Our Founders Talk Guest – 7Mind Founder Manuel Ronnefeldt
During a semester abroad in India, Manuel Ronnefeldt found meditation, by chance. The thought that such a guided way towards relaxation would lead him to more serenity took a hold of Manuel’s imagination. He just had to share his positive experience with other people. And that’s what he did. He told his old friend Jonas Leve about the idea and together they launched the startup 7Mind in 2014. The big idea: By using the app, everyone should be able to develop a meditation routine by investing just seven minutes daily. Additional support came in the person of PR entrepreneur & zen techer Paul J. Kohtes. The three of them met at an event hosted by the University Witten-Herdecke. The chemistry was great, there was a pitch, and Paul joined the team.
In 2014, meditation was struggling with some problems in terms of public perception. Mostly, it was seen as too esoteric. The founders immediately knew: To be successful with their idea, they had to improve the public image of meditation and create easier access.
In a Founders Talk with Simon Brakhage (Director Team Hinterland), Manuel talked about the highs and lows of his entrepreneurial journey, lack of sleep, the pressure to succeed, and how mindfulness was always a topic that he also had to deal with in his private life.
These are the Talk’s most important learnings at a glance:
#1 Meditation is a positive companion, no cure-all
According to Manuel, meditation is just part of the solution to reduce stress symptoms. Energy-draining behavior such as long work hours, lots of meetings, very few breaks, and little sleep are all big challenges of our time – especially in a work context. Manuel’s advice: Make it a habit to integrate meditation into your daily life when times are good. Then, this habit will you help you get through stressful and difficult times and become a positive anchor in your life. For the long term, you should take good care of a healthy work-life-balance.
#2 Recognize Warning Signals, Accept Them, And Be Honest With Yourself
Sleep disorders that don’t go away, the nagging sensation of feeling imbalanced, constant pessimism, or the old tunnel vision – these are just a few warning signs that point to increasing stress. Which Manuel himself had to experience. It’s important to become aware that those are warning signs, that you accept them, that you are honest with yourself, and that you decide to make a change. Ignoring or suppressing warning signs is the worst thing you can do, because only your inner drive can lead to a remedy.
#3 Immediate Danger Of Burnout! What Can You Do To Prevent That?
- Don’t stay by yourself. When Manuel was building his startup 7Mind, it was helpful for Manuel to have a co-founder and to build up that feelign of being in the same boat.
- Take care of yourself and don’t get sucked into toxic workplace culture – a ton of work does not equal qualitative output or prestige!
- Check your time management and your weekly work hours. If these are out of proportion, try to adjust accordingly. Try to repeat this process regularly.
- Invest just as many hours into your mental health as you invest into your physical health.
- You can look for a coach or a therapist. They can often support you during your stressful and exciting founder journey.
#4 Incorporate Meditation Into Your Team
It’s really easy to incorporate meditation into the work with your team. The 7Mind team starts their meetings always with a shared “mindful minute”. Allow yourselves to have such a minute of silence as well. In addition, you can create a meditation room where people can meditate without interruption, or hire a coach who teaches you a few exercises. An offsite together can also help you bond more deeply as a team.
#5 Unintentionality Is In the Nature of Meditation
You should avoid pursuing a specific purpose when incorporating a meditation routinte into your daily life, because meditation should always be devoid of intention if it is meant to be really lived. Meditation can have positive side effects though: You will become much more aware of yourself, you reduce your level of stress, you become more relaxed, and maybe you will also gain more focus for your work and sleep better.
You missed the event with Manuel Ronnefeldt, co-founder 7Mind? No problem! Click the link below to watch the complete Founders Talk on “Tech meets Mindfulness – Burnout in Startups”.
Ready to make your ideas happen?
Dr. Jan Brinckmann teaches you everything you need to know about launching your own company!