Mantras might sound esoteric, but they can be incredibly helpful for anyone facing professional or personal challenges. Many entrepreneurs today cling to core values and mantras to help make their dreams a reality--and to navigate the thin line between burnout and passion.
Without a mantra or reminder as to why someone should continue walking through fire, burnout will ultimately lead to surrender. A recent report on employee engagement trends found that 62 percent of respondents suffer from burnout. But what can be done to keep someone from throwing in the towel?
Michael Lagoni, CEO of Stackline, understands running a company can feel overwhelming at times. Starting from $300 in his studio apartment "office," he built his retail analytics brand from the ground up and now serves more than 2,000 customer brands like Google, Levi's, and General Mills globally.
And while passion, grit, and gratitude serve as fuel for Michael and his team, he shared with me three specific mantras that support and guide him through the toughest business obstacles.
1. Make bold bets.
For better or worse, some tech companies have clung to the "move fast and break things" mentality. Michael sees it's critical to encourage his people to work on bold, innovative technologies while keeping the destruction to a minimum. "This helps recruit top talent and ensures our company will stay ahead of the competition over the long term."
2. Do the work others won't.
In a fast-paced startup environment where it's all-hands-on-deck, each team member needs to wear many hats. Michael shared how this mantra plays at work for Stackline: "We've found our team performs best when each member finds satisfaction in engaging in work at all levels, from managing complex projects to helping clean up data in a spreadsheet. No work is beneath anyone here because of title. In fact, we encourage people to participate in work at all levels since we've found the best product ideas come from colleagues who pair a high-level understanding of the macro trends in the industry with the nitty-gritty details of how the job gets done every day."
3. Make grit your secret weapon.
Malcolm Gladwell praised Angela Duckworth's book Grit for its important reminder that character and perseverance set the successful apart. No stranger to grit, Michael assured me his team believes the same. "It's our belief grit is what separates good from great, and it's the most important characteristic of someone who will find a way to thrive no matter the headwinds," he said. "We think of grit as our secret weapon, demonstrated by a relentless commitment to doing more, going deeper, and working smarter than anyone else."
Finding Your Own Mantra
A Harvard Business Review survey found nearly 50 percent of chief executives believe their role was "not what I expected beforehand." There is no single piece of advice or silver bullet that will solve each challenge an executive will face, as there will always be unexpected or unique scenarios. Those in leadership positions should seek executive coaching and network with others in their role to learn and hear what works for each individual. These lessons can help shape and foster a powerful, personal mantra that can serve them for years.