Sherry Walling: Mental Health Superpowers – Workshop Recap – FemtoConf 2018

The FemtoConf 2018 Notes and recaps can be found on the central hub page.

Title: Mental Health Superpowers – self-reflection, relaxation, and connection for the entrepreneur
Twitter: @ZenFounder

The Entrepreneur Life

  • No one else is writing your paycheck
  • You take what’s inside you, put it out into the world and make money
  • Really high highs and really low lows ==> emotional rollercoaster

Why did you choose this path? 

  • 70% did it because of freedom
  • 40% creativity
  • 30% more money
  • 40% terrible bosses
  • There are some great upsides
  • A lot of “internet marketers” are selling the dream and giving the impression that you are failing if you’re not killing it
  • Downsides: 
    • Isolation
    • Anxiety
    • Burnout
    • Failed relationships
    • Sleepless nights
    • Becoming obsolete
    • Instability
    • Self-doubt
    • Failure
    • Selling yourself over and over and over again
  • ==> The psychological price of entrepreneurship
  • We need to pay attention to our well-being
    • Your work depends on YOU


  • Z73.0 Burn-out state of vital exhaustion
    • Physical & emotional exhaustion
      • not having any energy
      • no spark
    • Cynicism & detachment
      • You don’t care anymore
    • Ineffectiveness & lack of accomplishment
      • No relation to reality
      • You feel like you’re not moving the needle
  • Burnout has the power to change the function, structure, and chemistry of our brains
  • 30-40% of attendees feel they have experienced burnout
  • Burnout is caused by: 
    • Not enough social support
    • Lack of clear, meaningful goals
    • Too much work (multi-tasking – great book: “Deep Work”)
    • Few observable or rewarded successes
    • Limited control over work
    • A mismatch between what we think is important and the demands of our work day
    • constant interruptions
    • conflicting goals (family vs. business)

Founder Superpowers

  • #1: Breathe
    • Breathe deep into your belly
    • Sit relaxed, place a hand on the belly button, inhale & exhale through the nose, try to move your hand
    • 5 deep breaths (5 seconds in, 5 seconds out) are enough to start calming you down and push anxiety away
  • #1b: Sleep
    • sleep is the most important way for our brains to reset
    • Benefits: 
      • Improve memory
      • Improve concentration
      • decrease excessive eating
      • improve mood
      • build immunity
      • decrease mistakes
      • improve productivity
      • extend life
  • #2: Body
    • stand up straight and stretch your body for 2-5 minutes
    • If you battle your body, you will lose. 
  • #3: Brain
    • Add some silliness to the thoughts that frighten you and put it on a shelf
  • biggest protective factor: friendships & connection

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About Christoph

Christoph lives in Munich, Germany and is bootstrapping his own SaaS application as a part-time entrepreneur.

He likes to write on this blog about anything of relevance to single-founder bootstrapped software startups.

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