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What A Startup Founder Can Learn From The Holiday Spirit

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What A Startup Founder Can Learn From The Holiday Spirit

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For most people, the spirit of a capitalistic enterprise is the exact opposite of the spirit of the winter holidays. This is not a new thought – it’s not without reason that the fictional elderly miser Ebenezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is a wealthy businessman, and that he needs to learn generosity and kindness from the three spirits of Christmas.

Good values instilled deep into your organizational culture are just as central to the flourishing of a startup project as they are to a successful life as a whole.

So, just like Ebenezer Scrooge did 180 years ago, here is what we can learn from the spirit of the holidays as startup founders.

Gratitude

“Reflect upon your present blessings—of which every man has many—not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.” – Charles Dickens

First and foremost, we need to acknowledge and be grateful for the unique positions we are in. We live in a unique time in history. More resources are getting invested in disruptive organizations and technology each year. The frontier of what is possible is expanding at unprecedented speeds, and as founders, we are part of the explorers on this frontier.

We have the unique opportunity to use our creativity not only to enrich ourselves but also to generate real value for future generations.

However difficult life gets, it is worth remembering the immense potential and value of our struggles.

Generosity

“There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say” – Charles Dickens

All we do in our projects is deeply intertwined with the lives of others – there is no escaping that. It’s not without reasons that good startup teams feel like a family.

If generosity and gratitude are central values in the culture you are building, then the time you spend with the people you work with would become much more pleasant, and we suspect much more productive.

This isn’t applicable just within your organization. Adopting a net-positive attitude is a great way to make sure you leave the world a better place than you found it regardless of the scale of your impact.

The adoption of the net-positive way of thinking about business is clearly visible in the trend towards becoming a benefit corporation – a type of corporation aiming to create value for its shareholders and all other stakeholders synergistically.

You don’t have to be a non-profit to do good. On the contrary – the free market is one of the main drivers behind the rising quality of life around the world and if companies of the future are committed to creating value for all stakeholders, then this trend would not only continue but speed up.

“For it is in giving that we receive.” – Francis of Assisi

Forgiveness

“Any fool can criticize, complain, and condemn—and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.” – Dale Carnegie

Startups are by definition innovative. What we do is hard, and consequently, failure and mistakes are inevitable.

The right attitude to thrive in such an environment is to be quick to forgive both yourself and others, yet to be relentless in learning and improving yourself so that you would be better equipped to succeed in the future.

Joy and Festivity

Finally, cultivating joy and celebrating successes can help to create a positive and motivating work culture.

“Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a frame of mind.” – Valentine Davies

Adopting this frame of mind can help you have both a happier and more productive professional life as an entrepreneur.

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