Remembering WHY We Do What We Do As Founders — And How to Never Forget

I was reading an article the other week about how people sometimes need to incorporate traditions into their lives as daily reminders of the things they hold most important.

That article really resonated with me because it made me reflect back on my everyday — what traditions do I keep and what are the things I need to remind myself of on a daily basis?

The biggest thing that I realized I needed to be reminded about was belief in myself and what we are trying to achieve as a company.

As founders, we are obsessed with what we could be doing better and where the gaps in our companies lie. What we often forget about is the amount of things we have achieved, the successes we have had, and what our companies have become.

I realized my traditions are the ones that help remind me of our company mission and why I wake up every morning.

For me, it took a few years to develop these habits. I thought I would share some of the things I do with you here, so maybe you can use these traditions to become a founder with stronger belief in yourself and your mission.

1. Surround yourself by people outside the company

One of my amazing mentors, Michael Grossman, at the Unreasonable Institute.

Being an entrepreneur is sometimes lonely. A good way to remind myself of the incredible things the company is doing and the impact we bring to people’s lives is by surrounding myself with people who believe in me and my team. These are friends from school, family, mentors, and supporters of the company.

These people can look at the company from the outside. You know when you don’t see a person for a while and then see them again? Maybe they have lost weight or gotten taller, or changed their hair. You notice. Whereas, if you had been around them the whole time, they might not look as different.

The same thing with the company. These people haven’t been growing with the company this whole time and therefore can appreciate how much it has grown. They can help remind you about all the incredible things that have been happening.

Also, sometimes our achievements and good moments get buried on the low moments…Chances are your network of people haven’t heard about those low moments. :)

Believe in yourself, but also rely on other people sometimes to remind you that they believe in you too.

2. Make a folder somewhere of things that inspire you

It can be links, books, pictures, old conversations, articles, Youtube videos of small children singing emotional songs

On the days we wake up with the weight of the world hanging on our shoulders more heavily than usual, how awesome would it be to open a folder with all those inspiring videos and articles and memories and gems you had come across on happier days? You can!

With the internet, we can now store interesting things all sorts of places. We can save the link on Facebook, star it on Slack, put it in Pocket, etc. For me, having a central place to store everything is the best.

So find that one magical place you want to keep those happy links for a rainy day to remind yourself about the good stuff in life (and yourself!), and start saving.

3. Don’t forget to take time to do other things (besides your company) that you are good at.

Another day, another art project

These things remind us of how awesome we are and why we are going to win.

At the end of the day, yes we are business people and engineers and scientists and marketers, but we also have those other things we do. Sometimes these hobbies are what can bring us back to ourselves and remind you why you are unique (and also much more fabulous than the founders of your competition…haha)

For myself, I draw, and do creative writing, and cook. I know I am great at these things, and doing them makes me happy.

When I see a finished sketch or meal, I take pride in what I created, and that pride also spreads back into the work I put into my company.

4. Treat your body right

Get exercise, eat healthy, sleep well. Otherwise, our bodies start eating our minds and prevent us from reaching our full potential.

That is what happened for me, at least. The saying is to take care of your Body, Mind, and Soul, right? Notice how Body comes first in that equation…When I get exercise, my mind gets sharper, I am more focused during the day, I feel that my body is capable of anything (even muay thai!), and my confidence gets an immediate boost.

Plus! Working out helps me get my stress out and helps me focus on gratitude for that forty five minutes to an hour. It helps me think about my priorities and re-center.

5. Remember how far you have come

Keep momentos and keepsakes of the company at previous stages because sometimes we forget how far we’ve come!

I have all these snapshots of the old Duma Works website, photos of the team, our milestones…even our old sign up forms.

Taking a look at that time we celebrated 1,000 users reached, I am always overwhelmed by a sense of pride in the team and how far we have come. I even started blogging about it here because I like going back to see what we have learned over the years, and sharing those insights with other founders :)

It’s always good to have reminders on hand about what the business looked like before and what it looks like now.

Guaranteed to bring a smile to my face always, and maybe it will to yours too.

6. Think about your team

Your AMAZING team, that is…

This is simple. Just ask yourself - Would everyone be here in this office if they didn’t believe in what we do?

A wise quote by the scholar, Hillel, that I definitely find applicable to myself as a founder.

As founders, when we lose sight of the vision for our company and lose confidence that we have what it takes to get us there, we are lost. Let’s be real. On some days, we need help reminding ourselves of everything we stand for and everything we have built. If I’m not for myself, who is for me, and if not now, when?

Let’s do ourselves a favor and give ourselves the arsenal we need to be great.

I have found these tools helpful, I hope you do too.


Posted in Founder Fridays Tags: entrepreneurship, founder, Founder Fridays, Kenya, nairobi, Startup

Originally published at on November 12, 2015.

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