Today is a fun day for me. My son turns one, and I launched the alpha of the Rational Confidence community yesterday.
I used to think my startup — the first one that failed — was my baby. I felt proud that I felt that way, and I understand why I did:
I put as much effort into the startup as I thought one might invest in their actual baby.
My startup was constantly turning over in my mind. Children are always on their parents' minds.
The idea for my startup arose from my head, and babies grow inside people's bodies.
But now, I have a real baby, and wow, it's different:
If I'm honest, my startup-is-my-baby attitude was about proving my dedication to my startup to myself and others. It arose from a desire to have something in my life that was THAT important to me. But it was a fabricated feeling; the love I feel for my son brings me ridiculous joy, while the strong feeling I had for my startup was based in fear.
Building a business is about reaching a goal — making an impact, making sustaining money, achieving a great exit. I have no endgame in mind when it comes to my little babe. I just hope for him to experience the fascination of life each day.
Now I know that thinking about your startup 24/7 is wildly unhealthy. Breaks are key — to avoid burnout, and to give your brain space for creative thought. But while breaks are also healthy for parents, I love having my son in the back of my mind all the time. (Is this just a new parent thing? Fellow parents, let me know. Or I look forward to finding out in time.)
One big, positive similarity between startups and children, however, which has been solidified in my mind in the past year, is that you can't attach your self-worth to the ups and downs of either. I know I'll feel big feelings related to my son and to my business, but those feelings can be separate from how I feel about myself.
So, re Rational Confidence, we'll see what the future has in store! Founders and senior startup team members, fill out the two-minute application here to join us and:
Make better self-care decisions while building your startup, and
Shift entrepreneurial culture away from burnout toward healthier solutions.
RC is starting as a community on the Mighty Networks platform, because to affect long-held personal habits and make long-term systemic change in startup culture, we'll need to work at it together, a little bit every day. The first two months are free, so there is no obstacle to checking it out, and then it's $46/month. And, as the community grows, we'll add group and 1-1 coaching options and research-backed self-awareness courses.
But even more importantly, to my small but independent babe: happy happy birthday.
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