LAUNCH Festival 2017 Recap

Last week was big. The type of big that can only come from months of focused work towards one goal. The type of big that is experienced when the whole of your team is greater than the sum of its parts. The type of big that…produces the feeling that things have finally ‘clicked’.

Our company was invited to LAUNCH Festival this year to participate as one of the eleven startups to participate in the Health/Biotech Summit — meaning we were invited to present on stage to thousands of attendees, meet potential partners/investors, and demo our product in a booth for anyone to try.

In addition to having our — growing — team bond and rally around the opportunity, I was blessed enough to be invited to participate in LAUNCH’s inaugural class of Founders University. Founders University is a two day educational experience for founders who have launched a product, but have not raised a Series A round of financing yet. The program was open to 25 founders and featured amazing speakers like Casey WintersRishi Garg, and Clara Brenner.

There was certainly a lot learned from the speakers, but the real value in Founders University was having two full days of time and space to meet the other founders that were in the room. There were some familiar faces, but mostly new people from all over the world. It is increasingly inspiring to meet people that are so passionate about an idea, that they risk their livelihoods to brute force it into existence. Founders University was a great forcing function to meet some of these types of people and I am very grateful to have been involved.

Big thank you to Jason and the LAUNCH team for being extremely professional, and creating a platform for startups to showcase their work — for free! If you are a founder and get the opportunity to go to LAUNCH, do it! ✌🏾

4 Ways You Can Slow Down (To Speed Up And End Your Year On A High Note)

Life often demands that you be fast in everything you do. If not, you’ll fall behind. This rapid pace creates a lot of pressure and causes your emotions to get the better of you. In the end, this can crush mental freedom, making you anxious, stressed, or depressed.

If this is happening to you, it’s time to take a step back. You can’t be the best version of yourself if your mind is not fully healthy. So, in order to speed up, you first need to slow down. Here are some ways you can start doing that:

Understand It’s a Step-by-Step Process

Whether you are suffering from depression, high levels of stress, substance abuse, or something in between, your mental health woes are not going to go away overnight. Like physical fitness, mental fitness takes time — and practice. So, breathe easy, map out a plan and identify a first step to jump start this process.

Find Something to Help You Relax

It’s crucial to devote time to relaxation. Whether you walk in the park, meditate or read, the health benefits of relaxation are enormous. A significant amount of studies have shown relaxation helps with anxiety, stress, insomnia and other issues. Note: Relaxation does not mean sitting on the sofa with a bag of potato chips; it means performing proven relaxation techniques, like deep breathing exercises, guided imagery and meditation.

Have Support Around You

You need someone to talk to about your emotions, as this will help you work through your issues and see better solutions. This person must be able to identify with or be empathetic to your experience. That’s why many mental health experts recommend support groups. Support groups are available all over for all sorts of problems and illnesses. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), for instance, is the largest support group of its kind in the country, and is a great resource for learning more about mental illnesses, finding support, and getting involved to help raise awareness.

Make Use of Technology

Technology is involved in every facet of life, and it should be involved in getting mentally healthy. Your smartphone can provide you with the personal connections, information or the guidance you need. There are many mental health apps out there that provide support; from apps that help deal with school bullying to platforms teaching cognitive behavioral therapy skills. If you want to connect with licensed therapists, for instance, download the Level Therapy app. Or, if you want to find community by communicating with others suffering from the same diagnosis, check out the Big White Wall community.

Once you’ve implemented your plan for getting emotionally healthy, you’ll begin to reap the rewards. By slowing down and taking time to focus on your well-being, you’ll feel better and start clicking on all cylinders. Before you know it, doing all these things listed above will be second nature, and you can go on to be the most productive you.