Too often success comes at a personal price.

But does it have to be this way?

Since co-founding a business with my partner in crime, Sally, we’ve both been on personal learning, sucking up all kinds of information to expand our understanding, generally just being curious in this new start-up world.

I’ve read many books from Simon Sinek’s ‘Start with Why’, David Price’s ‘The Power of Us’ to ‘The Universe Has Your Back’ by Gabrielle Bernstein and one thing that became clear to me this is that great success often comes at a personal price.

But does it have to be this way?

I recently fell in love with Stephen Bartlett’s Diary of a CEO podcast.  I’ve always enjoyed it but since choosing to leave his business, his voice has something else.  It’s more honest, more authentic.

In one of his latest podcasts, he chatted to Tom Blomfield, Co-Founder of Monzo.  They shared their experiences of running large businesses, funding rounds and the negative impact to their personal life.

But does it have to be this way?

During their discussion they shared how they had an overwhelming feeling of anxiety, needing to hit targets and not having the right support.  Both founders shared these concerns with lead investors and the Chair of their Boards.  Both founders were promised additional support.  But it never came.

And it got me thinking, if you purchased a piece of machinery for £500,000, you’d look after it right? You’d hire a specialist who knew what they were doing to look after it and tinker with it to keep it running at its optimum capacity.  But why not do with that a person?  Especially one running a multi-million-pound company.

In my corporate job, I was responsible for a payroll of £6 million a year.  That’s a lot of money by anyone standards.  Never once in my 8 years were overhead budgets approved to hire additional support staff for leadership development.  Leaders were excepted to already know everything they needed to know.  Our hiring policy was strictly reactive. And often too late.

But does it have to be that way?

What if we took the learning from Steven and Tom?  What if we heard them when they said they were reach breaking point?  What if we hired the right people before we needed them?  What if those people were already in post before crisis hit and anxiety set in? What if the crisis didn’t come because the right people were supported in the right way?

How can we help people in our teams to avoid that breaking point?

  1. Create a safe space to ask for help – Admitting vulnerabilities is difficult at the best of times so show its ok to ask for help by sharing your vulnerabilities. And, if someone comes you to, don’t pay them lip-service, listen to them.
  2. Offer support – Asking for help might be too challenging for someone, so offering a ‘shopping list’ of support which is easy to access may seem less daunting. This may be access to a peer network, coaching or re-organising the day job so it becomes more manageable.
  3. Create meaningful boundaries and downtime – The line between work and home life has become blurred so clear boundaries around ‘working time’ and ‘downtime’ can prevent the feeling of always being on. And protect downtime and hold people accountable to taking time off, whether it’s a lunch break or a holiday.
  4. Hire the right people – sometimes People Leaders are the last of the senior leaders to be hired. Can you invest in someone that knows how to nurture your team and keep it running at its optimum capacity.
  5. Show up for your team – be on their side and stick up for them.

As I look forward, I’m drawn to companies who lead with purpose.  Companies that give a shit about their people and where profit isn’t always the first metric.  Not because it looks great on LinkedIn but because it’s the right thing to do.

At Beyond Partners, we care about all this stuff, it’s what we’ve built our business on.  We care about the company we’ve created and the people who work with us.   We care that our clients also care about their people and create a safe space for them to grow.  Because after all, when personal growth is achieved profits generally follow.

Maybe success doesn’t have to come at a huge personal price after all?