Updated: Feb 27, 2020
Being an entrepreneur is a 24 x 7 x 365 immersion. It is part of the fun and excitement born out of the powerful combination of working on an idea that we are passionate about, and the freedom to decide who we work with. It can also be very exhausting and entrepreneur burnout is very real. Some learn how to cope with it. Some succumb to it. Some overcome it. Some make it the playground to get sharper in the game of entrepreneurship.
Lets begin with a fundamental fact: the exhaustion curve
The exhaustion curve is NOT a pure rollercoaster - where you go up and down. It might feel like that, as we experience moments of high energy, but in reality it is a slow build-up. As time passes, it results in an accelerated increase due to a build-up of adrenalin levels. The efforts we make to address this build-up is often superficial and patchwork, e.g. going on holiday, working out at the gym, meeting friends, et al. These are indeed effective ways to slow down, however, to truly address it we need some fundamental re-wiring, planning and practice.
We know we experience this accelerated pace as we begin to notice a gradual increase of frustration, irritation, anger, energy spikes, and sharp drops. (Sound familiar?) We notice we react more quickly to what we like or don’t. We become more impatient. At a more severe level, we experience lack of confidence, possible blame game, a sharp increase in our inner critic, and a fallback on unhelpful behaviours and reflex reactions.
If left untrained, it can result in mental rigidity and capacity depletion. If this is left unchecked, it results in the typical data point of "80% of start ups fail or shut down in first two years" or very slow progress.
So, how do you address it?
Here are the top three rules that can help you overcome these challenges and master the entrepreneurship game:
1. Be-friend your brain
Neuroscience is offering new insights that have resulted in powerful applied concepts, such as "neuro-plasticity", the art of reframing, creative agility, and energy leadership. This, combined with emotional intelligence, helps individuals create capacity and bandwidth to deal with the challenges listed earlier.
It begins with understanding how the brain works. Once you know the code you know how to hack it. If you know how you think, you can train your brain to be a creative problem solver, a disruptive visionary, an alchemist, a social change leader, and with no compromise to commercial success. You learn how to get radical results in less time and less stress.
2. Sharpen your most powerful tool
"We must never become too busy sawing to take time to sharpen the saw.”
Dr Stephen R. Covey announced his 7th habit of highly effective people: "sharpen the saw." With this powerful statement, he urged leaders to continuously improve and renew their most powerful tool: themselves.
This rule remains the same from three decade ago, yet we see a "head in the sand" approach to this topic. Business Accelerators touch upon it superficially or give surface attention and that is not enough. Think about it: if Usain Bolt did not really work hard on his physical fitness, winning mindset, and running style - would he be an eight-time Olympic winner?
Strategic self-awareness of one’s strengths, and playing them to mastery, is key not just to consistently outperforming, but also to ensure your strengths have not become your biggest weakness.
3. Build your brand inside out
Not only is the public life of an entrepreneur a reality, it is the most powerful proactive business development and marketing tool. Yet we see a reactive and often causal attention to developing a powerful brand by start up entrepreneurs. Colour, tone, images... Okay, we agree all these are important. But we argue your brand is more than that.
The story of who we are, who and how we showcase it to the world outside, begins with recognising who we are (everything we uncover in rules 1 & 2 above). Then aligning this with our purpose, our business value proposition, and our customers' preferences.
It is not just about a pretty elevator pitch said in clever ways. When we make our brand strategy aligned to who we truly are, we unlock the bottomless pit of energy.
Amplenary is a unique, 5-week programme for ambitious professionals and entrepreneurs. Blending together areas of neuroscience, executive coaching, and personal branding for the very first time, this is a turbo-charged self-development programme unlike any other.