Take it personally
I was recently told by someone a lot smarter than me, a lot more accomplished than me, and a lot more experienced than me that my business was flawed, uninteresting and difficult to understand.
Upon additional attempts to clear the air, he reiterated how we didn’t know what we’re doing, are divided as a team, and offered a product that did not make sense, did not address a real need, and was threatening, invasive, and robotic.
His delivery was callous, his negativity was frustrating, and his point of view caught me off guard. I was noticeably upset, cold, and unwilling to continue the conversation. Sometimes when someone disagrees with you so deeply, there’s really not much to say.
In later days, he told us we took things too personally, were uninterested in feedback, and should evaluate a pivot.
The reality is we welcomed, and we’re even grateful for some of the feedback. It allowed us to finalize a near-term product roadmap which we validated with our first users who are excited about our launch. As a team, we’re some of the more open-minded people you’ll meet, soaking up advice as we move along our startup journey, and listening to customers. We’ve pivoted as a business twice and will likely have more shifts in our future.
If it appeared we’re stubborn, arrogant, or ignorant, I want to apologize as the leader of this team. However, what I will never be sorry for is taking things too personally. This is not my nine to five, it’s not a substitute for an MBA, and it has never been “just business”. I do not do this Monday through Friday. I do not wait for the weekends. I am not putting my time in, holding out for something better, or earning my stripes.
People who kill time kill themselves.
As founders, this is our life, this is our path and we will pursue it with excellence. As soon as we stop taking this personally, we have already lost. We will get mad when you tell us we are wrong, when what we are doing does not make sense, or if you fundamentally disagree with our vision.
Our passion, or even anger, does not mean we refuse to listen, that we will not adapt, or do not adjust if what you are saying has real weight. But we might not take what you say with a smile on our face and we do not think we have to.
We care deeply about what we are doing.
It drives us out of bed and it propels us over the sea of rejections we receive at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It makes us laugh at the fact that only 18% of first-time founders launch profitable businesses. And, ultimately, it makes us so committed, so dedicated and so willing to give every cell we have in our bodies to build a product that will allow users to take control of their mental health, have a positive relationship with their workplace, and be better people for themselves, their families and the world around them.
So yes, we take this personally.
We’re angry that 1 in 4 people suffer from mental health disorders.
We’re upset that 1 million people kill themselves every day because of poor mental health.
We’re appalled that our country spends $300 billion a year on stress-related expenses.
We’re disgusted with the negative stigma that blocks 70% of people from the care they need.
We’re personally dedicated to making a change for others, for business, and the built environment.
By offering a companion on your journey to better mental health, we’re helping hard-working people better understand their own minds, empower them to make meaningful change, and celebrate progress with measurable accomplishments. We spend most of our time in the workplace and it is one of the biggest sources of stress.
Our mission is not to change how long people work, to alter work culture, or even make people love what they do. Our take is that mindfulness is incredibly powerful and we have interwoven its fundamentals into our product to improve the perception of the workplace, make people less attached to their stress, and more objectively view the ups and downs of daily life.
Meditation allows us to see our experiences, thoughts, and emotions with more clarity, greater space, and deeper understanding. By training the mind, cultivating a sense of ease, and developing perspective we can be happier, healthier, and more productive. On a micro level, we will improve lives, strengthen relationships, and bring out the better parts of ourselves. On a macro level, we can change the world by fostering culture, boosting economies, and bringing societies together for a better connected, more compassionate, and higher functioning human experience.
As amazing as it all might sound, we need to be transparent of our current limitations as a business, aware of how far we have to go and welcome all who want to help us get there. We’re looking for missionaries, not mercenaries, who believe in a greater vision to improve global mental health, one workplace at a time. Of course, talent is important, but what reigns supreme is being interested in feedback, welcoming change, and above all, taking it personally.
We want the best, the brightest, but most importantly, the passionate, the driven, and the obsessed. If this sounds like you, come join our family and let’s change the world. If this sounds like you, but you’re not interested, that’s okay too. I just encourage you, above everything else, to hold your job, your loved ones, your life to the highest level of emotional attachment. Emotionally charged intellectual pursuit is what separates us from the food we eat, the buildings we live in, and the machines that power our lives.
Find something that moves you and fall in love with it. Complacency kills, mediocrity is a disease, and we all have an expiration date. Dare greatly, fail greatly and above all, care greatly.
And always take shit personally.
check out what we’re building at www.pausewellness.co