Mental Health

Managing stress is not easy. Everyone goes about it differently. If you are a founder, the stress overload including lack of sleep and 24/7 focus is overwhelming.

MIT’s entrepreneur accelerator decided to prioritize entrepreneurs’ individual well-being and measure the effects. Over 12 weeks, entrepreneurs were taught tools for greater self-awareness through meditation and mindfulness so they can make better moment to moment choices for themselves and their start-ups.

Here are some stats from the end of 12 weeks. 21% of entrepreneurs had practiced meditation or mindfulness before the program began. At the end of the program, 88% had independently created their own regular meditation or mindfulness practice. 34% said they were more aware of their own thoughts and feelings. 93% felt that self-awareness practices can help entrepreneurs create more successful businesses. 53% were less affected by stress by using techniques to calm themselves in the middle of stressful situations.

The MIT delta v educational accelerator is the Martin Trust Centers’ most visible program and the capstone educational experience for MIT student entrepreneurs. Kathleen Stetson is the CEO and coach behind this. It was her own experience with depression as a founder that pushed her to do research on how people can better care for themselves.

None of the numbers are that surprising to me. Huge applause to MIT for making this part of the curriculum for entrepreneurs. Few people talk about the downside. Founders that I have backed and after years of grinding to find the business needing to shut down is so hard. Even founders who grow too quickly have a hard time. Understanding how to take care of yourself bleeds into all aspects of your life and the importance of that should not be underrated.

Mental health should always be first and foremost in your life. I love Kathleen’s tag line; Make better choices for yourself and your startup. Kill it without killing yourself.

Comments (Archived):

  1. William Mougayar

    It’s one of those things that weren’t taught early enough, proactively. Good to see it being taught earlier in life.

  2. awaldstein

    From experience from the earliest days of VC backed companies this didn’t exist. At all.So very good to see it become part of the culture.

  3. Pointsandfigures

    Very cool. Dunno, lost track but 15-20 friends of mine are gone…..traders who couldn’t find their way. Losing your way is gut wrenching. I went through it and it absolutely tears you up. I know athletes that can’t find themselves once they pull the jersey off for the last time.It is very very very very hard to do, but your startup isn’t who you are. You work at your startup and you are an entrepreneur. You are a risk taker. You are a person that is a problem solver. You aren’t your startup. Separate yourself so if you aren’t there anymore, you can find yourself and find a new way.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Completely agree

    2. awaldstein

      This is easier said than done.Never said nor done if you are a bootstrap.I agree of course, and looking to healthier ways to navigate life is something that i’m all in on.But while a nice thought i know few (a couple) out of many that can pull it off and they are often not the favorite of the funders.My experience.

  4. jason wright

    David Heinemeier Hansson thinks this 24/7 approach to entrepreneurship is “bullshit”. I kind of agree. Maybe it’s a European thing. From a distance the US does seem to be a sweet and savage society.