Run your business at 200 miles an hour? You can be a catalyst entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs of every kind and in every industry have the ability to make positive changes in the world. However, organizing their work and life to maximize output and make the greatest impact requires intentionality, and if left to chance can lead to frustration and resignation. This is especially true for “catalyst” entrepreneurs. Catalysts are people who take in too much information, see endless possibilities, and can’t stop themselves from moving into action.

Tracey Lovejoy and Shannon Lucas believe that catalyst entrepreneurs require a completely different method of energy management. They are co-authors of the best-selling book Move Fast. Vacation Sh*t I burn. and Catalyst Constellations co-founders and their clients include industry leaders and Fortune 500 companies, including Google, Microsoft, Meta, LinkedIn, Adobe, Amazon and Kaiser Permanente.

Lovejoy and Lucas are familiar with catalysts and their power needs, being in that category themselves. “Catalysts move fast and burn brightly, but if they don’t take decisive steps to manage their energy properly, they risk burning out,” Lucas explained.

The danger of “hustling”

Entrepreneurs, especially catalyst entrepreneurs, are constantly on the move. While Lucas and Lovejoy acknowledged that it is necessary for entrepreneurs to put in a lot of effort, especially in the early days of starting a business, they explained that doing so can lead to burnout if not managed properly. “The notion of hustling is very real for entrepreneurs, so we can easily talk about not wasting time,” Lovejoy said.

Lucas and Lovejoy noted that many entrepreneurs aren’t quite sure what the right steps are to build their business, so they’re rushing in many different directions. “This creates an additional energy drain, and entrepreneurs can 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 working on the wrong things. This is even stronger for catalyst entrepreneurs, who often move faster than those around them and see opportunities that others do not.

This becomes a constant drain of energy, especially when entrepreneurs feel they have to hide their anxiety and fear from the people around them. “Left unchecked, this can quickly spiral out of control. When that happens, burning will soon follow.”

Deliberately pause and reflect

“One of the keys to avoiding burnout,” said Lucas and Lovejoy, “is to intentionally take the time to stop and reflect on your path.” For example, taking time to intentionally celebrate wins, whether they’re big sales numbers, great publicity, or some other achievement.

Catalysts in particular have a tendency to ignore this step because they are constantly changing and updating their goals. “What we thought was a victory before we achieved it becomes nothing more than a marker along the road when we achieve it,” Lovejoy explained. “This becomes our default approach, which means energy is hard.”

Taking time to consciously pause helps catalyst entrepreneurs energetically balance their natural struggle between setting goals and then ignoring their accomplishments once they get there, Lucas said. Plus, taking time to reflect helps catalysts become clearer where their energy is best spent, which means they no longer have to spin in a multitude of directions.

Prioritize charging your internal battery

Along with taking time to stop and reflect, Lucas and Lovejoy recommend “reversing your mental script” for how you see building a business. “Instead of thinking of it as a sprint, learn to see building a business as a marathon,” Lovejoy said. Lucas added, “It doesn’t serve anyone if you push yourself into a constant state of burnout.”

One of the best ways to change your mindset is to learn to see yourself as the energy source of your business. In other words, you need to charge your internal battery on purpose.

This goes beyond our typical understanding of self-care, Lucas said. She explained that “the term self-care conjures up images of spa weekends every time.” It feels like a luxury. However, charging the main battery source is not a luxury. It is an absolute must.

Model good energy management

To activate your battery and build energy management into your life and company culture, Lucas recommends making it part of your schedule. Schedule vacation time. As much as possible, create a flexible and adaptable work schedule. And, Lovejoy emphasized, “if you have a team, talk to them about power management and model it for them as well.” If your team sees that you never take a break, you are communicating to them that good energy management is not a priority for you.”

Along with this, they recommend becoming curious about what recharges you and what recharges the people around you. Lovejoy suggests talking to your people to understand their unique needs. Figure out how you can fit those needs within the confines of how your business works.

When entrepreneurs have responsibility and autonomy, and then add empathy, they build trust with their people. This, 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 and fast-paced journey. However, your ability to sustain yourself and your organization comes down to your ability to manage your energy and avoid (or bounce back from) burnout.

“You have to be able to recognize when you’re in a burnout state, or getting close, and take a moment to see what’s contributing to it,” Lovejoy points out. “Then you have to start minimizing what takes away your energy and maximize those things that give you energy.”

Managing your energy is key to maintaining your mental health and the energy of the people you work with for longer periods of time. It’s the key to achieving your vision and creating world-changing impact.

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