Every day, founders and leaders experience overwhelming pressure to perform in both senses of the word: they need to achieve as much as humanly possible; and they need to put on a great show for investors, employees, and customers. And the pressure from the inside is often even more intense than the pressure from the outside.
Often, the "hunger," the "drive," the "fire in the belly," or the "chip on the shoulder" are great tools to help a founder push harder, faster, and longer. But these tools consume a TON of energy and they don't burn very "clean". When there isn't enough left in the tank, they start to burn anything that gets in the way. They run hot. It's exhausting. (Even when it's fun.)
I've been there. I AM there. I know exactly why it feels nearly impossible to share the struggle with anyone else. So much is at stake for everyone involved. There is no room for weakness. I don't care if 9 out of 10 companies fail. Failure is not an option for us.
Every day I get to talk to business owners and leaders. Not as their family, their employee, their customer, or their investor — just as a fellow traveler who is familiar with the territory and who cares about how they are doing. In these moments, they get to lay down the performance. Their shoulders drop, a loud sigh crashes like a wave, and they can breathe through their nose again.
We rummage through the weight of the world sitting beside us and we find something that has been rubbing them the wrong way. What we find looks tiny on the surface, but as we pull the thread, we almost always find something very large and heavy attached. Like an anchor. As we get to know it, it loosens its grip. We stare it in the face, we learn to love what it has to teach us, and we move it into a better position where it can carry us forward instead of holding us back.
There is NOTHING weak about this. This is strong. This is brave. This is how leaders transform vulnerability into agility and resilience.
When you're ready, I'd like to walk with you.