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Work happier, not harder: Five behavioural strategies to help startup founders achieve high-performance.
Whatever you do, don't trivialise the importance of your own happiness in the pursuit of high-performance. Here's why.
As founders, we're all working hard to build something great. We're constantly pushing ourselves to do more, achieve more, and be more. But what if I told you that the key to truly unlocking your potential and taking your business to the next level isn't about working harder, it’s about working happier?
The truth is, happiness is a crucial ingredient in high performance. When we're happy, we're more motivated, more productive, and more creative. We're able to think more clearly, make better decisions, and solve problems more effectively.
But how do we achieve happiness in the midst of the stress and uncertainty of running a startup?
First, it's important to understand that happiness isn't a destination, it's a journey. It's not something you can attain once and then hold onto forever. It's something that needs to be constantly nurtured and cultivated. It’s one of the reasons that I’m often reminding founders that they are their own work-in-progress.
Here are five simple strategies for happiness that have a positive impact on your performance:
Sense of Purpose: One way to do this is by building a strong sense of purpose and meaning into your work. When we feel like what we're doing is important and has a bigger purpose, we're more likely to feel fulfilled and motivated.
Self-care: As founders, it's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day demands of running a business and neglect our own well-being. But if we want to be able to perform at our best, we need to make sure we're taking care of ourselves physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Strong Support System: Surround yourself with people who believe in you and your vision, and who can offer you encouragement and guidance when things get tough. That support system also includes healthy relationships with friends and family.
Positive Mindset: Cultivate a positive mindset. It helps to bring possibility and optimism to problem solving and spark creativity around opportunities. Plus, it makes you a lot more fun to be around.
Accomplishments: Startups can feel relentless. The list of things to do just keeps on growing. The big moments like capital raises and customer wins tend to get celebrated, but it’s important to acknowledge small wins and minor acts of progress and completion.
Focusing on any one of these strategies will have a positive impact. You don’t have to take on and master all five to feel the rewards. Just start and do what you can.
In the end, remember that happiness is not the absence of negative emotions, it’s a skill that helps you recognise your emotions for what they are and not be distracted or derailed by them - a skill you can practise and develop over time.
Make happiness a priority in your life and your business and, sure as eggs, your performance will lift as a result. It’s the only reliable way we know to make high-performance sustainable.
We’re all a work in progress.
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Upside Founder Programs are proudly supported by KPMG High Growth Ventures and Microsoft Australia.
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