How to CEO: Deal with your ‘Self’ first

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This is a guest blog by Genevieve Griffin-George who is currently in the Xcelerate program. Genevieve is the Founder and CEO of PicMi, a two-sided marketplace connecting growers to workers for seasonal horticulture work. Genevieve talks about the transition from corporate to startup and the journey to becoming a CEO.

So what is a startup CEO & how do you become one?

Being a startup founder means you wear lots of hats.

In the beginning, your role is to do everything. You’re the CEO, the customer, the accountant, the aspiring blog writer, and the person behind the prototype who is *magically* making it look like you have developed some fabulous algorithm to help users find what they need – but it’s actually you working away in the background.

In the beginning, you are your whole team. Exciting? Yes. Challenging? Absolutely.

Guidance on the founder journey

Within the Xcelerate program, BlueChilli is taking us on a journey to both figure out our startup’s priorities, and how to run our own company.

Every month, the Xcelerate founders from around Australia and New Zealand meet in person for immersion days. The Xcelerate team and founders come together as a cohort to share, learn and connect. BlueChilli provides learning opportunities for pitch practice, targeted startup lessons and masterclasses with experts.

For our second set of Xcelerate Immersion Days on Product & Presence, we learned all about product management and how to deal with ‘all the things’.

Genevieve and other Xcelerate founders brainstorming
While founders are working on their different startups, there’s still opportunity for collaboration and knowledge sharing.

A mindful wake up call

One of the most powerful sessions was with Xcelerate Director, Megan Flamer, who took us through a mindfulness activity. The aim was to unearth decisions we had made about ourselves when we were younger without realising. As you can expect, unearthing these childhood stories can be pretty intense.

I thought I had a pretty good handle on who I am, what my strengths and weaknesses are and what might be holding me back.

Well, I was wrong! I did not expect that this three hour session would have such a significant impact on me.  

I struggled at school because I didn’t fit the mould. I’m dyslexic so the conventional way of learning never really worked for me. I always had to work out new ways of ‘translating’ the task in a way that made sense to me.

The mindfulness activity took us back to a decision we had made about ourselves in childhood. For me, around six years old,I had decided (whether I realised or not) that being dyslexic was a weakness. It is not. It has shaped who I am, how I think and positively impacted the way in which I design.

Unknowingly, my six year old self prepared me well for the startup world where we are continually hitting roadblocks and having to rework and reset.

This session helped me to own my story and use it to continue my successes.

Genevieve and other Xcelerate founders brainstorming
During Immersion Days, we’re finding better ways of presenting our startups and our stories.

Know yourself

Megan highlighted the importance of not only taking the time to meditate, but to spend time understanding why and how your experiences have shaped who you are, and how they shape your decision-making process.

Understanding what makes you tick and why you are the way you are gives you the tools to be a better leader.

These immersion days emphasised that we may not have control of the future of our startup, but what we can control is the way we react and interact with people.

You set yourself up for success when you spend time understanding yourself and the type of leader you want to be.