A NOTE FROM OUR FOUNDER… BREAKING THE CYCLE

14 AUGUST, 2018

I am writing this as much as to myself as to the outside world. Ever since I completed a yoga training in the US focused on PTSD, my eyes have been opened to the powerful connection that exists between our mind and body. I have devoured books on the subject (most notably The Body Keeps The Score — a must read if you are interested in this topic), and as a result of my studies and subsequent experiences (particularly, interestingly, working in the start up arena), “wellbeing” became one of the three pillars of my business, AGORA. When I put pen to paper back in September 2016 to evolve Start Ups & Vino into a business that could create impact in business and value for Founders, Thrive Global was just launching. The world was readying for the revolution that has been the normalising of mental health, and the obsession with every facet of our health, performance and fitness had well and truly began. Fast forward to today, almost two years later, I have launched and relaunched AGORA, and as we take the business towards 2019, we are going to be readying to take the value we give to Founders to the next level.

Wellbeing has for the last two years been intertwined within the fibres of the business but I have also purposefully been skirting around it too — simultaneously wanting it to play a big part in the offering whilst cautious to overplay our focus on it — nervous that over emphasis would deter interest — conscious that Founders biggest perceived value add was in funding, mentorship and problem solving. Those three areas remain high priorities within AGORA, but it is time to bring “wellbeing” to the fore, alongside and as one with those priorities. It is a key determinant of Founder prosperity but we’re also talking here about business success. To succeed long term, a business needs to be efficient in all areas, and “wellbeing” or what I see to be “health + performance” need to sit at the heart of that efficiency model, right from the start.

It is also important to acknowledge that there is an abundance of noise, multiple fads, and endless inconsistencies that exist around the topic of our health. It has also become fashionable to the degree of obsessional, as referenced earlier, and “wellbeing” is often perceived to be a luxury status symbol for the rich. But strip it back to basics, we’ve got to look after ourselves. Fact.

Across the last two years, I have lost count of the number of “wellbeing” events I’ve been to, blog posts and books I’ve read, podcasts I’ve listened to, alongside fitness classes I’ve been to, and a retreat here and there. I am a BIG believer in getting outdoors and being in nature — but that is another topic all in itself — but where I’m going with this is that there is an abundance of tools at our disposal, and having such an interest in the area of “wellbeing” has meant that I now have a considerable network of experts at my fingertips. But it is still hard not to fall prey to the Founder’s curse. I went to a talk that formed part of FoundHer Festival, run by Allbright in the summer of 2017. Amanda Davie, sat in front of a room of eager ears and illustrated to us quite indisputably how Founders tend to exist between a state of high performance and burnout. Yes I listened, yes I nodded my head but it has taken me until the last few weeks to see that it is a cycle that is so very difficult to break — EVEN if you have all the tools and resource round you to help you do exact that. We and our monkey minds are our own worst enemies, and I have myself gone through three cycles in a matter of months. When I have energy, I want to quite literally take over the world — I am on a mission with AGORA, and in so many ways it energises me — but I have not yet learnt to quite manage that level of positive, at times wired, energy 🙂 — I too am guilt of swinging between a state of over performance to a state of complete burnout. As a leader of my gang, and someone who strongly believes that AGORA can as a whole, bring about positive, long term impact + change to business, as well as + as importantly, driving business success, I HAVE to learn to break that cycle and find a happy medium. If we can all collectively learn to also do that…it will help us reach our goals quicker + more efficiently — which I am definitely starting to acknowledge and appreciate. The entrepreneur’s journey is a mine field, a rollercoaster and one long learning curve.

So what do I plan to do about it…Take a good old dose of my own medicine, ACTUALLY slow down and become a little bit more tortoise than hare — in all aspects of my approach to life + business. Beginning with enrolling myself into a month of self care*, owning the need to step slightly away to do so, whilst acknowledging the positive outcomes such a “step away” will have both for myself and the development of my business — giving me tiimmeeee to make the right decisions about our next stage of growth, consolidate + action (I have been hinting in my writing, at the area that we are to develop but more will follow post summer). AGORA will also be delivering learnings and tools (focused around health, performance + strategy) to its gang to encourage them to do the same — now or at a point that feels right for them. As concerns health specifically, a wise man once said to me… “we are the only ones who know how we feel at any given point, and we must focus on maintaining well, rather than mending the broken.” Without out health, we have nothing. And with nothing, our businesses ain’t going anywhere fast!

And remember… importantly — we don’t have to always throw cash at “maintaining well” — we need to incorporate changes into our every day life, but they can and should be in part at no cost. Listen to your body (it really does speak!), find your way to “escape” to allow your body + mind to ground and make tiny shifts in how you operate. The four pillars of health are widely known to be sleep, diet, exercise + spiritual equilibrium. Don’t over stress about nailing the four — that in itself can render you exhausted.

*for me that is as simple as giving myself headspace which equates to being in nature, practicing yoga, being with friends + family, eating well & quite simply just slowing down.

Originally published at agoraworld.one.

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