Startup Life Is Uncertain. Here’s How to Remain Calm.

I started 2019 with a silly accident. I tipped over my water bottle onto my MacBook Air. The damage was immediate and irreversible. I went to the Genius Bar and asked the experts, but when my computer wouldn’t even take a charge, let alone power up, I knew it was over.

All of the past 6 years of my company data, the history of Listenwise, was on that computer. 

But I didn’t panic.

Why? Two reasons. First, I regularly back up my hard drive, and had done it first thing in the new year so there were only 2 days of lost data. Second, and more importantly, is that I meditate every day. And that puts things in perspective.

About a year ago my sister took me on a spa retreat. It was three days of eating well, exercising, and reconnecting with my meditation practice that I had abandoned a few years ago.

Eight years ago I learned to mediate from a friend who is a professional with the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind/Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. I used recordings of guided meditation and learned a practice that is more about mind and body than spirituality. But it didn’t really stick. I never mediated regularly.

Five years into my start-up journey I was getting headaches unrelated to anything specific. If you asked me whether I was under stress, I would have said no. I felt good. But the headaches were becoming regular and were medically unexplainable.

And then I went on the spa retreat.

I spent two and a half hours with an expert who talked about the many benefits of meditation. The research shows meditation reduces stress, controls anxiety, and enhances self-awareness, among other things. These are all things entrepreneurs could use. Especially me.

While at the retreat, I ordered myself a BackJack floor chair for seated meditation, fuzzy comfy socks, a blanket and a scented candle. I was picturing setting up a quiet spot in my bedroom that would become my meditation corner.

When I returned home, I committed myself to 10 minutes a day of silent meditation. While the research shows the longer you meditate each day, the more health benefits you receive, I can really only spare 10 minutes in the morning to check out and meditate.

Every morning, right after I wake up, I go to my meditation spot and close my eyes. Instead of using guided spoken meditation or even music, I sit alone in silence and quiet my mind and body as I prepare for the day.

Some days I meditate on a particular issue or work situation that I’m facing and need to think about how to respond to clearly. Some days I think about my overall physical health and mediate on wellness.

My headaches are gone. I am a calmer leader who feels more even keeled with my staff and the many uncertainties of  running a business. 

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