How to enjoy every step of the startup journey – Mark MacLeod

January 21, 2021 - Mark MacLeod

How to enjoy every step of the startup journey

It’s no secret that startups are roller coasters. The highs are definitely high. The lows are most definitely low. I often joke that startups are like sausages: they taste good, You just don’t want to know how they are made.

Every startup has issues. Even ones that, from the outside looking in, are crushing it.

With this background. I’d like to offer a simple practice that I’ve been recommending to some of my CEOs recently. A practice that I adopted myself years ago.

I have kept a journal for most of my adult life. I write in it most days. I find it valuable as an archive of my past and a way to wrap up each day in a bow. Even our most challenging days are not all bad. Every day, there are things to celebrate and be thankful for. The suggested practice is to note those things each and every day

A daily gratitude practice

If you take a few minutes at the end of each day to look back on your day to note what you are a grateful for, a few great things happen.

For starters, you wrap up your day. If your brain was still processing the day in any way, you process that. This leads to better, more restful sleep.

In addition, the daily habit of noting what you are grateful for gives you energy and motivation for the next day. It also re-wires your brain to be more positive overall. Over time, this is extremely powerful and builds resilience.

Now, l would argue that most entrepreneurs are optimists. Otherwise, they wouldn’t look to create something out of nothing.


If l generalizes many entrepreneurs are never satisfied. They never appreciate what has been accomplished because they are always looking ahead.

This relentless forward motion is a key part of the magic that propels startups to great heights. But, it often comes with a heavy price for founders’ mental health.

All I am suggesting is that you take a little time every day to appreciate and acknowledge what happened today. The startup journey is a long one. Great things take time. Acknowledging and feeding off the energy and momentum of daily gratitude is really powerful.

Final note: as l have written about before, there is an even bigger opportunity with a daily gratitude practice: To not only fuel yourself but to acknowledge and motivate your team.

Try this practice for yourself. Extend it to your team and watch great things start to happen.

Questions to consider

How often do I take the time to acknowledge the great things that happen each day? In my company and in my life?

On the bad days, do I see and appreciate anything positive that happened? Or is it all bad?

What impact would daily journaling have for my state of mind and self awareness?

What impact would expressing gratitude daily have on myself? And on my team?

Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash


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