Mental strength. One of the core elements which isn’t always talked about with startups. An extension of this would be: grit, drive and passion. These traits are often spoken of simplistically. In retrospect it’s easy to say “have more grit and you’ll succeed”, but when you’re stuck in the thick of it, everything looks and feels really tough. Mental strength and overall mental health are what allow these successful traits to exist.
Similar to a race, VCs aren’t interested in a sprint. It’s not the quick buck, but rather enduring and dominant market leader which we desire. Strong mental health allows for this marathon-esque performance. Pulling all-nighters might be necessary sometimes, but long-term you’ll hit a burnout much quicker than you reach product/market fit.
How do we achieve this stability and resilience? It’s not rocket science. In fact you mother has probably been telling you most of these for years:
- Healthy diet
- Working with a mentor, coach or therapist
- Mental balance (ex: a hobby not related to your startup)
Now before you start rolling your eyes on me, I still feel that founders need to be very focused and committed to their cause. A 40 hour week will get you no where. My point is you have to find balance, and not force an 80 hour week to succeed. Finding that mental and physical balance will strengthen you for the long-term. You’ll immediately create an appeal with VCs when they understand you better, because they know you will be even more prepared for tough phases.
Deep down you knew your mom was right when she said to eat your vegetables!