Countless articles claim to know “the top ten biggest tips for creating a business.” These brief lists can be fun, but they don’t tell you how to actually take that great idea for a business you always had and make it a reality!
I took the seeds of an idea I had over a year ago and actually did it! I created Junga World, a children’s media startup by following seven tools derived from the mindfulness precepts in Jon Kabat Zinn’s Full Catastrophe Living. These simple and practical tips will tell you how to build your own ‘mindful startup.’ Start taking your great idea from inception to realization right now!
1. Trust. To create an animated rock band, I faced the daunting reality that I had no previous experience with animation, kids media, or music. I did know that I wanted to teach kids compassion and acceptance, and I thought music and entertainment would be the most effective channels. So in the midst of self-doubt and fear of the unknown, I trusted my intuition and passion and moved forward with my goal.
2. Non-judging. As any fledgling entrepreneur knows, you become your own lawyer, accountant, assistant, and web developer because you can’t afford to hire professionals. Writing the operating agreement and studying HTML, I faced steep and frustrating learning curves. On a daily (and sometimes hourly basis), I stepped back and simply witnessed these feelings of frustration and ineptitude, letting them be until they passed on by.
3. Acceptance. Initially, I put all all my metaphorical eggs (and literal money) in one basket, creating a 3 minute music video. However, I underestimated the astronomical expense of animation, lighting, compositing, and rendering. So what did I do when faced with this setback? I practiced acceptance. Do I like making mistakes? I hate it. Could I accept that none of us are perfect (and wouldn’t the world be boring if we were??) That, I could do.
4. Patience. Once confronted with the realization that my goal of creating an animated music video with a minimal budget and no directing experience was unlikely to yield a high quality product, I panicked. My frustration and desperation precluded creative inspiration. I understood that it was better to take my time to regroup and gather fresh creative energy than to hastily throw together a new project. It took three months before I was ready to start over!
5. Beginner’s Mind. To figure out the next move, I tried to look at the project as if I were a separate person who didn’t have her finances and preconceived opinions on the line. I became my own outside consultant. With fresh eyes, my team devised a financially feasible strategy: create a short, fun one-minute trailer that introduced the characters in a way that highlighted their personalities and passions. It was tough to pivot that far along in the process but the final video exceeded all my expectations.
6. Non-Striving. Like most meaningful and satisfying pursuits, start-ups are risky and take an immense amount of work. It is easy to get sucked into blind ambition and tunnel vision. When I felt overwhelmed with my to do list, I would remember to be present for the process. If I chose to spend my life caught in the trap of “If/Then” (if it is a huge success/Then I will be happy) I would miss being present for the process, and it is all process.
7. Letting Go. As a typical business school graduate, I tried to project and calculate every possible outcome and anticipate every challenge. As a mindfulness practitioner, I knew that I ultimately didn’t have final control. I practiced letting go by taking a deep breaths, experiencing the nervous energy and tension of anxiety, and slowly allowing my muscles and mind to relax. I let go of the fear and remember that as long as I keep gauging my progress by the true barometers of success: personal growth, authentic happiness, and inner peace, extrinsic circumstances will never determine my inherent value. Together, we can create a Junga World that encourages kids (and adults) to discover their inner rockstars!