Do you want to be successful? Listen to these 9 DON’Ts (2 of 3)

Do you want to be successful? Listen to these 9 DON’Ts!

In part 1 of this article read about the first three DON’Ts:

  • Don’t leave things unfinished,
  • Don’t allow technology to distract you
  • Don’t dismiss other people’s thoughts or opinions.

Let’s get on with part 2.

4. Don’t allow yourself to burn out

Working to achieve your dream doesn’t feel like work. It’s easy for startup founders and new entrepreneurs to end up working long crazy hours into the night.

Building something from the ground up – a new product or service – is exciting and it gets the adrenaline pumping. Man or woman, young or in your forties, your body is flesh and blood, not steel. You cannot go on forever on little to no sleep, fast-food and working around the clock.

When your body gets tired, your mind follows closely. Developing the product, raising money, hiring valuable employees, dealing with the competition, questioning your decisions, fighting your inner critic etc is a highly stressful life day in and day out. Mental fatigue and depression are real and they are unfortunately widely spread among startup founders and entrepreneurs.


In a nutshell – experiencing physical and mental stress is the road to burnout.

In April 2018, KPMG Australia commissioned a study into entrepreneur wellbeing where 70 venture-backed founders were invited to answer questions.

The findings confirm what we already knew:

  • Founders experience heavy workloads;
  • The 64-hour week is the average among founders;
  • 40 per cent of them said they had worked every day for the previous three months;
  • 23 per cent could not remember taking three consecutive days off in more than a year;
  • 80 per cent of founders wished they could spend more time with their friends or children;
  • two-thirds were kept from spending as much time as they’d like with their partner or spouse;
  • Most reported their work impacted their sleep and physical wellbeing;
  • 43 per cent of founders were unhappy with their fitness level.

Ryan Holmes is the CEO of Hootsuite, the social media management platform he founded in 2008. In one of his articles on LinkedIn, Ryan talks about how he achieved work-life balance and avoided burnout. He recommends career interval training, a concept he borrowed from the fitness industry.

HIIT is a new concept of exercising which means alternating periods of intense activity with periods of rest or lower-intensity exercise.

Finding a balance is great but sometimes it just can’t be helped when you are trying to make a product work. It’s ok to put everything on hold, let your family know you won’t be available for a period of time and dedicate your days and nights to your work, says Ryan. But this can’t go on forever.

Much like HIIT (high-intensity interval training), career interval training means bursts of activity need to be offset by periods of rest and recovery.

As with interval training, intense, all-consuming stretches at work require real downtime to recover. And this is the step that’s too often missed. We go right from those all-nighters back into our normal work schedule. What’s really needed is an extended period away from the job — be that in the form of a few weeks vacation or even a longer sabbatical.

Ryan Holmes, CEO at Hootsuite

Balancing work life and home life can be tough, but getting drowned by your workload won’t help you achieve much of anything. Burnout impacts your company’s bottom line. Find a balance.

5. Never stop learning

You went to high-school than attended college or university. Maybe you liked learning and had high grades, maybe you found school boring and couldn’t wait to finish your formal education. The good news is – learning never stops.

Whether you are a new entrepreneur just starting out, keep learning. Even if you are an experienced entrepreneur, keep learning.


In the last decade, our world experienced more technological leaps than in the previous century. Our lives have dramatically changed in ten years’ time.

It’s a fact: technology is accelerating, says inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil. In his book, ‘The Singularity is Near’, Kurzweil reminds us that smartphones didn’t exist a decade ago, no one owned a computer three decades earlier, and the first personal computers arrived about 40 years ago.

To put things in perspective, the iPhone in your pocket has over 100,000 times the processing power of the computer that landed man on the moon 50 years ago.

Formal education cannot keep up with our ever-changing and evolving world. It is a necessary foundation upon which to build our future. In school, we develop a vital skill – we learn how to learn and that we need to keep learning.

As a young boy, Elon Musk took refuge in reading. Talking about his childhood in one interview, Elon said he was raised by books – he would spend even 10 hours a day reading.

Bill Gates reads 50 books a year because reading is still the “main way that I both learn new things and test my understanding”, he said in a 2016 interview.

Whether it’s to develop a particular skill or acquire a new set of skills, keep learning. Go outside your interests and learn something new.

You might be surprised to find new ways that help you improve your performance or stimulate your creativity. Not so long ago, mindfulness and meditation were strictly associated with spiritual gurus. Today both mindfulness and meditation are two valuable techniques that support entrepreneurs achieve their goals.

6. Don’t listen to your inner critic

Do you ever think I’m not good enough, I won’t be able to perform, I will fail, I am a failure? This is your self-talk speaking negative thoughts.

Why is it that when we talk about a friend we find so many good and positive aspects, but when it comes to our own person, we are critical and judgemental?

The inner critic is a pattern of destructive thoughts toward ourselves. It can affect every aspect of our lives, including our self-esteem and confidence, our personal and intimate relationships, and our performance and accomplishments at school and work.


Read more – Self-awareness: 5 tactics to improve it

We all have that inner critical voice, but we need to acknowledge it through self-awareness and learn how to silence it.

Entrepreneurs, startup founders and professionals in every industry struggle with self-doubt and fear. These strong emotions are holding them back from being their best self and doing their best work.

Don’t allow your inner critic to dominate your life!

Bring down the imaginary walls that you have created in your mind and achieve your highest potential!

In her book, Banish your inner critic, author and Brand Minds 2019 speaker Denise Jacobs shows you how to transform your self-talk into a tool for success, identify and quiet your voice of self-doubt and generate more creative ideas than ever before.

This article will be continued with part 3.

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