Date: Sunday , October 05, 2014
One key element often overlooked by an entrepreneur is being prepared to deal with the roller coaster ride of their entrepreneurial journey. While working on your startup, every day is filled with uncertainty and unknown factors. Life is quite lonely as a founder. You have no idea what may occur every day. In order to cope with that, you need to find a way to manage these uncertainties and emotions by developing robust mental strength. By having strong mental strength, you can manage and regulate emotions, manage your thoughts and induce positive energy inside you to get to the next step in your journey. This will empower you with the courage and determination to achieve the kind of success that you envision for yourself. It is more than just using your will power. It requires a set of steps and tools combined with hard work and commitment to establish healthy and new habits. While you are pondering over it, here are four key take away (4KTA) points based upon my own experiences around it.
1. Core Plan - As they say, when you begin with a strong desire, you are already half way towards achieving your success. Understanding fully how to develop your mental strength is a key to your success. To start with, first develop your core plan. For example, in order to manage my roller coaster journey, it was vital for me to build my mental strength. I figured out steps consisting of a set of tools that would work for me, a plan to use those tools and a monitoring process to track how these were enhancing my mental strength and their impact. The tools consisted of exercises comprising physical and mental, healthy food and nutritional choices. Similarly identify tools that may be applicable to you and will deliver the results you want. Implement your plan into practice. As you consistently follow through per your schedule, these may become part of your life long habits. Due to the result of my applying a number of these tools since early 2000, I have found that my awareness on what works continues to grow more and more. As these tools holistically enhance all areas of my life, more and more I look for ways to keep improvising and improving on them.
2. Exercise - This component of developing your mental strength consists of three areas based on what has worked for me. You may want to figure out in your own ways what may work for you. This comprises physical exercise, mental exercise and mental nourishment consisting of ongoing learning. During my second startup days, I could begin to see effects of not paying attention to living a healthy life style. Consequently, I had to develop a plan quickly before it got out of control. The plan consisted of acquiring knowledge on healthy living and creating an exercise routine. The physical exercise plan was around cardio, strength training and stretching exercises. For mental exercises, I decided to delve into learning more about meditation and breathing exercises such as Pranayama, Kriya etc. I attended Art of Living and ten day Silent Vipassana Meditation courses. As time progressed, it began to show results in relieving the stress, inducing calmness and filling more and more positive energy inside me. Now make sure that you are committed to your execution plan. Ultimately if you do not execute on your plan, you will get nowhere. You can find tons of books from experts in pertinent areas to acquire knowledge and learn extensively from the best practices. For instance, I decided to go to gym almost every day and have been able to maintain that schedule quite regularly since early 2000. For mental enrichment activities, I combined my love of reading books and articles that are not only stimulating but also energizing at the same time. Music is another source for inducing positive energy. We often tend to worry about things completely beyond our control. Ruminating about these things drain your mental energy. Focus on what you can control. A multi-prong approach like this will keep you focused in on building your mental strength.
3. Food & Nutrition - This is another critical component of your plan. There are many books and articles available from experts and trainers that you can find freely on internet or for some payment. The only point I would like to emphasize is to figure out what could work for you and then religiously stick to your plan. Find information from your doctor, your health trainer or books and articles. As there is a lot of awareness around healthy eating now, you can readily find information from many sources.
4.Monitoring - Instilling new habits require constant monitoring. Create a monitoring plan to keep track of your exercises as outlined above with clear goals that you can work towards. Take time to celebrate as you meet your milestones. Keep track of parameters such as how many times, how many miles and how much time every week that you spend on physical exercises. Similarly, keep track of time spent and weekly frequency on mental exercises and food intake to observe your progress. For example, my plan was created around long hiking and trail running at least 10-12 times a year, weights for 3-4 times, cardio for 5-6 times, meditation 3-4 times per week and healthy eating. Keep a goal for reading certain number of books every month. Keep it exciting and adventurous. Use mobile apps to track your activities. All these will help you build strong inner strength and become acutely aware of your emotions. So you can manage and respond in best possible way. It\'s vital that you take time regularly to reflect upon your progress and find ways to keep improving on it. Always remember that developing mental strength is an ongoing process. Finally, it is about accepting your feelings without being controlled by them.
In summary, the four key take away points for developing your mental strength to cope with ups and downs of entrepreneurial journey are having a core plan, exercise plan, developing healthy food and nutrition habits, and finally, monitoring all your activities around your plan to keep track of your progress and improving upon it.
The author is Co-Founder of AURISS TECHNOLOGIES INC., a serial entrepreneur and Board Member, Chair - Programs, The Indus Entrepreneur (TiE) organization, based in Silicon Valley, California. Learn more at www.4KTA.com and follow Naveen on twitter @Naveen_4KTA