The very characteristics that make a founder successful can be the root cause of their challenges.
After working clinically with executives and founders for 10 years as a researcher and therapist, I felt that I had a strong understanding of the founder’s personality. But until I became a co-founder and experienced these psychological concepts first hand, I couldn’t get a deeper understanding.
As they work long hours, raise money, and endure the constant pressure of decision-making, founders often sacrifice their mental health for a successful startup. And even after years of studying these behavioral patterns, I found it difficult to avoid falling into this trap.
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This is because the very nature of the founders’ success can be the root cause of their challenges. In other words, leaving the strengths unchecked is often a weakness. That’s why self-awareness is essential for emotional fitness, strong leadership, and entrepreneurial success.
Over the years, and through my own experience, I have identified the eight double-edged features that the founders often exhibit. Sometimes I’m proud and often feel burdened. Not all entrepreneurs show all of these characteristics, but if you equate with any of them, ask yourself. Are these features a cause of motivation or self-doubt? Vitality or problematic blind spot?
1. Work is identity
The founders deeply believe in what they are doing, the beliefs needed to create something that never existed before. However, the more time and energy they invest in a company, the more blurry the distinction between work and personal life becomes. Their self-esteem always depends heavily on the success of their company when they focus their work at the expense of all other aspects of their identity. To counter this, it is imperative that the founder invest in other parts of life that bring purpose and joy. Or, from a startup perspective, diversify your identity for greater profit.
2. Ability to delay satisfaction
The founders make great personal sacrifices in the hope of a final return (eg relationships, salaries). Behind this strength is the tendency to stick to the next big goal at the expense of celebrating victory along the way.You might think this is maintaining momentum, but it sometimes pauses to actually celebrate your achievements Improve Improves performance and boosts the morale needed to recover from setbacks.
3. Importance of autonomy and independence
Founders want to be the creators of their destiny and place their own trust in their abilities. Unfortunately, this can hesitate to seek help or support. No one sets up a $ 1 billion company by themselves, but founders tend to forget that relying on others is not a weakness, but a sign of wisdom. If you feel that the success or failure of your company rests on your shoulders, practice asking your teammates and fellow founders for help on a regular schedule. Communicate with your investors, join the founder group and delegate comfortably.
4. Higher cases of mental health struggle
Will people with more mental health struggles become founders, or will the lives of the founders cause more mental health struggles? Spoiler Note: It’s both.Studies show 72% of entrepreneurs have mental health concerns (Although I haven’t met a single founder who isn’t there yet). Founders need to shift the concept of treatment from doing it when they are sick to doing it aggressively to stay healthy.
5. What to prove
Whether they are trying to prove something to themselves, their families, or the world, the founders will not quit until they succeed. Of course, this kind of tenacity makes you an ambitious leader, but what if you reach a milestone and are disappointed that it doesn’t fill the void? When your only motive is to win, you miss many opportunities for satisfaction, meaning, and joy along the way. Instead of putting all your goals at your destination, pause, thank your team and enjoy your journey.
6. Socially accepted masochism
In hustle porn culture, burnout is a fascinating proof of dedication, and skipping a meal or losing sleep is a badge of honor. Sure, the ability to power through can lead the founder from point A to point B, but running in the sky is not sustainable. Rather than waiting for the crisis to replenish your tank, you must pay attention to the warning signs and prioritize your health as a business asset. A healthy corporate culture begins with a healthy founder.
7. Narcissism / Impostor Syndrome Cocktail
The word “narcissism” may be unpopular, but to make your imagination a reality, you need a strong belief in your ability to create what others think is possible. At the same time, the founders are mostly making things on the go, so they don’t know what they’re doing, they’re worried that people will see through the façade, and they’ll be exposed as fraud. Is often. These mixed emotions are not mutually exclusive and are best resolved by speaking aloud with others (companies, friends, or therapists) who understand.
8. Large-scale desire to change the world
Last but not least, the founders are a group of very tough, passionate and talented people who want to make a big difference. A unique combination of vision, skill and drive allows them to pave the way from the beaten path. It’s not an easy path, but when it’s called, some people just have to answer.
Learning how to use these psychological truths to promote success instead of burnout is key to the success of many entrepreneurs. This means making time for rest and self-care and engaging in practices that support emotional fitness: finding something important beyond work and often with trusted loved ones, mentors, and colleagues. Check in to create a space where you can be proud of your current achievements. You may not have reached the finish line, but each step in that direction can be celebrated as a small win or growth opportunity.
When an emotionally fit founder takes the lead, a strong company takes shape. And the first step to emotional fitness is to ask yourself where these traits work for you and where you think they work for them.