Mentor Moment – How To Become A Startup Athlete

Professional sports athletes dedicate themselves to eating right and getting proper rest because they know that doing so will allow them to train harder and perform their best when it’s game time.   

Being a founder of a startup is really no different, in fact, clarity of the mind is even more important. By not preparing your mind and body for the rigors of startup life, you’re actually doing your company a disservice by not being the most productive that you can be. The reality of a startup is that there are a lot of ups and downs, a lot of sleepless nights and high stress and anxiety. You’re constantly making quick decisions under extreme stress with limited data, while at the same time, being called upon to come up with innovative ideas and solutions to problems. So what can you do to manage all of this and be the most productive that you can be?

Start out by being better at these 3 things which are, Rest, Exercise and Nutrition.

Rest is crucial for having clarity of thought when tackling each day’s tough problems. Find out the optimal amount of sleep your body needs as everyone is different.  Over several weeks, try getting anywhere from 6 to 9 hours of sleep and log each day to see how many hours make you the most productive. Remember that during sleep your brain is actually restoring itself, which helps with your overall memory, cognitive performance and mood. So don’t think that getting a lot of sleep is a waste of time, think of it more as a way to improve your performance and productivity.   

Regarding exercise, it’s not necessary to hit the gym every day for 2 hours but let’s be realistic, our jobs are pretty sedative and like most founders, you’re putting in long hours at work with barely any time for a social life, let alone time for gym.  But realize that even a small bit of regular exercise can help clear your mind and give you more stamina to make it through those grueling hours you put in as a founder. Exercise can also help with anxiety and those sleepless nights thinking about your startup by helping you feel more tired so that you can get to sleep.

Last is nutrition. The old saying “garbage in, garbage out,” is true. Eating badly can make you feel sluggish and tired but eating right can make you feel energized and mentally sharp. Your body is a machine that needs high quality fuel so it’s important to understand what type and quantity of food your body needs to perform well.  We are not adult babies where we eat anything just to fill our stomachs. Running a startup is hard enough so why make it harder by eating food that’s bad for you? You’ll just end up gaining weight, decreasing your energy levels and degrading your overall mental state.

None of us are perfect but there are things that you can control and things you cannot control. So think about these three things that you CAN control, because at the end of the day, it’s about putting yourself in a position to win.

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