The Limbr Decelerator gets going!
As part of the design process for the Limbr Decelerator Program we’ve spent the last two months surveying and interviewing entrepreneurs about their wellbeing. It’s been a fascinating and revealing journey. This post shares the highlights of what we’ve uncovered.
If you don’t have time to read the whole post the key takeaways are:
Your wellbeing is your most valuable asset in your business. No wellbeing = No you = No business!
As an entrepreneur there are many barriers standing in the way of looking after your wellbeing
Entrepreneurs typically overcome these barriers using one or more of the following approaches: sharing their challenges with other entrepreneurs and hearing what worked for them, peer accountability and feedback, mentorship, experiential learning and developing cultures of wellbeing in their workplaces that support healthy behaviour.
We are offering a select group of entrepreneurs a chance to experience a prototype of the Limbr Decelerator where we will explore one of the major challenges entrepreneurs face - Imposter Syndrome - using some of the above approaches.
You can register your interest in participating in the prototype session here.
The importance of wellbeing
Wellbeing enables you to show up as your best self - someone who is able to enjoy the work and have fun, which better enables you to bring customers and staff along for the ride, ensure they enjoy the ride and support the ride to continue for as long as possible.
Wellbeing also supports you to be more productive and effective with the time you have. So although taking care of your wellbeing takes time, it is an investment that pays off by allowing you to do more with the scarce time you have.
Both showing up as your best self and being more productive and effective have a big impact on the bottom line of your business – a key measure of your business’ wellbeing. If you are unhealthy your business and the things it creates are more likely to be unhealthy over the long term. And conversely if you are thriving your business has a better chance of thriving.
But ultimately it all boils down to this - if you can’t be well and enjoy yourselves what is the point of doing the work?
Barriers to wellbeing
Many of us know what we need to do to stay healthy but for some reason we don’t do it. What gets in the way? Turns out there are a ridiculous number of barriers to wellbeing. There are as many barriers to wellbeing as there are humans but here are some of the most common themes that emerged from our research:
Thinking you can have it all and not being aware of the compromises you are making when choosing to overwork.
A lack of accountability mechanisms to keep you on track
Unrealistic expectations around success and growth
Deriving your identity and self worth from your business and its success
Not being truly at peace with failure
Passion and purpose driving you to sacrifice your wellbeing
Social isolation as a result of prioritising work over relationships, working on your own, and being unable to share what is really going on with your team.
The role is often a public facing one which can be exhausting particularly for introverts
Lack of experience managing and leading staff
Not having the knowledge, skills and practices needed to support wellbeing.
Not having the time, energy, habits and discipline to do the things you know support your wellbeing
Not knowing where to draw the line or how to “down tools” - there are multiple competing tasks all of which are urgent and important, the work is never done and there is a sense that if you don’t give the business everything you have it won’t take off or it will all come crashing down.
A societal norm of overwork which is amplified in startup culture.
These barriers have informed our curriculum for the Decelerator. Each barrier is a distinct topic that we will explore with groups of entrepreneurs.
Overcoming the barriers
When we asked entrepreneurs how they have overcome these barriers in the past the handful of strategies that were consistently reported included: conversations with peers, peer accountability and feedback, mentorship, experiential learning and cultures of wellbeing.
Conversations with peers
Conversations with others in the same boat as you are a rare opportunity to remove the bright shiny flawless entrepreneurial mask and share real stories that show the messiness and challenges of entrepreneurship. Real conversations with peers help entrepreneurs overcome imposter syndrome and challenge the stigma around seeking help. Because the truth is, no one really knows what they are doing - we are all figuring things out as we go - so why not admit we need help and figure out a way through together? Entrepreneurs also reported these conversations provided them with different lived experiences and perspectives on issues they were dealing with and supported them to implement tried and tested real-world solutions to the issues.
Peer accountability and feedback
Receiving regular external feedback from one or more fellow entrepreneurs can alert you to whether you are working too hard or not hard enough, and whether you are working effectively or not. It is also helpful for these individuals to follow up with you regularly to see if you are doing what you said you’d do to improve your wellbeing.
Advice and guidance from an entrepreneur further down the road who has faced the challenges and barriers you are currently facing and made it through with their wellbeing intact can be a powerful way to support you to achieve your wellbeing goals.
Evidence based tips and tricks
Being provided with evidence-based bite-sized info, tips and tricks that can support you to overcome your wellbeing challenges can be beneficial.
Experiential learning uses guided experiences and activities to engage and support deep and lasting learning on a number of levels (intellectual, physical, and emotional). These activites often explore territory that was previously unknown or unfamiliar and open up lessons that are not available through approaches that engage solely at the level of the intellect. This type of learning can often be more profound and sustainable than traditional “chalk and talk” approaches.
Cultures of wellbeing
Being surrounded by people in your coworking space or organisation who are visibly taking care of their wellbeing in the middle of a busy day reinforces that behaviour making it easier for you to look after your wellbeing.
We have taken these approaches and integrated them into the design of the Limbr Decelerator program. We are testing out a prototype session with a select group of entrepreneurs at Inspire9 Coworking on the 1st of August. If you’d like to be part of this exciting process you can register your interest here.
Written by Cam Elliott, Program Manager at Limbr