An argument can be made that US Marines are among the toughest people in the world. They literally put their lives on the line day after day, work in small tight-knit teams and have a strong esprit des corps. And yet — they openly talk about their need for counseling and support. Heck, the US Marine Corp even has a “User Guide to Counseling”.
In startup lala-land we seem to think we’re tougher than any Marine. We don’t talk about the permanent stress we are under, we don’t talk about failure and we surely don’t talk about the fear we face every day. In our world everything is always just awesome. Our companies are in a permanent mode of success and the sky is the fucking limit.
This is not healthy.
As much as we have to show up “ready” and not let our own self-doubt and fear leak to our teams — we all need to vent from time to time. We need someone with whom we can be completely honest, who doesn’t judge us and who not only provides the proverbial shoulder to lean on but can see things also from our perspective and provide new insights.
There are many ways to get there: Friends of mine started their own little “startup anonymous” group where they get together once a week over pizza and beer and just be themselves. Others have found another founder in a different startup who became their sister/brother in arms. Whatever it is — make sure you acknowledge the fact that counseling is okay and needed.
We want you to be a Marine, not a superhero.