Founders—Pause for Breath! Effective Founders Take Time to Breathe Consciously
Founders—Pause for Breath! Founders often forget they’re breathing, because they are so busy making things happen. This is true for other high pressure occupations, too. That is one of the reasons why there are a wide range of programs, apps and other tools to help founders and others pause for breath—and do better for themselves and those around them, through this simple form of meditation.
Founders who pause for breath not only find that they can reduce their stress this way, they tend also to increase their focus, avoid distraction and stay in the moment, so that their venture keeps on track and becomes more effective. This is the kind of startup advice that you won’t find on most startup sites, but I can tell you, it’s a secret worth sharing!
You can start with just trying to stop what you’re doing or thinking—just for a minute or two to concentrate on you breath; in and out. Try it and see how it feels to just breathe, nothing else. Then when you can manage a minute or two, you can move on to longer spells of just breathing. If thoughts come up (and they will), practice letting them go, and return to the breath.
Here are a couple of breathing apps designed to help you stay calm, reduce stress and keep focused: Breath2Relax from the Defense Health Agency, Universal Breathing from Saagara, or Buddhify from Mindfulness Everywhere, but there are many others. Find the one that suits you and become a founder who breathes consciously!
The 2012 meditation startup, Calm raised $27 million in June 2018, which shows just how significant this niche sector has become. Calm offers a mindfulness breathing app that has had over 26 million downloads, and offers other products, with plans to offer Calm branded clothing, home-ware, hotels and more, hence this new funding.
Disclosure: I have been practicing Insight Meditation (focuses on mindfulness & true nature of reality) for twenty years or so, but I still struggle to focus on my breath for the twenty-five minutes that I spend sitting most mornings, without all kinds of thoughts distracting me. You might think that it would be easy to clear your monkey brain for such a short space of time. It’s not, and particularly if you are new to the practice.
Founders who take a breath consciously don’t have to be students of Buddhism to meditate, though a deeper appreciation of meditation will come through study. An uncommitted way to make a start is by searching online for the two words ‘meditation’ and ‘entrepreneur’ together. You will be surprised how many links there are—not only to free and paid apps, but also to entrepreneurs who meditate, benefits, courses, guided meditations, neurological evidence, meditation timers, and more.
A simple free tool is called xhalr.com—a moving graphic that you watch to focus on your breath—inhaling and exhaling. Even as someone who has been practicing for a long time, I’ve found it very helpful to have the tool available. Look at the screen and watch the two words expanding and contracting, for time intervals that you can set, depending on how deeply your breathe. It is slightly mesmerizing, and it may be that effect that keeps you focused on your breath, for a minute, three minutes, or as long as you want. The simple controls can be changed easily. There are no instructions, other images or sound, unless you want to add audio. There’s nothing to download, so giving it a try will only take seconds. Surprise yourself and use this advice to pause to breathe consciously and use it as startup advice you’ll not regret.