On Friday morning, we headed over to a breakfast meet-up hosted by The Bakery and The Start-up Kitchen. It was the perfect way to start the day. Chatting with interesting people whilst scoffing a beautiful breakfast spread (thanks Elysia!).
Hazelnut milk aside, the highlight, and the inspiration for writing this blogpost, was the speaker.
When I heard that James was here to talk about ‘employee well-being’, images sprung to mind of him flogging in-office adult ball pits or an impassioned argument for “working smart, not long”. But, we were pleasantly surprised.
James spoke candidly about the emotional roller coaster of his career so far; from dropping out of uni and founding a successful start-up, the demise of said start-up, to piecing his life back together. He spared few details; telling us about his own realisation that he didn’t like the product he was building, his anxiety attacks, and a blow-by-blow account of the of pain of dismantling his own business. It was raw, genuine, and there wasn’t a powerpoint slide in sight.
The thing that was most striking about James, was how he framed his vulnerability in such a factual way. He talked about his emotions very objectively and persuasively, showing us that they are an important part of the story that deserve air time. He's taken this direct approach in to the heart of his new venture Sanctus, which aims to treat mental health in the same way we treat physical health: something that can always be improved on - a muscle you can build at the gym.
At just 6 weeks into TAP, we are still in the honeymoon phase of the start-up journey. But what we have learnt from James is that when worries and stress do inevitably intensify; like any other business development - it needs to be addressed. Own it, and with any luck, it won’t own you.