Isolation is killing our productivity and the only solution is Human

Peter Shallard
Jul 22 · 6 min read

Staying focused, productive and in your mental zone of peak performance is one of the hardest things.

Entrepreneurs especially feel it. Each one I’ve ever met has an ultra-sensitive gauge for their own productivity and performance.

They know exactly what they’re capable of — of what a great day of focused, high leverage work looks like. And they’re instantly self-conscious of when they’re not showing up as their best self. They feel it when they’re at half power.

Like most entrepreneurs, you probably take responsibility for when you’re not focused and effective. You blame yourself and seek solutions: Books, scheduling hacks, planning software and full blown courses on getting more done.

But what if the productivity problem isn’t actually your fault?

What if the environment you’re operating in — the psychological side effect of your external world — is 90% of the problem?

Isolation is the invisible killer of productivity.

And entrepreneurs are some of the most psychologically isolated people on earth.

The tools we use every day to build our businesses… have cut us off from something our brains need in order to be effective.

Think about it. Even if you’re at a co-working space, most of your work is done behind a laptop: Headphones in. Focus. Quiet.

You might as well be alone on a mountain top.

If you have a team working for you… how many of them truly “get” the pressure you’re under as the founder? How many of them are truly connected to the deep work you need to do, in order to succeed?

On the personal side: Even if you have the most supportive significant other in the world, how plugged in are they — really — to the execution details of your biggest projects?

And if you’re working from home? Forget it.

Ask yourself this…

How many humans on earth know if you absolutely crushed it yesterday, or if you just fluffed around?

If the true answer is zero, you are in the vacuum of isolation.

And it’s not your fault that focus and execution feel so tough.

Humans simply aren’t built to thrive in isolation. It’s impossible for us to show up and execute as the best version of ourselves possible… when we’re not supported by genuine human accountability.

When entrepreneurs lose their focus and their productivity falls off a cliff… it’s almost always because they’re in a state of isolation.

I started a company to solve this problem.

Commit Action was built to supercharge focus and productivity for entrepreneurs. Our personal training for productivity service equips our ambitious customers with a dedicated accountability coach. Their sole job is to help you operate at your best.

Our customers eliminate overwhelm, destroy self-sabotage and lock in laser-focus. They get more done in one month than most do in a year.

We started as an experiment: I did the research that proves that our mammalian brain thrives at “self regulation” — the thing that makes us perform at our peak — when we feel accountable and supported.

I decided to see if the single most scientifically-validated aspect of “coaching” — accountability itself — could be separated out and delivered at scale. That a lightweight, human-powered personal training for productivity service could 10x human performance.

What my team and I ultimately ended up creating — and validating via working with thousands of entrepreneurs — is an epic productivity booster that gets better over time. And it doesn’t require willpower; all you need to get the benefits is simply to show up to a short strategy call once a week.

Commit Action started as a bootstrap business. The team and I refined our coaching methodology, testing and iterating evidence-based approaches for our personal-training for productivity solution.

We honed our cornerstone weekly check-in ritual. It’s a simple planning phone call that becomes an accelerator for everything else in our customer’s lives — it unleashes them to attack their weeks with laser focus and productivity.

We built tech to make light touches out to our clients daily, guiding and boosting their focus. Commit Action’s software enhances our coaches ability to plan, track, measure, and optimize our client’s performance over time. Advanced calendar software, gamification, sms reminders and more empower us to support clients with 100% organic, human-powered accountability.

Our thesis — that we can solve isolation and accelerate performance via genuine human accountability and structure (optimized with technology) — is proving true.

We’ve been patient, dialing in and tweaking our service for maximum effectiveness, and while we still have work to do… we’re also ready.

We’re ready for Commit Action to change how entrepreneurs — all over the world — show up and execute on their dreams.

I’m excited to announce that Commit Action has raised a strategic capital round from Human Ventures — a leading New York venture capital fund — to scale Commit Action to the wider market of business owners and beyond.

Human Ventures has a unique thesis for building companies that makes them the perfect growth partner for Commit Action.

They believe that more than just capital is needed to create a successful, impactful business. In fact, the most influential factor for the success or failure of a startup is the interconnected network around the business and its founder. In other words, it’s all about the people.

As Commit Action’s founder, I’m personally excited to take the company itself out of isolation.

The irony of the bootstrap approach I took to starting Commit Action isn’t lost on me. The journey of a bootstrapped startup is innately isolating. The team and I built the company without external support.

It’s a double edged sword where one of those sharp edges offers huge benefits: We paid for Commit Action by creating value for our customers. The pressure of sink-or-swim isolation forced us to create a really phenomenal product. We didn’t have any other choice.

But, the other side of the sword is that “the cobbler’s children have no shoes”. Commit Action itself has been operating in a vacuum of isolation. We’re not accountable to anyone but ourselves as a company. Until now.

By partnering with Human Ventures, I believe we’re walking our talk. We’re betting that the right kind of supportive, human accountability (in this case, from the right investor) will boost our focus and performance exponentially.

After a long cycle of business iteration, we’re more convinced than ever that productivity-destroying isolation is one of the greatest threats to innovation and progress in our world… and that the only solution is human.

We’ve built that human-powered solution, we’ve proven it works and we’re ready to bring it to everyone that needs it.

Quick update on the rest of my work:

Despite two or three attempts over the years to retire from my Shrink-for-Entrepreneurs consulting business, I’ve never quite managed it. The world’s most interesting entrepreneurs keep seeking me out and asking for sessions. I met the folks at Human Ventures in exactly that way, and have been working with the other founders in their portfolio.

My partnership with Human Ventures is a win-win…

In addition to scaling Commit Action with HV’s support, I’ll also be supporting them in a Venture Partner role:

My focus is the founders in the portfolio, for whom I’m building a psychology-based self awareness accelerator. The idea is that in parallel to the Human Ventures Startup Studio — which itself accelerates startups — we can optimize the success of the founders and portfolio by speeding up the rate they grow as operators, thinkers and leaders.

Plus I’ll be leading HV’s founder pipeline efforts, merging my entrepreneurial network with theirs. Magic will happen and smart people will build cool stuff. And it’s already begun!

Side note: If you’re a serial founder looking to build your next thing, I’m now arguably the best person to talk to at Human Ventures… so get in touch!

All of this is exactly the kind of exciting work that explicitly capitalizes on my career’s focus on entrepreneur psychology and continues to directly inform strategy at Commit Action, too.

I believe entrepreneurs are our future and their success depends on the human support around them. I’m excited to keep building tools to support this vision.

Watch this space. As I’ve been saying, when I sign off emails to Commit Action customers for a while now…

We’re just getting started.


Want to take Commit Action’s coaching service for a risk-free test drive?
We’re running an experimental $10 “trial” — you get to experience a cornerstone check in call with a coach plus a week of accountability support… for a fraction of the price of membership.
There’s limited availability so click here if you want to claim one of those spots.

Peter Shallard

Written by

Shrink for Entrepreneurs & Founder of www.commitaction.com — We help business owners become the highest leverage version of themselves possible.

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