Living in the era of “do more”, “be more”, “spend more” and all the other extremes, finding the balance between peace and productivity can become an unmanageable task to accomplish. Now, more than ever, we are encouraged to spend every living moment of the day being productive; not a single minute must be wasted. Sleep as little as you can, work as much as you can, eat whatever is available and under no circumstances should you ever admit being tired. The culture of goal-getters is at its all-time high, however, is it truly the most sustainable lifestyle in the long run?
The concern for the human as a whole, supporting and empowering her full potential and the conviction that we create our own world by words, actions, thoughts and energies without a separating wall between our personal life and our social role. In other words, transformative entrepreneurs recognize that we do not sleep or indeed live well if we engage in business that is harmful to the planet and humanity. It is about embracing and speaking from the heart rather than trying to silence one’s conscience for the sake of profit or to satisfy hungry venture capital. Many entrepreneurs are increasingly cautious in tying themselves up in choke-hold investment agreements. It is more common to downshift than to sell one’s body and soul to the highest bidder.
Entrepreneurs, especially the ones in the early stages of their business development, tend to take the biggest hit when it comes to having a deliberate work ethic. Often told that it is the “hustle” that is going to earn them a seat at the table, they dive into the unfathomable amounts of work that leaves them utterly burned down by the end of the first quarter. Sacrificing their health, wellbeing and relationships – the founders later find themselves completely at a loss of focus and the drive that made them start the company in the first place. The Courier states that 78% of the founders have disclosed experiencing negative impacts of running a business on their mental health. Some 70% report feeling depressed, 55% experiencing a burnout, 50% battling with anxiety attacks – the list goes on. Seeing these figures, we cannot help but ask and look for solutions, preventions and potential recoveries. The ship will not sail without a captain, the same way as the impact ecosystem will not thrive without the impact founders.
Being part of an impact business by itself already means being driven by a higher mission. However, what happens when the outside noises become so loud that you can no longer hear why you started everything in the first place? Impact founders carry a heavyweight of not only proving the start-up’s capability of market survival but also making sure it happens in alliance to the values and it’s core social responsibility. The pressure is high; and without the proper methods of recovery, the business can sink as fast as it cast off.
Impact founders focus on the values at the core of their business operations, bringing in the balance between the profits and social impact. This ideology must also stretch into the work ethic and personal wellbeing, where the space between being efficient is kept equally important as being mindful. Appropriate working hours, clear schedules and deadlines, division between “workspace” and “rest space” must be created in order to secure a sustainable environment. There is a need for the shift of the business focus from working hard to working smart. As Tim Ferris referred to the matter in his Four Hour Workweek book: “Slowing down doesn’t mean accomplishing less; it means cutting out counterproductive distractions and the perception of being rushed.”