When my company was going through the Techstars program in Boulder a few years ago, I was supposed to be on top of the world. Here I was at one of the best-known, most prestigious accelerator programs out there, pursuing my entrepreneurial dream. I had an awesome team, great support from Techstars and the program mentors, and was surrounded by bright, hard-working people who all wanted me to succeed.
Yet, as my wife pointed out, she has never seen me more miserable.
Instead of being excited about life, driven by my purpose, and enthusiastically building my business, I was stressed out, anxious, and felt totally out of place.
I was spending my time and energy comparing myself to others and feeling like I didn’t stack up. As a startup CEO, I felt intense pressure to be “killing it” and constantly bragging about our growth and success. Yet, I felt like a fraud who didn’t belong in this elite group of hyper-ambitious entrepreneurs. I couldn’t understand how everyone else was so confident, so competitive, so in control.
Once the program finished, the journey continued. We raised some money, hired a team, and grew the business. There were lots of ups and downs but we managed to get to that special place of being cash-flow positive.
Despite our success, I still felt like an impostor, like I had snuck into a party uninvited and was about to be caught. I played small. I lived in constant fear. My relationships suffered: with my wife, my team, my friends – and most importantly, with myself.
I would lay in bed wide awake at night, thinking about the expectations of my investors. My customers. My employees. My business partners. My wife.
I even had a hard time celebrating wins, having fun, or relaxing. Even when “good” things happened (like winning a new customer, receiving positive feedback, or hitting significant milestones), I couldn’t find the joy inside me. I was stuck – and couldn’t find a way out.
I didn’t realize that it doesn’t have to be like this! I was unconscious, totally unaware that what I was feeling wasn’t normal or healthy.
One day, in a burst of clarity and determination, I decided that I’d had enough of feeling bad about myself, playing small, and living in fear.
And I took my mental health, my personal growth, and my relationship with myself into my own hands. I resolved to live a better life and to take better care of myself.
In short, I decided to take responsibility for myself.
Being honest with myself about how I was feeling allowed me to see reality clearly and to find ways to help me feel better. Taking responsibility for my life gave me the ability to choose: how I see the world around me, how I feel, who I am.
I kicked off a journey of exploration. I tried out groups like EO (Entrepreneurs Organization) and Vistage; I joined a men’s group; I met with like-minded entrepreneur friends; I hired a couple of different coaches; I went on retreats; I read tons of books; I went to therapy to uncover hidden blocks.
I realized that I was getting in the way of my success. My old habits and programs were unconsciously running in the background and were limiting my personal growth and the impact my company was having.
The work I did unlocked new perspectives and helped me to rewire my brain. I got clear on my values and purpose. I became more resilient to the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur. And as I went through this journey, my business improved as well.
I can honestly say that my life has changed as a result of what I have learned. And that’s what I want to share with you.
We all face obstacles in our growing our businesses – just make sure that YOU aren’t the obstacle to your growth! And that’s why investing in yourself is the single most important business move you’ll ever make.
I learned that It’s possible to be a seriously successful entrepreneur…AND a happy, sane, regulated person.
The Conscious Entrepreneur Summit will bring together some of the most important and impactful tools and ideas that have helped me over the years.
Does this mean that I have all the answers? Absolutely not. But have I learned some incredible tools to help entrepreneurs stay sane, happy, and healthy as they build a business? Yes, I have.
I truly believe you, your team, and your business will benefit from you joining The Conscious Entrepreneur Summit. It’s designed to give you tools and resources that you can immediately put to use in your life and organization. You will emerge a better, more inspired, and more resilient leader.
Learn more here and make sure to sign up below for updates and news.
Thanks for being a part of the Conscious Entrepreneur community!
Host of The Conscious Entrepreneur Summit, CEO of Kapta, Techstars Alumni and Startup Mentor