Emotional Work Startups

Day 466 and A Painting Without Shadows

I take therapy really seriously. I’d put being emotionally capable of managing myself at the very top of my life priorities. Honestly it should be number one and if it isn’t I need to stop and ask myself why. Being an adult requires an intimate understand of one’s emotions and the capacity to share them with others.

To further this goal I do a weekly session as well as group work. It’s meaningful to me and I recommend to all my founders that they find a way to get into coaching as well as therapy. Taking care of your own inner child is the only way you are going to be able to lead a team. If you want to build a billion dollar company and manage thousands of people you better be able to manage yourself first.

Where I think people can go wrong is treating this process as if it’s one of optimization. Do I think founders who have taken the time to understand themselves do better? Absolutely. It’s pretty rare that someone’s coping mechanisms help them reach the heights of their talents. A chip on your shoulder is great but eventually you learn to transcend it.

I think this is because if you don’t understand yourself you are a painting without shadows. It’s flat. Boring. Doesn’t read as true or trustworthy. Maybe you are really good at showing emotions to get your way. Lots of people are but if they just off enough from genuine then it reads as the uncanny valley of empathy. People just know when you are hiding something. And hiding your dark side means hiding your shadows. Without them you are a flat human.

A painting without shadows wouldn’t be any good. You without your shadows wouldn’t be who you are. The best of you exists because of the worst of you. I really do hope more people are able to see that truth and love themselves.