A Call To Visionary Leaders
An invitation to join a community of leaders interested in creating extraordinary impact, and feel well while we do it
We know what you’re going through.
To begin, there was a vision. A dream you had about a new possibility for our world. This dream energized a new sense of purpose within you, and from that purpose creativity, insights, and desires emerged.
As your vision crystallized, you began sharing your inspiration with your friends and family. Some of them may have laughed at you, but you knew their laughter was a sign you were onto something.
You began putting your vision into form -- performing market research, designing prototypes, recruiting mission-aligned team members, and getting those same friends and family to provide much-needed cash to seed the vision and allow you to fully focus.
On the topic of focus, you may be moving so fast right now that there is a small voice in your head wondering if you have time to read this post. You’re not alone. Since the mobile age, human attention span has decreased from 12 to 8 seconds. We now have less attention span than a goldfish. Let’s keep going.
With your vision in motion, your mind began venturing into desired futures where you achieved product/market fit, recruited a world-class team, and raised superfluous rounds of venture capital to actualize your greatest human potential. In your mind, this reality seemed only a couple of years away, and if someone had told you realistically you were signing up for 5+ years of unexpected setbacks, great highs, and terrible lows on the path to achieving market validation, you may have reconsidered dedicating the vast majority of your life energy to this beautiful vision.
But with all visionary endeavors, there comes a point on the journey where once you have accepted money from others, convinced people to dedicate their precious life energy to your mission, and constructed your whole social identity around your work that you realize an inconvenient truth -- at some point you are no longer running your company, your company is running you.
When this happens the experience of leading your visionary venture changes. Sundays no longer become a day off, but rather an opportunity for some much-needed headspace to get ahead of your team. As you look at the week ahead, anxieties percolate in the back of your mind:
The Sunday Scaries
Do we have enough money?
Will this new product or service work?
Will this new product or service work?
Are we going to get smoked by the competition?
How can we possibly accelerate our revenue that quickly to close the next round of capital?
Is it humanly possible to work harder than I already am?
All these other leaders seem to be crushing it, what’s wrong with me?
How do I maintain my team’s confidence with all these challenges?
What if we fail and I let my team members and investors down?
If we fail who would ever employ me?
Who can I talk to about what’s really going on for me?
You can spend years living within these cycles. Some weeks and months things are going great, and that keeps you sane. But in the back of your mind, you know the future is full of ups and downs, and you will ultimately need to solve massive problems on the path to achieving this beautiful vision.
When you feel good and well, you are up to the task. But most of the time, you are stretched thin, in a state of constant activation, and pushing your breaking point.
Each day you sweep your anxieties under the rug, gulp the caffeine, and power through to maintain your vision and desire for how the world could be. As a survival tactic, you find the bright spots in all situations, and you begin to tell yourself stories to justify this new reality that you are living in:
“If you are not working 16 hours per day, your competitors are.”
“It’s not about work/life balance, but rather managing the imbalance.”
“Once we get that next round of capital, hire the rockstar team, and recalibrate the next several years will be different.”
The Big Funding Round
The next round of capital arrives, and you briefly celebrate the milestone. You may even give yourself a few moments to consider that you are already successful. But then you recognize after sanctimonious press articles have been written about you, and several heavy-hitter, father-figure institutional investors have backed you, that you must find a way to grow even faster and double/triple your team size in 12 months. The expectations and pressures only increase. You are being asked to do something you've never done before, and the impostor syndrome and self-doubt creep in. You begin to wonder why you didn’t choose a life of meditating in caves, enjoying cacao ceremonies in Bali, and achieving enlightenment in whatever spiritual path calls you. Life seems to be comprised of two options:
A full-on, constantly activated life-journey where you're barely able to carve out time for yourself and the people you love the most
A lifestyle business where you sacrifice your greatest potential and contributions to society, but live well, and eventually write a book about how you dropped out of the rat race
But again, you cannot just call it quits. You are this company, and all these people have backed you.
You tell yourself it’s ok though. I’ll do #1 for several more years, and then once I accumulate a fortune, recognize my potential, and provide a nest egg for my family and future generations, then I’ll take time to “Be.”
You then hire an executive coach and make an investment in leadership development to upskill your team. The executive coach asks you:
Your body induces a trauma response and suddenly you develop Tourette’s… “oh please, no ____ing way.”
The coach provides a ray of hope that things can be different, but you know it’s not going to be easy to change your work habits and coping mechanisms. You've also reached a stage where you can no longer rely on the inspiration of your mission to overcome business deficiencies.
You are now playing the big finance game, and at that level, few care about the impact you are making. Somehow, you will need to achieve your mission while making sure your ARR, LTV, ACV, valuation multiples, contribution margin, and every other form of financial metric satisfies the ravenous desires of financial professionals who live in their own state of constant activation, adrenaline, and stress to experience dopamine hits in the form of Bloomberg features, IPO bells, and superfluous financial returns.
“If the next five years are like your last five years, are you excited to go on this journey?”
Like we said, we get it. We’ve been working with people like you for more than a decade, and not only have we been in your shoes, we are in your shoes.
You come to us asking for support as you navigate your capital raise, sales strategies, hiring, and team upskilling, but in addition to all that, what your soul is yearning for is an entirely new experience of being a visionary leader. You’re like Neo in the Matrix… sitting in front of your computer, having trouble sleeping at night, and knowing that there is just something not right with the world.
You are stuck in the Matrix, and you are playing a game that rewards sociopathic behavior. In your heart you know you don’t want to sacrifice your integrity for a bag of money. Some wiser part of you knows that no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, or even achieving outsized impact and becoming the “market leader” will lead to lasting fulfillment. We know this because some of the most successful founders and executives join us on quests to Bhutan searching for true meaning and fulfillment even after they have achieved what our current society defines as “success.”
As a society, we can feel in our bones that leaders (and humans) are in need of a software upgrade. We are spinning around like tops, moving faster and faster, and we just keep moving further away from a deeper sense of self that once anchored, allows us to navigate life, work, and the mysteries of the universe with poise, equanimity, and a steady hum of joy and contentment.
Here's the good news
It is possible to build an extraordinary, high-impact venture and feel well while you do it. It won’t always be easy, and you will stumble often. The system and the game are stacked against you, and it will take massive courage to wake from the dream and challenge the dominant mindsets and assumptions that are fueling the behavior of our current society.
To be clear, we are not talking about devising all sorts of strategies to change the world around us. If we are waiting for the world to be less chaotic, we are going to be waiting a long time.
They treat the symptom, not the disease.
What we are referring to is a fundamentally different sense of self that once cultivated, will catalyze meaningful change with everyone and everything you come in contact with. The people you love, your company’s culture, and the products and services you bring to society will evolve in extraordinary ways once you do the courageous work to dive deep within yourself and access a new sense of purpose that will catalyze your greatest potential for creativity and service.
This may sound far-fetched, but we want to assure you it’s not. We have spent the past five years researching the minds of visionary leaders, and we have been immersing ourselves in thousands of years of ancient wisdom with our indigenous partners globally. Everything we need to live our most extraordinary life already exists within us, and we just need to expand our awareness to come back into connection with it.
We are at a tipping point in humanity where we can courageously dream a new world into being. There will be plenty of breakdown to breakthrough moments along the path. This is why we need each other. We need community. We need to know we are not alone. When we stumble or forget, it’s important to have people there to love us in our mess.
As a community of leaders, if we hold each other with unconditional acceptance, care, and a relentless commitment to actualizing our greatest human potential, we can do something extraordinary.
What if we used the same creative energy we use to disrupt major systems to disrupt the way we build companies? The possibilities are limitless, and the time is now. COVID broke us open.
As a visionary leader, we have chosen you as our area of focus. You and your team are inventing the world that future generations of humans will live in. The changes that happen within you, to quote Maximus, can “echo in eternity.”
At Abroad we are a collection of entrepreneurs, coaches, psychologists, professors, and wisdom keepers who have spent our lives asking the deeper questions around what it means to cultivate a flourishing human existence. It is our honor to work with you, and we invite you to join us on our quest to see beyond the horizon of what we know.
We are not attached to you working with us. If another path is calling you, and this post simply confirms that you are on the right trajectory to achieve the fulfillment you desire, then wonderful.
But if there is a place within you that feels like your soul brought you to this very moment to fundamentally change your experience of life and work for the better, then welcome. We’re glad you’re here...
If you feel called to explore further, here are some ways to engage based on your available time and resources:
"Most of the strategies we are currently using to cope are like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic."
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