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{ By Emily McDonald }

This year I have chosen a few words I want to focus on and two of them are ease and calm.  I am in a much better mental state than I was at this time in 2020 when I was running my start-up in full-on hustle mode and I have vowed to stay this way.  Ease and calm were not a part of my life when I was scaling The Stylist LA, not at all.    I work with a lot of female founders and I see how many of them are in scale mode, which oftentimes feels hectic and chaotic.   From the outside perspective, I see now that chaos doesn’t encourage good, productive work.  And the hecticness isn’t actually helpful in scaling.   

But I have to wonder, am I only now able to focus on ease and calm because my startup has scaled back?  Is it possible to be in full-on scaling mode and have a calm mind?  I really don’t know the answer.  And to be honest, it makes me a bit scared.  I know I will go back into scaling mode at some point, whether with The Stylist LA or a new venture.  It’s in my blood to want to grow and scale things, but I never want to go back to the mental place that I was in before.  That place was riddled with anxiety, stress, and fear.  Is there a place where scaling and calm and ease coexist?  It’s interesting, as I’ve focused on calm and ease business has come to me (for my coaching and consulting business.) 

Projects that are aligned with what I want to work on have fallen in my lap.  I am excited by these things but have made a point and clear boundaries so that I don’t work 80 hours a week.  I launched a female founders community with a wonderful partner and have still managed to feel calm and at ease while doing that.  But is that because it feels like a project?  Does it change when you raise money or when you put lofty goals on paper in front of your investors?  Maybe it all comes down to boundaries and committing to a lifestyle of ease and calm. 

I used to chase work.  It made me feel important to stress about work and work all hours of the day.  Two years ago I would have laughed at the words ease & calm.  Maybe because I thought being a scaling founder had to be stressful.  If it wasn’t stressful, was I working hard enough?  Now I recognize there is more to life and staying “busy” doesn’t make me better.  I have a family now and mental health to protect.  I will prioritize ease and calm over scaling if I am forced to choose.  But I really hope I don’t.  Tell me, if you are a founder, are you balancing ease and calm and scaling?  If so, how?