(Originally posted on the Space Bangkok blog.)
It’s truly challenging at times, mindfully starting a mindful startup. For me, it began well and with a certain level of awareness that the process would be difficult. After all, I was launching a startup while trying to maintain a good life balance.
Imagine it. You are doing fulfilling work you love and you have full control of the timing of your day. You can wake up when you want, work when you want, do other things when you want. Think about it. What would you do? What would your days look like?
That. That ideal was my dream for a long time. I knew exactly what I’d do with my days and how I’d structure them. I was so excited at the prospect of being able to apportion my time in a way that made more sense for how my brain and body worked.
In the beginning, as I was preparing to take the leap and get things going, I observed the startup culture from outside. As I stood with my nose pressed against the glass, watching entrepreneurs and creatives begin full of passion and quickly shift to running just to catch themselves, I knew this would be a delicate balance. See, my startup focuses on mindfulness, reflection, resilience, and creating space and balance for high performing, busy peacebuilders and others. How could I stay true to that ethos while launching something new?
Let’s be clear. Starting something new requires a lot of hustle. And I’m ok with that. I like hustle. At the same time, the startup culture has, again, made it accepted and expected that entrepreneurs be strung out on overwork and endless cups of coffee. When did hustle become synonymous with working yourself into a breakdown?
And then it happened. I began to start up my mindful startup. And for a while I made the most of the flexibility that brought to my day, just as I had dreamed. Yet it seems that old habits die hard and after some time I found myself back in the old rut and chasing the hustle to no place healthy. And I knew that it would be impossible to do this work well if I was functioning from that unhealthy place where resilience, creativity, and innovation do not thrive. I had to walk the talk and shift.
Mindfully starting a mindful startup is hard and I take many wrong turns and fall off the wagon regularly. What saves me is the stalwart belief that it is indeed possible and that hustle and mindfulness and resilience are not mutually exclusive. I have to be intentional about cultivating a mindful and resilient hustle. And that practice in itself is useful as I continue to ponder the nuances of changing the how of what we do.
So what about you? How can you add mindfulness and resilience to your hustle?