Mindfulness for entrepreneurs
Back in 2010 after getting divorced, I started meditating, as a way to organize my thoughts, to forgive myself and others, and to find love without looking in the wrong places. This last one turned out to be more difficult than expected, but never mind that, we’ll get to it later.
I was practicing mindfulness meditation without knowing it.
You see, I was raised in a Christian family, going to church every Sunday, singing the songs, raising my hands, but secretly never believing. I really didn’t want to disappoint my parents and I was scared of rejection. This fear followed me throughout my teen years and my first marriage. Think about it, that is a long time to be living in fear of rejection.
When I got divorced I decided that it was the ideal time to start over fresh and let the people in my life know that my faith was non-existent. I was now publicly open about my disbelief. This was the first time that I practiced acceptance. I had to accept myself because I knew others wouldn’t. While some people stayed in my life, others got lost in the process; and that was okay.
After a short time, I started to feel depressed and guilty about my decisions. I am known for not second guessing myself, yet, I was experiencing just that, I was doubting my decisions and I wasn’t seeing things straight.
So I looked for love in the wrong places. I failed at a couple of relationships while trying to fill in a void left by my previous marriage, and hurt some people on the way.
This had to stop!
One day, I decided to turn all the lights off in my apartment and lay down on the floor for 10 minutes. I was alone. Let me tell you, it’s really hard to try and explain to you the shitstorm I had going on in my head. It was incredible, for a long time I had let my head become disorganized and all over the place.
This was, as I recall, my first mindfulness meditation session. It was extremely disorganized and horrible. It made me look through places in my conscience that I didn’t like, experience feelings of guilt, even worse than what I experienced on my day-to-day.
As I continued with this exercise, something very interesting started to happen. I realized that I wasn’t reacting to these thoughts and feelings. I was simply observing them as if I was sitting on a high chair looking down at whatever was happening in my head. In addition, and mainly because I was aware of what was going on, I felt relaxed and more at ease, knowing that I was, at least, dealing with my issues rather than feeling oppressed or guilty.
I created a routine, I had a time and a place to get quiet and intentionally deal with these issues. Suddenly, my day-to-day improved since I was no longer constantly oppressed by these feelings. The fact that I had a time and place, allowed me to shift away from overwhelming thoughts during the day, and let them pass until it was the time to deal with them.
This helped me focus on my business at the time, which I was able to help grow tremendously. At the same time, it gave me the opportunity to experiment with stock trading, which turned out to be something I enjoyed for a while and even helped me build a small fortune :)
The start of a new business
Since my breakthrough in 2010, I continued to practice mindfulness meditation and experienced the benefits on a daily basis. My head is in order. I remarried to my now business partner, and it feels like life is smiling at me again. During 2015, I became increasingly eager to share my practice with others, but being busy with the business didn’t allow me to expand my practice or even help others get started.
at the beginning of 2016, I decided that it was time to move on from the current business and start something new. After toying around with some ideas, Welzen was born and with it, a new mindfulness meditation app.
Start-up mode was enabled.
A whole new series of tasks, activities, business plans, incorporation, website creation, technology partners, designers, writers, voice talents, and social media management, took over. As you know, when you are starting up you wear all the hats and it can be extremely stressful.
This time around stress didn’t get the best of me, rather it was anxiety, which up to these point in my life I had never recognized but now, I was experiencing it first hand. It was something completely new to me, it actually took me a while to figure out that I was getting anxious.
You see, when you are passionate about your business, you are extremely involved, and everything you do carries your signature. In my case, anxiety kicked in when thoughts of our product not being good enough, lack of knowledge, or wrong messaging, invaded my mind. I’m sure you can relate, if you ever had a product release, a presentation, or a test, perhaps your head has gone nuts too.
In conversations with my wife, she pointed out that the pattern was getting obvious. I was experiencing anxiety and she was realizing it and exposing it to me. I thought it was healthy, as it related to the passion I have for this business, but it started to eat up my time, my focus, my sleep, and even my self-esteem.
[bctt tweet=”My wife looked at me and told me: You should meditate more. It’s the obvious solution.” username=”welzenapp”]
After a couple of weeks of anxiety management, related breathing meditations, and conscious thinking, I was able to cope with anxiety and even find myself in a more relaxed state. I started to acknowledge the fact that I was doing my best, I was giving it my all, and as long as I did that, I could rest at ease. So when these thoughts or feelings came up, I acknowledged them and just let them pass.
As we prepare ourselves for new releases and feature enhancements, I’m looking forward to continuing my daily practice. The ability to be fully focused and creative in every stage of the company will prove to be invaluable in the short and long term.