Prioritizing Founder Health: Supporting Success in Startups

Published on
May 16, 2023
Jennifer Cabala
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Prioritizing Founder Health: Supporting Success in Startups

As startup founders and investors, we often praise the hustle mentality of working long hours to achieve success. However, research shows that this approach does not necessarily lead to better outcomes, and can even have adverse effects on the physical and mental health of entrepreneurs. The consequences of burnout, poor decision-making, and physical health conditions can take a founder out altogether, impacting company performance in the long run. As supporters of entrepreneurs, it is important to prioritize and support their health and wellbeing. Mosaic co-developed a wellness program for founders with Dr. Jack Kreindler called WellFounded to focus on this issue. 

Based on the work of the WellFounded team with startup founders, common patterns have emerged that impede the overall health of entrepreneurs. These include neglecting reflection and processing time, ignoring basic needs such as proper nutrition and sleep, and failing to address health issues early. While it is not the role of supporters to do the work, we can create an environment that promotes healthier habits and make helpful suggestions without overstepping boundaries. 

Lead by example

One effective way to lead by example is by showing founders that we value our own health and well-being. Scheduling late-night calls or sending emails during late-hours can give the impression that it is acceptable to prioritize work over rest. 

Smart meeting times

Using 25 or 50 minute meeting times that allow for breaks and time to process information can help to reduce stress and increase productivity. Additionally, promoting walking meetings and sit/stand desks can encourage more movement throughout the day.

Plan healthier events 

As a supporter of entrepreneur's health, it's important to plan events that reflect our commitment. For meal-related events we can include nutritious protein-rich food options and ensure there are tasty non-alcoholic drinks, as alcohol is a known sleep disrupter. For special events, we can include discussions of health and wellness, and incorporate movement-oriented activities such as nature walks or basic yoga to promote physical activity and relaxation. 

Offer Support

If a founder mentions a health issue, offering to help connect them with a doctor can make a significant difference in their ability to prioritize their health. Many founders may dismiss their health issues due to a lack of time or resources, but these problems rarely resolve on their own and can have serious long-term consequences. By offering support and resources, we can help founders address these issues before they become more significant problems. 

Ultimately, building a successful company is a long-term process, and supporting founders' health and well-being early on can increase their chances of longevity and success. As supporters of entrepreneurs, we have the opportunity to create an environment that values health and wellness, allowing founders to perform at their best as leaders.