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Are you ready to face your challenges?

Reboot -in particular Jerry Colonna and Ali Schultz- asked me to join them for a workshop with 50 young, successful, dominantly male CEO’s of start-ups in the center of London. Topic: Mental Health and Entrepreneurship. Beards, fast talking guys, ready for everything. Jerry did an excellent job to have them notice where they are and how they feel: “Let’s start with being silent and listen without judgment to the noises and ourselves.”

In Theory U we emphasize what to do to reach your highest potential. But these people are already successful. But is that nourishing or depleting? In my subgroup existential questions were raised quickly: what is success for me? More money, more co-workers, more investors, more offices, more…? Then one of us opened with the statement that he was expecting twins soon. He expected this to have major consequences for what he values most. Would his co-founders understand this? The guys without kids? Probably not. Would he be able to work as much as he did the past years? And even more important: did he want to? Another shared that he was concerned about his wife and that he found so little time to support her. And what to do with the co-workers who invested all their money in the firm?

For many success is measured by the outsiders. But they don’t see to what cost it comes. It struck me that the success didn’t give much nourishment. They felt trapped in the rat race for more, more, more.

Another entrepreneur wanted to put things into perspective: ‘These are first world problems, come and see people who are really in need. That will put you with your feet on the ground.’ He is right of course. Refugees are in a different situation and not to be envied. To say the least. But I come to notice that the suffering is pretty immense among first world people. Quite a few are successful measured to our first world standards and want to step out of life. It’s pretty shocking to me. We’re living in a self-created bubble that often doesn’t serve us anymore. But how to awaken and step out?

Success is not directly linked to the joy people feel. The pressure entrepreneurs feel, can lead to depression, depletion and suffering.  This workshop was great for the them to experience that they are not alone, can get help from their peers and it was a start to re-value what’s truly important for them.

For me it was a great opportunity to team up with wonderful facilitators (and entrepreneurs) who share similar values and have a different background.

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