“I felt like Bernie Madoff,” recalls Jessica Mah, whose startup inDinero burned through nearly all of its venture capital funding (over $1 million) in its early days. The UC Berkeley grad cofounded the online finance management tool for small businesses in her senior year of college and quickly lined up interested investors. But the company failed to make money and Mah had to fire her eight employees, all of whom were her friends. “I let everyone down,” she says. “I let my parents down, I let my investors down, I let myself down.”
“The good people are very good at feeling bad about themselves,” Dr. Amit Sood advises on a panel at FORBES’ Under 30 Summit. “If you’re feeling bad, it means you’re a good person, it means that you’re sensitive and you care.” Sood, who founded the Mayo Clinic Resilience Program and chairs its Mind Body Initiative, says the keys to maintaining a positive state of mind are looking at things from a bigger perspective, finding meaning in what you’re doing, and focus on the journey instead of obsessing over outcomes.
This may sound hard in a world that’s driven by results, but Sood says focusing on the process instead of the end product will elevate your performance. “We pair our self esteem with outcome, but outcome is not in your control. What’s in your control is your effort and your intentions,” Sood preaches. “When you take care of your effort and intention, with a little bit of luck, outcome will follow ,” Sood says. “[But] when you are obsessed with outcome, that makes you very rigid.”
Similarly, hard working entrepreneurs should remember that life is a marathon, not a sprint. Zoom out for a moment, and look at your life in totality, says Sood. He tells a story of a man, who was wrongly imprisoned but used his experience to become an advocate for other inmates after he was released. “I worry that I’m going to miss one hour here, two hours there, and here’s this guy who lost 28 years,” Sood says. In the grand scheme of the universe, what you’re doing is likely not a big deal, advises Sood. So don’t worry about it.
The Indian-native, who’s made studying stress and happiness the focus of his medical career, shares that the secret to not burning out and having fulfilling work experiences is making sure there’s purpose in your work. “The more meaning you can find, the more you can connect the work to what is happening in the world… [the more] that will drive you,” he says.
As for Mah, she took a vacation, regrouped, and started looking for new ideas to redirect her business. Eventually, inDinero was reborn as a one-stop-shop for accounting solutions. Its proprietary software, coupled with accountants on staff, can help businesses manage its books, file its taxes and keep track of its finances. The firm has raised nearly $9 million more in venture capital since, and has over 150 employees.
This article was written by Jennifer Wang from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.