I was in the middle of a snotty cry when one of my dear friends suggested to me that I document my process. After considering it for a few hours, I've decided to document this in a public forum such as this blog because I think and hope it will help somebody walking this path too.
In 2018, Nelson and I set off on a journey to starting a well-being tech startup. I don't have previous experience in startup or tech - well, not the kind of technical expertise that is required to be a technical founder of a startup. However, I am resourceful, I know amazing people, I am keen to learn what I don't know, and I am capable of getting things done. So I designed our beautiful Neuma Lounge (a.k.a. The Cymatix) and with my amazing crew, we built our first prototype. In that process of building it, a beautiful synchronicity occurred and we were inspired to create Neuma Mind Spa - (our first pivot) - a concept store where you can take the Cymatix for a "test flight" and try our catalogue of Mindfulness Tech gadgets. (See what I did there with the “flight”? 😉 - Yes, you can take off or launch to an out-of-body experience from the Cymatix 😁)
We did a few soft launch events to unveil the Cymatix in Nov / Dec of 2019 and opened the doors to Neuma Mind Spa in January. We were just beginning our pilot testing program when the pandemic hit. So we had to adapt. We has to change our game plan in a situation where we really didn't know how long the pandemic would last and how it would affect what comes next, etc. Our first priority was to figure out how to keep the business afloat until we can figure out an alternate plan.
You see, Neuma Being is a well-being business. We started this because we want to help improve our world. With so many pressing crises all around us, we knew one of the bigger impact areas was to empower change-makers who care and create for the world. We support each of them to align with the most authentic self, in other words, to establish a deeper connection with Self: for calm, energy, creativity, insight and transformation.
Our experience has been that in the process of aligning yourself with your authentic self, you discover or rekindle your passions, your desires, and your mission / purpose: a huge part of well-being. When you align with your authentic self, you establish deeper and more meaningful relationships with your environment and your community. In your most authentic expression you are able to tap into the subconscious creative genius within you. A sense of purpose contributes to your well-being.
Side bar - notice how these aspects - mission / purpose, accomplishments, relationships - are identified in Maslow's hierarchy of needs as Self-fulfillment needs and Psychological needs at the top tiers.
So, why I am telling you all of this?!
Very early in the game, I recognized that a lot of startup founders work like crazy and do unbelievable sacrifices to realize their vision for their startup. And we too have made some crazy sacrifices over the course of the 2 years on this journey. Yet, I did NOT resonate with working crazy long hours non-stop to realize that dream. I was inspired to design the Cymatix, because I was stressed out and getting burned out at my old Architecture gig. I wanted to create technology and environments that support people in their well-being and align with the self. It felt divergent, incoherent or not in a state of integrity for me to lead a startup in well-being, if I can't maintain that well-being myself.
How can the leader be stressed and burned out while showing others how not to be stressed and burnt out?
When I am stressed and / or burnout, I don't operate at my highest self. My judgement and thinking becomes a bit cloudy. I am not my normal happy, optimistic, and positive self. I am irritable. My past behavior in operating out of fear or scarcity comes up. My insecurities and self doubt bubbles up. So these are all signs I have learnt to tell if I am pushing myself just a little bit too much. When that happens, I know I am actually doing a disservice to this project I am working on. So, I step back.
What do you do when you have so many hats you have to wear, so many roles to play, limited time and limited resources, and running against the clock? This is the point where I'm at right now. Our startup has grown too much to operate with one full-time employee (me) and a couple of part-time employees/contractors. There's so much that we need to do in order to get to the next level and grow.
But, it's the egg or the chicken scenario. I need people to delegate to do some of the various tasks and roles I'm playing, so that we can grow and serve more people and build traction and revenue. Yet, we need more resources to be able to hire more people. So, in short, I need more resources, so we can hire more people, so we can serve more people, so we generate more funds to do all those things. 😳
I feel a bit stuck in this situation. And yesterday I was snotty crying - like ugly crying with tears and snot all over my face - and there was a very interesting synchronicity. I get on instagram and the first post I see is by my mentor Suzy Batiz, where she talks about being stuck and how to overcome that. I sent her a message asked her "I’m finding it difficult to anchor myself to find the flow of energy" and she very wisely said "Sit with that question. Be patient and let the answer come to you. Invite the answer in rather than seeking it.”
I'm going to tell you a little secret about me. I have a problem with control. Seeking is an active pursuit of an answer. This is a way of trying to claim control and this is my normal mode of operation. Last two years, I learned the power of emergence so what Suzy is advising me to do is to get out of my own way and allow for something to emerge. I am going to do just that now.
This post, hopefully will become a part of a series of posts, where I document my journey. I hope in the process of doing so, I help a fellow budding entrepreneur. So stay with me, and stay tuned. I will share with you what emerges next!