Fear is a powerful trigger for our lizard brains, the part of us that holds us back from making bolder choices.
One way to overcome this automated response from the ancient part of our brain, that Xenia and I talked fondly about, is to surround yourself with people who bring out the best in yourself.
No, I’m not talking about cheerleaders but about people who will challenge you and tell you difficult things no one else would.
Part 4: Notice the subtle things
Xenia also talks about the power of subtler aspects and how impactful they can be for both decisions you make and the ones that other people make for you.
You may want to keep an… ear out for that in the episode, irrespective of your current job and role.
While the startup culture has many downsides, many of which are becoming blatantly obvious, it also has some great concepts that are worthy applying. One of these is dealing with complexity, something founders are required to do.
Noticing these subtle aspects is essential when talking to an investor, for example. And you can’t cultivate this ability to observe and notice without a strong sense of self-awareness. At least in my view.
When you listen to her story, you’ll learn exactly how Xenia developed self-awareness. The process involved a different kind of work, a type of work many people don’t have a name for. Seth Godin calls it…
Part 5: Emotional labor
Having difficult conversations.
Making decisions that make you uncomfortable now but know will lead to better outcomes in the future.
These are some types of emotional labor with the list going on and on.
To free up the mental space required for this kind of work, Xenia plans to apply something she saw worked for Mathilde Collin, CEO of Front, and one of Xenia’s role models.
This involves taking an hour each week to focus on evaluating priorities. No phone. No laptop. Just her, a pen, and a notepad.
As Xenia noticed in her own work, “checking off tasks feels good and it makes you avoid the big ones that are messy.” But as we both know, those are the important challenges worth tackling.