While the giants of the tech and entrepreneurship world may claim to advocate for a focus on connectivity and productivity, those words can ring hollow when their actions

Written by Harry Justus

Feb 5, 2021 / 5 min. read

Putting Founders' Mental Health in Focus

While the giants of the tech and entrepreneurship world may claim to advocate for a focus on connectivity and productivity, those words can ring hollow when their actions do not seem to reflect their values. It is easy to forget about more practical and personal matters that help people to be their best selves.

This year, TechBBQ is placing an even greater focus on mental health for entrepreneurs and innovators in the tech industry, because this vitally important topic is not talked about nearly enough. With our Mental Health project in partnership with Velliv Foreningen, we’re helping entrepreneurs better orient themselves and their companies to reach their full potential— and keep a balanced life while they do it.

One of our partners for this project is Martin Bjergegaard, the co-founder of Heartful Academy, who we talked to in order to get his perspective on the importance of keeping a balanced, mentally healthy lifestyle. Martin is also a co-founder of TechBBQ and Rainmaking, so he is no stranger to the entrepreneurial and innovation community. Martin wants to focus less on the “how” and “what” of starting and running a company, and more on the “why” — he emphasized the importance of companies asking “why are we doing what we are doing?” Martin sees this as a key question, stating:

“We need to upgrade our ways, for the sake of the planet and ourselves. The change will be led by progressive startups, innovators, investors and business leaders. We need to open our hearts so that we feel alive, connected and joyful. This way we can create, build and innovate from a state of oneness and benevolence, rather than the energies of fear, greed and separation that we have normalised.”

It’s no secret that entrepreneurs often overwork themselves, sometimes to the point of burnout. But instead of avoiding this, they wear it as sort of a badge of honor. The problem is, this is simply not sustainable, and can end up harming all involved.

“When you are innovating, and creating, that is an extension of your inner state. So if you are not feeling good on the inside, what you create will not be benevolent. You can only be kind and compassionate if you feel those things in yourself— where else would it come from? Just good intentions aren’t enough. If we are stressed out, fearful, depressed, feeling separate, then we cannot act on our good intentions— they will be distorted.”

It’s no secret that entrepreneurs often overwork themselves, sometimes to the point of burnout. But instead of avoiding this, they wear it as sort of a badge of honor. The problem is, this is simply not sustainable, and can end up harming all involved.

Martin’s most important recommendation sounds simple, but is significant: just slow down! Take a break and center yourself— he noted that there are many studies supporting the positive effects of meditation and mindfulness. The process of starting and scaling a company can feel like running down a steep hill— it feels like if you try to stop, you’re going to trip and fall on your face. But the reality is different. Everyone has a few minutes they can take to slow down and take in the view— you will be happier for it, and your work will no doubt reflect that.

Talking to Martin illuminated the importance of maintaining one’s mental health when working with startups and entrepreneurship. Essentially, if you are not coming from a positive internal space, it is practically impossible to enact positive changes externally. Going forward, it is our hope that the work of TechBBQ, Velliv, and people like Martin will spread this message, help companies to do good work, and feel good doing it.

This article originally appeared in Iværksættermagasinet’s special TechBBQ 2019 edition. It has been edited and updated for content.

Read more

The ESG Napkin

The VC PreSeed Ventures have pioneered early-stage investing in Denmark and Southern Sweden by backing and actively supporting tech start-ups in

Read more