When The Walls Close In

Three years of podcasting on optimizing founder and creator psychology, and this is the most important episode I have released to date.

The last few months, especially the last few weeks, have been some of the most volatile for public markets in the last decade.

I have just recorded and released a special podcast episode (YouTube, Spotify, etc) for creators to manage your psychology in a situation like this, along with the mindsets of the teams that depend on you. It comes from the experience of making nearly every mistake in the book myself over the last 15 years of building startups, advising over 100 startups for the last decade, and 300+ hours of talking with some of the best founders, leaders, and researchers on this podcast on how to manage and optimize creator psychology and the inner side of creation.

Links and the outline of the episode are below.

Feel free to let me know (twitter.com/jamesbeshara) if these thoughts are helpful to you or to a founder/creator/leader you know. And if you find it helpful, maybe listen to it a second time.

YouTube Link:

Spotify Link:


Apple Podcasts Link (and available everywhere else):


About the Episode:

For profitable, large businesses, an economic downturn can be great for recruiting and retaining talent as there is a flight to safety and security. For small businesses that have focused maniacally on profitability from day one, a downturn in the market is also managed relatively well.

This is in contrast to technology startups that often have to spend years building the product before they can monetize or spend the first few chapters of the company’s life focusing on growth over revenue maximization. This means that in an economic downturn, these startups/teams/founders are the most vulnerable to shifting markets, especially those that are dependent on outside capital.

This episode is the resource for how to manage one’s own psychology, as well as the psychology of the team around them when building and leading a business like this.

In the episode, I outline tactics like getting comfortable with the worst case scenario (in order to maximize the chances of the best case scenario), as well as outlining the five guidelines for managing and optimizing your psychology in the midst of circumstances that often present a “fog of war” type of scenario for most leaders. In short, I put this together for you to avoid that scenario.

The guidelines have more details within the episode, but they are here below as well for you to reference.

1. Assess and set proper expectations for yourself and the team.

2. Find and orient towards a higher ideal.

3. Manage your mental wealth.

4. Question everything, especially your own assumptions going into this new environment.

5. Find your community of truth.

I also cover the criticality of integrity through this challenging time. I know this from experience — handling yourself with integrity through failure will be the foundation for your success on the other side of it.

Please let me know what I may have missed or share this with any creator that may be going through the extremely intense situation of feeling like the walls are closing in on them.

Like I mentioned, my belief is that this is the most important episode I’ve released in the three year history of the podcast, and my hope is that it is better than anything I could impart on the fly with a founder by phone or in-person — but if you are a leader in this scenario and have additional questions, please reach out to me on Twitter or Instagram if there’s a way I can help.

You got this.


When The Walls Close In

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