“I Am Not My Work” – Fear and Mindfulness in Entrepreneurship

Rohan Gunatillake is a business owner.
He is the creator of a new mindfulness app, Buddhify, which brings meditation, affirmations and calm into your busy day wherever you are. Listening to his talk about fear, work and mindfulness at the 99u Conference, we at Intent were very familiar with so much of what he covered.

What if I miss out on creating something amazing?
The app and tech worlds are growing. Everyone is making something and it feels like everyone is making it faster than you are. Does that mean it’s unwise to take the leap into development? Or are you missing out on something really amazing because of all the ‘what-ifs’?

What if my whole team burns out mid-stride?
Have you just proven your ineffectiveness if your entire team burns out while you’re trying to create something that helps people not burn out in their work? I don’t know that every industry faces a challenge like this but the health and wellness industry does. In seeking to offer rest to others, there is a concern that we will work ourselves to the bone and have nothing to show for it at the end.

What if my business scale is not what I hoped for?
Is 1 person being impacted enough? For some, 30,000 customers would be amazing but is that laughable when you think of how much money and time was invested? What is enough?¬†Gunatillake shares his story of sitting down with investors after the launch of his app and learning how to look at “enough” even in the face of expectations and dollar bills.

What if Im a failure?
Gunatillake was quick to point out that there was a difference between “What if I fail?” and “What if I’m a failure?” One is tied to action and one is tied to identity. Creating anything means you have the opportunity to fail. It also means you have to be extra mindful in remembering that one failure doesn’t define you. He even shares simple affirmations to remember in our modern world like “I am not my work.” It seems important that whatever you might be using to label you’re entire identity (whether that’s you’re career or your appearance, your kids, your bank account), you can find a way to remember that you as a human are never summed up by one slice of the pie.

You are not your work.

So what are you afraid of? What is defining you?
And what amazing thing is on the other side of fear?