Awesome People - Ep 44

Founder and co-founder coaching, the unknowns, comp survey

Hi founders and fellow VC Friends!

Each week we deliver one awesome person to your inbox. These are the people you need to know—the marketers, sales gurus, engineers, ops wizzes— who give your startup superpowers 🚀. The best part is, everyone is hireable on a part-time basis.

Please meet Elizabeth, Your Executive Performance Coach 🌟

She comes highly recommended by Atlas, one of the top founder coaching companies that I trust. Elizabeth works with founders to lead less stressed, more sustainable lifestyles, and widen their definitions of success. She coaches three foundational components of performance:

  1. Physical health

  2. Cognitive acuity/agility

  3. Emotional resilience

Optimal performance demands clarity, focus, alignment, and mastery. You’re more likely to build a breakout company when you feel energized and aren’t burned out 💪. 

Elizabeth trained in precision mental health, optimal human performance, and experiential inner growth (so cool!). She currently facilitates Inner Growth Groups, a 6-month deep dive for early-stage founders rooted in Stanford psychiatry teachings.

Right when I thought Elizabeth couldn’t get any cooler, I learned that she was selected as a finalist (out of over 10,000 people!) for The Next Food Network Star, and cooked for the Iron Chefs 🤩.

Over the course of her career, she’s helped countless early-stage founders backed by a16z, IVP, Sequoia, Kleiner Perkins, Initialized Capital, and other top VCs.

Elizabeth only works with a handful of 1:1 clients each year. Otherwise she focuses on peer group coaching, co-founder coaching, immersive leadership workshops, and science-based functional health assessments. She has special programs for female leaders too 🙏.  

Elizabeth is kindly offering 10 free founder coaching calls to the Awesome People community. Email me if you’re interested and I’ll connect you! 

Here are some of Elizabeth’s favorite pro tips 😍

To start, I asked Elizabeth for the 3 hardest lessons she’s learned by working with founders. They were super on point!

  1. Be afraid and do it anyway.

  2. Recognize and accept that you will be your hardest person to lead.

  3. Stay in your lane with laser focus and intention. Seeking external validation is the quickest path to derailment.

Now, moving on to the juicy stuff… 

Lean fiercely into the unknown

You’re not a founder by accident. Being a founder requires bravery and brilliance. Your job requires taking risks and leaps of faith.

It can be tempting to stay in your comfort zone because as humans our brains crave order to keep us safe. This is the deceptive “comfort trap.”  

The most successful people I know give themself permission to freefall into the abyss of the unknown.  

As Steve Jobs said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”

I worked with a founder whose company almost folded as a result of Covid. She wanted to declare bankruptcy and call it a day. She couldn’t see a path forward, but still believed in her mission.

Instead of quitting, she formed an informal advisory board, allowed herself to venture into the unknown. She bravely picked a new strategy. Today she’s in Europe forming new partnerships and on track to exceed all revenue expectations. 

Push yourself outside of your comfort zone because that’s where the magic happens. 

Self-blame is pointless

Inevitably at some point you’ll feel insecure as a founder. You’ll be tossed a curveball and you won’t know what to do. This is totally normal. 

The key is to train yourself to avoid self-blame during moments of “not knowing.” We tend to blame ourselves in an effort to control our environment, ourselves, outcomes, etc. Self-blame is more harmful than useful. Every day, you’re exposed to conditions outside of your control and you can’t blame yourself for everything. 

For example, the CEO of an award-winning app took every fundraising "no" as a personal rejection, blaming herself for a bad deck and lackluster pitch. She became so focused on self-blame (“I knew I should have spent more time explaining the market opportunity, I shouldn’t have talked too much, The mission isn’t compelling enough…”) that she couldn't see her wins and path forward. In reality, other high-quality investors were knocking down her door with term sheets. 

Self-blame disconnects founders from reality and perpetuates false mental narratives. It happens to the best of us. The key is to catch your inner critic, flip the narrative, and remember you're doing your best.

Sleep is your secret weapon

Only 1% of the population can thrive on less than 6.5-7 hours of sleep.  The rest of us without that genetic variant will inevitably hit a state of burnout if we don’t prioritize deep sleep. Sleep is necessary to flush out the toxins that accumulate in the brain daily and allow ourselves to recover.

It’s not sexy, but it’s science.  If you do nothing else to ensure a successful outcome for your company and well-being, make sleep a top priority.

That’s all for this week ✨! If you want an intro to Elizabeth, email me and I’ll connect you!

Stay awesome, 

Julia Lipton

Founder of Awesome People and Awesome People Ventures

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P.S Goodies

Join the next Awesome People talent accelerator 🎉

We kicked off our talent accelerator yesterday with 10 awesome alumni from Tesla, Spotify, Apple, AngelList, Github, Box, and other top startups! Are you consulting curious? If you want to be your own boss (hello side-hustle!), join the waitlist for our next cohort here.

Survey: How much should I charge?

If you’re currently freelancing, consulting, or advising, and asking “How much should I charge?” you’re not alone. To help, we put together a simple < 1 min anonymous survey to help us all better understand consulting pricing. As they say, give and you shall receive. Take the survey and after you press submit you’ll see everyone’s results. 

*If you’re a founder or hiring manager, feel free to answer it too. In your case, just answer with who you’ve hired and at what hourly rate. 

Most recent Awesome People 🙏

Jason - Fundraising coach. He's a trusted advisor in the LA startup community and Silicon Valley Bank’s go-to-partner for fundraising coaching.

Nick - iOS Developer. Most recently, he built Watch DogBuzzfeed TastyPlayboy Coloring Book, and Nike SNKRS. He’s a big fan of motion design, specifically animations and transitions.

Kendall - Product Management and Gamification Egxpert. He’s worked with MicrosoftTencent, and Mya to launch products, design user flows, and scale engagement.

Let me know if you want intros to any of the people above and I’ll connect you!

❤️ ❤️ ❤️