5 self-help tips for startup founders that suck!

Sarah Faisal

The current generation is wildly focused on living out the best possible versions of their lives, leading to a massive preference for practicing self-help methods and techniques. However, just like allergies, self-help tips aren’t universal, and you may not react to them in the best manner. 

Especially as startup founders, when each industry has a different focus, each startup has a different aim and business model and whatnot. In retrospect, here are five self-help tips that probably won’t be the best of help to you as startup founders:

1. Calm down!

Sure, won’t I love to calm down in the middle of my stress breakdown with three pending meetings, five follow-ups, and reviewing my startup’s current workflow? It’s just that more often than not, it’s simply not that simple. We’re only human, and we don’t have an on/off switch to how we feel. We can’t just “calm down” because we want to. Instead, we can take the unpredictable whims as they come, and learn to accept that there will be times when it’s not all jolly and pleasant. 

It might help you if you brought to mind a situation when stress was present, and you managed to get on with your day and get things done. It helps to remember that you’ve gone through tough times, in a sense that it would familiarize you with your situation no matter how brand new it is, and remind you that you’re well equipped, to deal with the situation, with life experiences and knowledge on a subconscious level.

2. Talk to someone, anyone!

While it’s important to let things out, it’s even more important to know who’s on the receiving end of things. You have to bear in mind that if you choose to confide in a friend or a relative, they’re only capable of helping you within the limitations of their own life experiences and understanding of the world.

They may not be the best option you have. Try to navigate your purpose of venting, to begin with; is it to find a solution? Or are you looking for an ear to simply listen and unburden you? Once you have that part figured out, it’ll be easier for you to choose who exactly to talk.

Needless to say that when it comes to serious mental health, it’s always best to seek professional help. There are many platforms and places in Bahrain that are capable of helping you the right way. It’s also essential to remember that while talking is helpful to some people, it’s not as so for others.

It’s a method at the end of the day, and it’s not necessarily yours. Try different things until you find what works for you; it could be writing, painting, or even working out; we all cope and let things out differently.

P.S. You might resolve to talk to other startup founders, which is always welcomed, but perhaps you can double-check if they’re ready to listen first. Being founders like yourself, they might not be in a state that enables them to be there for you during the time you need them, and that’s okay, they’re only human. It doesn’t make them less helpful or attentive; they have to make space for their own to be able to take in anyone else’s.

3. Positive Vibes Only!

If you’re a fan of self-help books and teachings, you’ve undoubtedly come across the word “positive” a ton of times. Here’s the thing, there’s a massive difference between healthy positivity and toxic positivity. The parallel may seem quite obvious now that we mentioned both, but we often get carried away and forget the fine line between them. Healthy positivity is realizing the ups and downs that come naturally with life (it’s sort of a package, you know) and accepting them fully, while also working on enhancing the way things are when possible. 

Toxic positivity is not just expecting, but kicking and screaming for perfection under the guise of ambition or aspirations. It’s not humanly possible to be happy 24/7, no matter how many quotes you repost on Instagram with the hashtag #positivity. 

If you think otherwise, you’re not true to yourself. We, as humans, experience a rainbow of emotions, it’s all chemically present in us. When we deny the existence of practically everything other than joy, not only does it make us numb zombies acting their way through life, but it also makes real joy meaningless when it comes.

4. Get out of your comfort zone!

Let’s look at the definition of comfort zones. A comfort zone is “the level at which one functions with ease and familiarity,” according to Merriam-Webster (yes, I quoted the dictionary for this one…). There’s this whole movement that pushes people to get out of their comfort zones, going to extreme lengths they don’t necessarily believe in or want. Of course, it’s okay to do so, but only when you genuinely want to do it because YOU want to. Not because someone who wrote a book thinks you should. 

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You know yourself better than any bestselling author. When we go by such schools of thought blindly, we’re setting ourselves for immediate frustration and disappointment. We forget that whoever wrote that book, wrote it out of their own experiences in an attempt to help out, but it’s not necessarily applicable to everyone. 

You know your limits, anxieties, capabilities, and desires. You know when it’s time for you to try something new for your startup, or speak at a big event, or change your career path, whatever it is, deep down, you know when do it. It’s about time we stop having unrealistic expectations of ourselves, living by others’ definitions of how things should be. It’s not fair to us. It’s not fair to our minds. It’s not fair to our hearts.

5. Say yes to everything!

Whether it’s an event you agreed to attend a week before or agreeing to lend a hand for another startup’s project, maybe it’s time to be comfortable saying the occasional no. We’re not saying just ditch everyone and leave a pile of stuff hanging around for people to handle them on your behalf! Not at all. But we mean the initial no, the one that’ll spare you the apology later on. 

It’s okay to say no. You realize your time, physical, mental, emotional, and really any -al constraints that may disable you from meeting with that obligation. Be okay with “because I don’t feel like it” as a reason to not attend an event, for instance, if you really don’t feel like attending it. I mean, think of it, what’s the alternative? 

You attend the event, you’re miserable, and disengaged with everyone around you because you’re counting the minutes when it ends and you can leave? You don’t have to put yourself through such a hassle, at least not all the time. 

Filter through your commitments. If they’re events, learn what’s absolutely essential for you to be present, what’s a courtesy, and what’s just entirely unnecessary for you. 

Again, what might work for you may not work for me, and vice versa. These tips could be of good use to you, and that’s okay. What matters at the end of the day is remaining genuine to how and what we think, believe, and feel, and seeking out what truly works for us. Share the tips that did help you on our Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.

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