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‘Mind Over Grind’ – The answer to bullshit business networking

Is there anything worse than seeing the #HustleCulture types plastered on social media, captioning a picture of a private jet with ‘I hustled to get where I am and YOU can TOO! No more boring 9 till 5!!!’

For one, ‘hustle culture’ is damaging, not sustainable and quite frankly….bullshit.

For two, the odds are, most of the people posting content like this are only working twelve-hour days because they want to say that they’re working twelve-hour days, rather than actually being productive with their time.

The media portrayal of entrepreneurs is full of the positives, the ‘freedom’ of flexibility in their work, the empowerment of self-employment, the financial advantages and the social media fame.

On Tuesday 18th February, a panel of entrepreneurs spoke about their personal experiences with their mindset, covering topics such as guilt, imposter syndrome, inner critics and the highs and lows of entrepreneurship.

With a panel of entrepreneurs at such vastly different points in their careers, there was a variety of feedback, but one general consensus: entrepreneurship isn’t what the media tells you it is.

It’s rare to hear about the negatives of entrepreneurship, especially on such a personal level.

When it came to guilt, the panel all had different opinions and experiences of guilt.

Alice Lyons described how her guilt tended to link more towards how little time she spends with family and friends, rather than the traditional guilt associated with entrepreneurship, which is ‘I’m not doing enough.’ She explains how this isn’t conventional but ties in equally with workload, as it is a factor in being unable to spend more time with friends and family.

Justin Gilchrist acknowledged the traditional link between guilt and entrepreneurship, but says that sometimes, guilt can be used positively to help push us forwards, rather than always being viewed as an emotion that holds us back.

In response to this, Wendy Kendall also agreed that re-framing our perception of guilt can assist us in moving forward rather than being stuck in our feelings of guilt. She also spoke of ‘growing your container,’ meaning expanding our capacity to deal with the emotions we have in everyday life to deal with them more adequately.

We often hear about the ‘why’ when it comes to running a business, but Sarah Wilde explained how it can be valuable to think about our own ‘why’, to avoid the inevitable guilt of ‘I should be doing this,’ as we can focus more on the reason why we started, rather than holding ourselves accountable to what we think, and what others think, we should be doing.

The topic of media portrayal of entrepreneurship was also prevalent, such as the advertisement of the ‘easy routes’ to entrepreneurship, or ‘six ways to be a better entrepreneur’, across social media.

When referring to this, Lewis Kemp spoke about how damaging these viewpoints are, as the reality of entrepreneurship is the opposite of what many people expect. It isn’t something that can be cheated or a path that you can have a shortcut to, it’s something you work hard at.

All panellists agreed that imposter syndrome is an inevitable part of entrepreneurial life, even the phenomenon of feeling like you’re not quite significant enough to have imposter syndrome.

The notion that imposter syndrome is a natural part of entrepreneurship was also elaborated as being due to the evolution entrepreneurs are constantly undergoing, in which moving onto bigger things can result in feelings of inadequacy.

All panellists, in response to a question about their biggest ‘fuck ups’, had a different idea of what classed as a fuck up in relation to their business.

From financial struggles, initial struggles with self-worth to working with and for people that are toxic and are diminishers, everyone on the panel spoke candidly about the struggles of not only where they’re at currently as entrepreneurs, but the beginning stages as well.

One important point that was touched upon was the importance of connection and rest.

All panellists work intermittently in co-working spaces, and all advocate the importance of having a strong support network that can provide advice and honesty. Rest was regarded as an often overlooked, but vital, aspect of entrepreneurship, often due to the connection it has with guilt.

The main takeaways:

– Make sure you have a strong support network you can go to for advice

– Take time to rest, truly switch off from work and find some headspace

– Don’t believe all of the myths you see online about being an entrepreneur, because if it’s glamorised, it’s probably not accurate

– The journey might be slow and lack the massive peaks you see across social media, but being persistent will pay off in the long-term

– Guilt doesn’t always have to be a negative emotion, and when re-framed, can be a positive catalyst

Whether you’re an entrepreneur, freelancer, or in employment, Mind Over Grind is a vital event in showcasing that people at all stages of their career, from entry-level experience to expert-level experience, encounter struggles with their mental health.

Acknowledging how certain aspects of work can affect our mental health and knowing the factors that can diminish or exacerbate our wellbeing is beneficial because self-awareness is one of the first steps we can take towards prioritising and understanding ourselves more.

Interested in being a part of the next event, or just want to reach out to Dark Coffee? Click here.

Want an audio summary and expansion of points made in the panel discussion? We have Episode 38 of the Dark Coffee podcast, ‘Mind Over Grind round-up’