A founder has one of the most challenging jobs: leading a team of people to build something from nothing and reach unprecedented heights. It’s no wonder that founders feel burnout much more often than most team members. Biotech founders, in particular, face a seemingly insurmountable challenge of curing intractable diseases and developing technologies and therapies that truly change the lives of countless people globally.
To support biotech founders in their founder journeys, we put together a guide on combating founder burnout and building founder resilience.
Have a founder support network. While your friends and family members may be very supportive, only other founders understand the unique founder journey. Being the leader of a company is an incredible experience but can also be a very lonely one. Find other founders who truly empathize. Have a group chat where you can share wins and vents. Get together for coffee or drinks regularly.
For example, BIOS has a great community of founders.
Reframe mistakes. Instead of tying your self worth to perfection, embrace failing fast and making mistakes. Each mistake is an opportunity to learn and do better. Instead of tracking your wins and only celebrating those, track your mistakes as well and see those also as “wins” since mistakes are crucial stepping stones on your journey to success.
If an experiment fails or a partnership agreement falls through, instead of feeling very down about it, see it as an opportunity to learn from mistakes and continuously improve.
Focus on the process. Building a company is an incredibly long term journey (especially so for biotech founders). Instead focusing on the outcome which may never come, at least not in the way you expect, focus on the process. Learn to truly enjoy the messy middle and the journey. Instead of thinking constantly about what is next, be mindful and present and enjoy the here and now.
Celebrate the wins. Everyday can feel like an endless process of putting out fires. But when you look back on the past month or quarter, you realize how far you have come. Carve out time for yourself and your team to reflect on the wins accumulated over time that are often missed when people focus solely on the day to day.
Particularly with biotech companies, impact is paramount and where you derive the most meaning and fulfillment. Take a step back to realize and imagine the life saving impact your company has or will have.
Have boundaries. Founders often feel guilty when spending even a moment away from their startup, but ultimately, boundaries make you better. When you make time for yourself to sleep, exercise, and spend time with family, you come back feeling more refreshed, energized, and able to be more efficient. Moreover, in those moments away from work, you can often lose any tunnel vision and be able to consider the same challenges with a broader perspective and a more open mind.
Block off mornings or weekends to read nothing about your particular area of biotech. Go outside. Do something completely different to ground yourself and refresh your mind.
Focus on the people. What makes each biotech startup unique is the team. As a founder, you are able to pick the people you work with each day. Relish in that opportunity. Even when the work feels challenging, appreciate the time you get to spend with so many amazing people you admire, love, and look up to.
. . .
We put together an eBook for biotech founders on taking their company from zero to one.Check it out here.