Episode 19: You Can’t Stop the Waves: Dealing with the Uncertainty of Entrepreneur Life

Jun 13, 2023 | mindfulness, podcast, self-compassion | 0 comments

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You can find the full transcript for this episode at the bottom of this page

Entrepreneur life is full of uncertainty and things that are outside of our control. Being a successful founder requires to you to find ways to thrive amidst this inevitable chaos. In this week’s episode I’m introducing you to some of the tools that I’ve found incredibly helpful for my clients, and myself, in learning how to cope with this uncertainty – mindfulness and self-compassion.

Some people are turned off when they hear about mindfulness or self-compassion, which is understandable. It can be scary or overwhelming to slow down and tune into what’s going on in our minds which is the foundation of mindfulness. When it comes to self-compassion, we’ve often been told things like it’s selfish to think about ourselves, or that being kind to ourselves is a sign of weakness. In this episode I’ll explain why it’s completely normal to have these mental barriers to trying mindfulness or self-compassion AND that this isn’t a sign these practices aren’t for you. They are skills and like any skill they take practice and you may feel out of your comfort zone at first.

I also share with you some of my own reservations I had when I started to practice these skills myself, what helped me give them a try, and what I tell my clients to help them stay open minded and give mindfulness and self-compassion a try too. I hope you’ll stay open to learning more about these skills and deciding if you want to experiment with them yourself.

In the words of mindfulness teacher, Jon Kabat Zinn, “you can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” As a founder you can’t stop those waves of uncertainty, but you can learn tools to make sure they don’t pull you under. In other words, in order to stay in this game for the long run, it’s essential to learn ways to increase your emotional resilience and mental fitness such as mindfulness and self-compassion. I hope you enjoy the introduction to these practices in this week’s episode.

“I felt like I was drowning, just really, really overwhelmed. And those waves were there, and they had definitely sucked me under. In my first [mindfulness] class, the teacher said to us, ‘Okay, what we’re gonna practice right now. Close your eyes, it’s time to meditate.’ I closed my eyes and was like, ‘Oh, my God, we have to sit like this for 30 minutes!? How am I going to do this?” My mind was all over the place. Sometimes that’s called monkey mind in the world of mindfulness. And my mind was like a monkey jumping from wall to wall.”

You’ll hear in the episode that I’d lost my voice in the week leading up to the release of this episode so I had to make a last minute change of plans. I put a lot of self-compassion into practice myself when preparing this episode for you. A huge thank you to my podcast producer, Ineke Camille of Zourit Solutions, for helping me to get creative with this week’s show!

Resources & Inspiration from the Show

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About Founders’ Fears & Failures and your host, Dr. Melissa Parks

Melissa is an entrepreneur, former therapist (PhD in Clinical & Health Psychology), and an executive coach for entrepreneurs with a special focus on startup founders. Her passion for supporting startup founders in particular began after witnessing firsthand the emotional rollercoaster her husband experienced as a startup co-founder.

She started the Founders’ Fears & Failures podcast with the mission of shining a light on the mental and emotional challenges that come with life as a startup founder. Having lived abroad for 10 years herself she realizes how much we can learn from hearing stories from around the globe which is why the show doesn’t focus on a country-specific startup ecosystem.

Melissa is also the co-founder of the Location Independent Therapist Community, and a mom to a toddler who keeps her on her toes, and fuels her passion for helping to make the world a better place.

If you are interested in coming on the show, please get in touch. We would love to hear your story.

Want to connect further? Get in touch with Melissa on social media:

Want to work with Melissa?

Melissa is a former therapist who provides mindset coaching for ambitious professionals around the globe. Schedule your free discovery call HERE.

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Did you enjoy listening to this episode? Leave your review on Apple podcasts or Spotify.

Disclaimer: The Founders’ Fears & Failures is for educational, informational, and entertainment purposes only. It is not meant to be used for personal health advice and should not be construed to constitute personal or professional consultation or guidance, or to replace medical or mental health treatment. The opinions expressed by this podcast, including the podcast guests, are not meant to replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Always seek the advice of a medical or mental health provider regarding any questions or concerns you have about your medical and/or mental health needs. If you are in crisis, please visit this website to find a list of suicide hotlines around the globe. 

Episode Transcript

So I have been practicing mindfulness myself for about the past five years. And then that’s been on, like when I’ve been practicing on a consistent basis. But actually had a time before that, before I even really knew about meditation, I would say, where I was really skeptical about it. So I did, I’ve done yoga for a long time, probably more than 15 years. But I was one of those people who would try to sneak out of my yoga class, at the very end, they just thought like, I’m here for the exercise, I don’t need to, to do this mindfulness, or to this mindfulness or meditation stuff at the very end like this is, you know, I could do something better with my 10 minutes. So I’ve definitely made a huge shift. But I want to share that just because if you feel at all skeptical about mindfulness, or about, you know, about self-compassion, as well, I’ll talk more specifically about my own skepticism around that, too. If you feel a little skeptical, like, just know that that’s okay. And that’s completely normal. And that can be really intimidating to think about sitting down, and just being with your thoughts and being with your feelings. And so that can be challenging things to do.

What I tell my clients all the time is that this is a skill. And it’s a skill, like learning a new language. It’s like learning to tie your shoes. And anytime we’re learning a new skill, it takes practice. So often, when I suggest to my clients, you know, we try out a meditation session, or I give them a link to a guided meditation to try out between sessions, they come back and tell me things like, I’m not very like, I’m not cut out for this, or I’m not very good at this mindfulness stuff. And so I just want you to know, if you have any thoughts like that, that are coming up, it’s completely normal. And this is, again, it’s a skill, it takes practice, and you don’t need to be good at it. Even people who practice meditation for years and years, they wouldn’t say they get good at it, I think that they get. What I’ve heard people say is that, because I like people who’ve been meditating for decades and decades, I know, I’ve just, I feel like I feel like I’m a relatively relative newbie in comparison. But even people who who have decades of experience say that their mind doesn’t stop wandering, you know, it doesn’t, it doesn’t, you know, it doesn’t just stay focused or go blank or anything like that. But what happens is that you just get more practice of noticing where your mind goes, and and you get to strengthen what I call the attention muscle, you strengthen that you notice where your mind is going. And you more quickly bring it back to the here and now, because that’s what mindfulness is about, it’s really about trying to stay in the present moment.

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I'm a therapist-turned-coach who loves working with clients around the world! I work with the globally mobile community to support them through transitions as well as entrepreneurs who need support navigating the rollercoaster of entrepreneur life.

I'm also the co-founder of the Location Independent Therapists (LIT) Community, a mom, a self-compassion advocate, and an aspiring author.