Entrepreneurs of every type and in every industry have the ability to positively change the world. Organizing their work and life to maximize output and make the biggest impact, however, requires willfulness, and if left to chance it can lead to frustration and giving up. This is especially true for “catalyst” entrepreneurs. Catalysts are people who take in a lot of information, see infinite possibilities and can’t stop themselves from taking action.
Tracey Lovejoy and Shannon Lucas believe that catalyst entrepreneurs need a very different way of managing energy. They are the co-authors of the best-selling book Move fast. Break Sh*t. Burnout. and co-founders of Catalyst Constellations and their clients are industry leaders and Fortune 500 companies, including Google, Microsoft, Meta, LinkedIn, Adobe, Amazon and Kaiser Permanente.
Lovejoy and Lucas are familiar with catalytic converters and their energy needs, as they fall into that category themselves. “Catalysts move quickly and burn brightly, but if they don’t take critical steps to properly manage their energy, they risk burning out,” explains Lucas.
The Danger of “Business”
Entrepreneurs, especially catalyst entrepreneurs, are constantly on the move. While Lucas and Lovejoy recognized the need for entrepreneurs to push hard, especially in the early days of starting a business, they explained that it can lead to burnout if not managed properly. “The idea of crowds is very real to entrepreneurs, so we can easily talk ourselves into freeing up time,” Lovejoy said.
Lucas and Lovejoy noted that many entrepreneurs aren’t quite sure about the right steps to build their businesses, so they rush in many different directions. “This creates an extra energy drain, and entrepreneurs may feel like some of it is wasted energy,” Lucas said.
To make matters worse, many entrepreneurs have an almost constant underlying fear that they are doing the wrong things. This is even stronger for catalyst entrepreneurs, who often move faster than their environment and see opportunities that others don’t.
This becomes a constant drain of energy, especially when entrepreneurs feel they have to hide their fear and anxiety from the people around them. “If this is not checked, this can quickly get out of hand. If that is the case, burnout will quickly follow.”
Intentionally pausing and reflecting
“One of the keys to avoiding burnout,” Lucas and Lovejoy said, “is to intentionally make time to pause and reflect on their path.” For example, taking the time to intentionally celebrate wins, whether it’s big sales, great publicity, or some other achievement.
Catalysts in particular tend to ignore this step, as they are constantly shifting and updating their targets. “What we thought was a win before we hit it becomes nothing more than a mark on the trail when we get it,” Lovejoy explained. “That’s going to be our standard approach, which means getting energy is difficult.”
By consciously taking the time to pause, catalyst entrepreneurs can energetically balance their inherent struggle between goal setting and neglecting their achievements once they get there, Lucas said. Moreover, taking the time to think helps catalysts to get more clarity about it Where their energy is best spent meaning they no longer have to spin in countless directions.
Prioritize charging your internal battery
In addition to taking time to pause and reflect, Lucas and Lovejoy recommend “turning your mental script” on how you view building a business. “Instead of seeing it as a sprint, learn to think of building a business as a marathon,” Lovejoy said. Lucas added, “There’s no one serving if you put yourself in a constant state of burnout.”
One of the best ways to change your mindset is to see yourself as the energy source of your company. In other words, you have to charge your internal battery on purpose.
This goes way beyond our typical understanding of self-care, Lucas said. She explained that “the term self-care occasionally conjures up images of spa weekends.” It feels like a luxury. Charging your primary battery source isn’t a luxury, though. It is an absolute necessity.
Model good energy management
To power your battery and build energy management into your life and corporate culture, Lucas recommends making this part of your schedule. Schedule time for breaks. Create a flexible, adaptable work schedule as much as possible. And, Lovejoy emphasized, “if you have a team, talk to them about power management and model it for them too.” If your team sees that you never take time off, you are communicating to them that good energy management is not a priority for you.”
In addition, they recommend that you become curious about what recharges you and what recharges the people around you. Lovejoy suggests talking to your people to find out what their unique needs are. Find out how to meet those needs within the confines of how your business operates.
When entrepreneurs have responsibility and autonomy and then add empathy, they build trust with their people. That, Lovejoy said, “leads to a higher-performing organization that is more likely to achieve the entrepreneur’s vision.”
You can change the world
Being a catalyst entrepreneur is an exciting, fast-paced journey. However, your ability to sustain yourself and your organization comes down to your ability to manage your energy and prevent burnout (or come back).
“You have to be able to recognize when you’re in a state of burnout, or approaching it, and take a moment to see what’s contributing to it,” Lovejoy emphasizes. “Then you have to start minimizing what costs you energy and maximizing those things that give you energy.”
Managing your energy is key to preserving your sanity and the energy of the people who work with you for extended periods of time. It is the key to achieving your vision and creating a world-changing impact.