VC Minute – quick advice to help startup founders fundraise better.
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Why don’t we talk a little bit about founder self-care? It’s something that is really important to me. Obviously, I bring in the founder perspective, but I am also a licensed therapist, so it’s something that I think a lot about and also that I’m always trying to just make sure that I’m hitting the right mix for myself in how I take care of myself.
The reframe that I do for myself is that I see how I take care of myself as part of my job description.
I’m a runner. I go on a run almost every single night, and when I’m running, I’m not thinking like I’m running; I’m off work. I’m thinking, “This is part of my job because running helps me be a better founder.
It’s very similar to the process of being a therapist. As a therapist, you’re only doing good work if you’re a healthy therapist. If you’re not a healthy therapist, your patients aren’t going to be able to get better. And I think the same way about a company. If the founder isn’t healthy, it’s not good for the company, it’s not good for the customers, and it’s not good for the investors.
Seeing it as part of my job helps me as someone who tends to be more high achieving. I have a hard time with rest; I often feel guilty for taking time off. So, I see it as, “Oh no, I’m working by going to yoga.
The other benefit of the founder focusing on self-care is that it also trickles down to the team, and you don’t want a whole team of burnt-out people working for you. They don’t do good work. They would obviously churn.
When the founder prioritizes their own health and wellbeing, it gives everybody else permission to do so.
So, we have unlimited PTO, as many startups do, but we’ve thought about phrasing it more as mandatory PTO. You have to take time off; you must go and rest at different portions of the year.
I think that that verbiage helps people understand that the best decision that you can make for the company is to take care of yourself.
That is something for me that trickles down also from our investors. Our lead investor, Cox Enterprises, Tim Howe, is on my board and has been a huge champion of Motivo since day one. He gave me a book years ago called Rest, and it was all about how people do better when they rest more.
That message is not just coming from my own psyche, and I understand it’s coming from our investors too, who are saying, “Take care of yourself, Rachel, because the company performs better when you do.
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