You need to find your balance as an entrepreneur

You need to find your balance as an entrepreneur

Have you observed what people do when a flight attendant requests passengers to turn off their phones? Yes, they make that last call or double check their email and social updates. Some people actually seem to conduct an entire business transaction in that last moment before take off.

We have been conditioned to believe that if we aren’t busy, we aren’t productive. Even during an occasional quiet moment, we feel that we should be doing something. This feeling that we are not doing enough is fueled further when we keep checking other people’s glorious social and professional updates.

Startups, in particular, have tricked themselves into believing that unless they are hyper busy they aren’t growing. A lot of them are indeed busy without business. When people refer to working in a startup, they often mean a fast-paced frenzy of action. They proudly say that they are required to work long and never have time – implying that they are productive. In reality, productivity is measured when you get better outcomes with minimal expenditure of time.

Everyone seems to be running fast without exactly knowing where. In such times, simply running in the direction of where everyone else is running offers some comfort. Consider the recent proliferation of food or e-commerce startups. We have developed this mindset of choosing between quick success or death. It should be no surprise then that 90% of startups fail consuming billions of dollars and countless hours of work – they don’t know where they are going and are going there quickly.

Much like a banyan tree, a startup requires to be nurtured methodically so that it can grow roots that are deep and wide. It’s then that it can weather most storms. As a fig, the banyan grows small round fruits the size of cherries. Each fruit opens up into many fine seeds. Each of those seeds has the potential to grow into a gigantic tree that can sustain not only itself but a variety of life forms.

The roots of a company hinge on its ability to innovate, develop its people, build processes, and create a strong culture. If these are done right, the company grows steadily to its potential. But if these are compromised, the company loses its balance and risks failure.

Often founders make the mistake of becoming the company’s biggest bottleneck by doing everything themselves. This dependency prevents their companies from developing systems that are crucial for growth. Without systems, a company’s life dangerously toggles with the ups and downs of the entrepreneur.

As entrepreneurs, you need to find your own balance first. Whether it’s your health or finances or family or personal interests, know that it’s important to find a steady method that helps you run entrepreneurial marathons, not just sprints. This requires you to take care of yourself first, not last – it is then that you will be able to build your company to its potential.

There’s a word in Telugu called aarbhaatam. It somewhat translates to fuss or elaborate complexity or display of excessive excitement. As with most translations, the rendition just doesn’t sound the same to a native speaker. If we can let go of the aarbhaatam around our startups, we would let them grow up more completely.

Originally published on Economic Times,  by Praveen Suthrum, President & Co-Founder, NextServices. 

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