How the mental & physical fitness of a founder can impact a startup
They say, “Health is wealth”, and rightly so… No big structure can be built without a strong foundation and a founder serves as that foundation for a startup.
Starting a new business is a lot of hard work, a highly demanding job. The pressures of being an entrepreneur can take a toll on the individual over a period of time. So, unless one is mentally and physically geared to withstand the pressure, it is not just the he or she who’ll bear the brunt, the startup will suffer too.
In fact, if you look at most successful entrepreneurs, they have imbibed fitness as part of their daily routine, and irrespective of their hectic schedules, refuse to compromise on their fitness routines.
Whether they have been actively pursuing fitness right from the start or got into it later as the daily work pressure got the better of their health is immaterial, as long as one realizes that a fit body and mind also means better performance at work.
Here are some ways in which being physically and mentally fit can be a boon for the founder and the startup:
1. Visualizing things on a mental plane
Many great leaders and successful businessmen have underscored the benefits of a healthy positive mindset. Muhammad Ali has famously said that your hands can’t hit what your eyes can’t see. It is very important to visualize what we want to achieve in our minds.
Without a healthy and positive mind, it is impossible to visualize the goals clearly. And if the goal itself is not clear, there will be ambiguity in terms of what has to be achieved and the efforts will get diluted, thus yielding no real results. So, to begin with a healthy mental mindset is a must.
Walt Disney could not live long enough to see Disneyland built. When his children were asked about how they felt about completing Disneyland without their father seeing it, they simply replied that he first dreamt about Disneyland in his mind. It is because of his positive metal attitude that helped him build his dream in his mind first and then guide it to its completion.
2. Physical fitness
Ask any entrepreneur about the number of hours he works in a day. Normally the answer will be 24*7.
When starting up, a founder is very passionate about making the idea a success and may end up doing more than he had imagined, both out of passion and owing to scarcity of resources. Ill health would prove to be a huge bottleneck in accomplishing all that needs to be done to build
a stable foundation for the business Also, an unfit founder does not send out a good message to all the investors, customers and stakeholders concerned. If he/ she cannot take good care of their own health, then how is he/ she going to take care of a startup’s health?
Investors and partners are extremely sharp people who are making decisions about investments in a few short meetings. They meet people everyday for various investments and reading people is their day job. Things like being a little shabby, unpresentable, unhealthy, bad table manners or lack of confidence are major red flags for them. These can sometimes be deal breakers. Not being physically fit raises a very big red flag for a lot of investors and can play spoilsport with a founder’s ambitious plans.
3. Differentiate between hard work & exertion
A founder has to be able to differentiate between working hard and over exertion. There is a physical and a mental limit for all the work that a founder does. Working hard is important, but exerting yourself to the point of over exhaustion often leads to long-term mental and/ or physical damage. As a result, frustration may seep in. This is surely a bad sign for the founder and the startup.
To explain this in a simple way, here’s an example. Racing car drivers usually drive their cars at the maximum speed and the maximum RPMs. What this is called is operating at the RED LINE. This reduces the life of the car, as operating at the breaking point is not something anyone would suggest. Similarly, operating at your body’s redline will also wear you out faster and impact your health adversely.
4. Mental fitness gives you a clear mind
A lot off senior executives of companies spend heavily on having mental fitness coaches. In a world with unlimited information, it is very important to protect ourselves from getting lost in a maze. We may be aware of what we need to focus on, but with an information overload or for some other reasons we may lose our focus. It is important to practice yoga or other mental exercises to help calm our mind and focus on points that need our immediate attention. Founders need to divide their time according to the need of the hour. Not being focused results in work getting piled up and missed deadlines, which can prove detrimental for the startup.
Health and fitness is often the last thing on the mind of an entrepreneur who has more on their plate than they can handle. But little do they realize that an hour spent on their physical and mental wellbeing can offer many benefits to them, and therefore, to their startup in the long run. It not only revitalizes them and helps them think clearly, but also gears them up to face the daily challenges at work head-on, without cracking under pressure. And that is a key trait for any entrepreneur to become successful.