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An Entrepreneur's Guide to Keeping Your Head Without Losing Your Heart


Whether you are an employee or an employer, your main concerns are surviving and staying on top.  The field draws individuals who are driven, creative and intense, but even people suited to this work can find themselves in dire straits.  This doesn’t only concern the health of their business, but their physical and mental health as well.  Stress takes a toll, and if you aren’t mindful of its pitfalls then you might find yourself suffering from anxiety, obesity, addiction or other manifestations of illness.  Your relationships may likely suffer as well, worsening your symptoms. 

Entrepreneurs Guide to Keeping Your Heart Without Losing Your Heart

These types of difficulties aren’t widely discussed, and according to Sheryl O’Loughlin’s book, Killing It, MBA programs are resistant to the link between work-induced stress and mental illness.  O’Loughlin knows about this link firsthand, having been a former CEO of two successful companies and the current CEO of REBBL while married and raising a family.  Her personal experiences are the backbone of the book, detailing the long road toward striking a balance between work and home. 

Here are some highlights of O’Loughlin’s writings: 

  • Most startups fail, which adds to the amount of stress and anxiety people in the business world face every day. This doesn’t only involve the long hours and lack of sleep… It’s the risk-taking associated with the job as well.
  • A love of what you do and the passion to pursue are good things; however, they shouldn’t take over your life. If they do, you’re putting your health and relationships on the line.
  • Failures can happen due to a variety of factors, most often due to hubris, lack of research or exhaustion from stress.
  • The importance of marriage, parenthood and friends in your life is a two-way street – you need to be there for your kids and form solid partnerships with your significant other and friends in order to stay healthy.
  • The same goes for your co-workers and employees. It’s important to foster trust that benefits everyone and maintain boundaries that keep work and home separate. 

Although O’Loughlin’s experience is only one of many, her observations are applicable to anyone since stress manifests itself in a variety of ways.  Killing It shares anecdotes about various figures in the business world, from Victoria Lai to James Eisenberg, demonstrating how habits can make you or break you.  It also offers particular insight on being a woman in the industry, which can be hampered by higher expectations and sexism.  

If you often find yourself weighing the benefits of your work against your health and personal life, remember there’s nothing wrong with self-care.  Reading Killing It might just be the wakeup call you need. 

Here is the summary from Amazon

“The former CEO of Clif Bar, co-founder of Plum, and serial entrepreneur offers insights about launching and growing a business while maintaining a fulfilled life in this practical guide filled with hard-won advice culled from the author’s own sometimes dark, raw experiences.  With a foreword by Steve Blank.

“Aspiring entrepreneurs are told that to launch a business, you must go all in, devoting every resource and moment to making it work.  But following this advice comes at an enormous personal cost: divorce, addiction, even suicide.  It means sacrificing the intangibles that make life worth living.

“Sheryl O’Loughlin knows there is a better way.  In Killing It, she shares the wisdom she’s gained from her successful experiences launching a company from the ground up (Plum), running two fast-growing companies (Clif Bar and REBBL), and mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs (Stanford University). She tells it like it is: If you don’t invest in your wellbeing your business will not succeed, nor will you.

“Sheryl knows firsthand the difficulty of balancing the needs of her growing family with her physical and mental health, while managing other work and life challenges. In this warm, honest, and wise handbook, she gives you the essentials for killing it in business—without killing the rest of your life.

“Filled with real-life examples and anecdotes, Killing It addresses common questions including:

  • How do you prepare your significant other for your business venture?
  • How do you time launching and growing your business with the ebb and flow of family life?
  • How do you find joy in the day-to-day?
  • How do you maintain meaningful, supportive friendships?
  • How do you walk away and start again? 

“The ultimate life and business course, Killing It gives entrepreneurs the tools they need to start their enterprise and thrive—both in the office and at home.”

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Posted by Mark Jewell