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Growth from Within

by Roxana Valea

A startup can only grow as much as its founders. And when founders reach their limits they need to find a way to go beyond them.

Scaling is the buzzword in the startup world. We talk about product scaling, revenue scaling, and process or system scaling. But how about people? Can we scale people and what does that mean?

As a business grows, so do its people. Or so they should. The reality though is that a founder is an entrepreneur, not necessarily a manager. And as their business grows, they suddenly find themselves dealing with new responsibilities, new areas in which they have little or no expertise. The old way of doing things is not working any longer, but the new way is nowhere in sight. In this rapidly changing reality, a founder sooner or later comes to terms with the notion of inner growth or people scaling. For the business to grow, they need to grow too.

What are the areas in which a founder needs to grow in order to keep their company growing?


This is the obvious one. A founder who’s a passionate chemist might not know anything about finance. Someone who is an excellent engineer might have no idea about company law. To some degree, they can recruit the people they need to fill these skills gaps. But what if the areas are closer to the core of the business? Interpersonal relationships, strategy, managing people. After all, a founder cannot hire another founder to replace himself.

To gain these skills that can’t be delegated, founders have two options:

  1. Formal training. This takes time and if there’s one thing a founder is scarce on (besides money), it is time.
  2. Coaching & mentoring. They can hire a coach or a mentor or turn to their advisory boards for direction. And many do exactly this


This is the second most obvious thing. They need the right mindset. Many have it when they start the business but might lose their drive and motivation along the way. They might get entangled in irrelevant details. They might slide into power struggles. Or they might lose sight of the bigger picture. It takes tremendous psychic energy to start a business, and all this is based initially on the right mindset and energy of the founders. If the founders lose their drive and motivation the business will reflect this.

There are several ways to make sure you keep the right mindset, motivation and drive

  • hire a coach
  • follow a meditation/mindfulness routine
  • make time to connect to yourself, your goals, visions and dreams.


Many people realise immediately when they don’t have enough physical energy. When they lack sleep, food or exercise. But what not many realise is that our energy consists of much more than our physical energy.

One of these overlooked areas of personal energy is presence. What is presence? It’s what makes some people stand out and others blend in the crowd.

As its name suggests, presence comes from being ‘present’. Present inside your body. It’s a state of mind called being in the now, being in the flow or simply put, being inside your body. When you are inside your body you have more weight, more ‘gravity’ and hence more gravitas.

When you flow outside of your body in the bubble of your thoughts you lose that quality of presence that makes you memorable. The same goes for when you’re lost in thoughts about the past or projections about the future. Stay aware of both past and future but keep the bulk of your energy in the present, in your body. And this is how you have ‘presence’.

What also matters is the quality of your energy. It’s not enough to have enough energy. The quality of that energy matters too. Is my energy clean? Is it representing me? Is it muddled with the thoughts and desires of others? Am I vibrating high? What type of emotions do I usually feel? Are they high vibration emotions like gratitude, love, and desire to be in service? Or low vibration emotions like jealousy fear or anxiety? In short, what is the quality of my energy?

And here we often go off the beaten track in terms of finding support. This is the territory of specialised coaches and therapists, meditations and mindfulness practices, self-awareness and self-introspection practices, and even spiritual practices.

But there’s even a deeper level of energy that comes into play and that ultimately makes the difference between success and failure in a start-up: The level of unconscious trauma a person carries.

Many of us carry trauma and most of it is subconscious. Contrary to the popular belief, trauma does not come necessarily as a response to a real life-threatening event but rather to a perceived life-threatening event. And in the world of perception, many events can seem that way, especially in early childhood. As a result, we grow up and become adults that carry unconscious patterns of trauma. These patterns find a way to come up in an attempt to enter our awareness. And they come up through the life patterns we create, the situations we enter into, the type of people we partner with and so on. For founders of start-ups, these unconscious patterns play an important role in the life of their start-ups and often make the difference between failure and success.

How do you address these deep unconscious patterns? Here we enter the territory of healing therapies whether conventional – things like psychotherapy, counselling etc or alternative – sound healing, Reiki or shamanic energy medicine for instance. 

Does this mean all startup founders need a therapist to make sure their business succeeds? Not necessarily. What they all need though is an awareness of how their level of skill, mindset and energy impacts their startup. They need to understand and recognise that a start-up gets born and fed through their energy and the quality of this energy determines the health of their business.

After all, as inside so outside. We all manifest what we carry inside. So when your business shows signs of strain, look inside first. Find that issue whatever it is. Address it. And then go out there and address the manifestation of that problem in the outside world.

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