way you can lose because you believe deep inside it is the right thing to do. Both states are ok and very productive. So, it does not matter if your motivation is coming from desperation or aspiration. In any case, you have the beginner’s mind and it always wins. The mind of a beginner is empty, free of old thinking patterns, free of doubts, free of judgments. You see things as they are, and you do not label things.
If there is an empty place there is a lot of possibilities. This is the main power of founders at the beginning.
Theoretically, you can keep this state of mind you can stay fit for success. But there are obstacles on the way to the ultimate goal, which I call the tricky turning points.
The first turning point for a founder is the time when it comes to Money. When you get obsessed with finding money to grow your business or your goal is to sell the company at the highest price possible, your intention and your attention might get out of alignment. What does it mean? As a founder when you have started, your intention was not to make Money but to create a new service or product. If your attention shifts unproportionally towards finding money than to focus what you have wanted to create at the first place, there is a big chance you lose you beginners mind and you get mediocre being creative to flourish your business. Your mind always takes you to the direction you put the most value on. You should always try to keep in mind that your main purpose is to create something great, and money is the side effect of your successful endower.
Listen to the podcast conversation with Selin Billi Mallinson, our senior advisor and serial entrepreneur herself. 1999 Selin founded one of the first tech-startups in the world and grew it up to 200 employees. Followed by three other internet-based companies. In this episode Selin shares her experience on how to stay conscious, healthy and joyful as an entrepreneur during the founding process.
When success comes, ego comes with it. It is unfortunately inevitable. Which is fine as long as self-praise does not exceed your capabilities. Otherwise, you will be blind to all the emerging opportunities around you. You will be the slave of your own capabilities and be limited by your own boundaries. This is the time when you have to be sure that you have a great team around you to whom you can trust and with whom you can share responsibility. And of course, it is the point, where you need to figure out which kind of a leader you are. You need to make open conversations with yourself or take some help to put a spotlight on you so that you can work on your own personal awareness about yourself.
Fear is maybe one of the worst states of being to deal with in business life. The moment you forget that braveness breeds success, you are trapped in your so-called comfort zone and there is no way for you or for your business to flourish. The more you try to protect your Money or your status, you not only lose your braveness but also your curiosity, your clarity, and most importantly your energy. This is maybe the point where you need to make a shift on your purpose. Maybe it is time, you need to put more value on what the world needs than what you need. When self-esteem is at the top, it is time to take care of the other stakeholders more and more. This is when inner pace and success interact and real success, better said happiness emerges.
As a founder, you have to prepare yourself for those 3 tricky turning points and preparation begins with self-awareness. Be aware of yourself, your thoughts, and your feelings. All of the above-mentioned topics have nothing to do with your professional capabilities but with your personal mastery of your mental state. Invest in your mental fitness and do not neglect your physical fitness. The more you are fit mentally and physically the more you will be prepared to deal with the inner state yours.
Enjoy your life.
Selin Billi Mallinson
While Buddhist Economics as a field of research may still be new to many, it has grown over the last few decades. Buddhism is powerful only, when applied to the very heart of our everyday lives, business and society.