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Redefine your self-worth and achieve happiness as an entrepreneur.

Published 24 October, 2022
Tasbih Amin
Written by Tasbih Amin

How do you measure yourself worth and what do you attach your happiness to? Our recent discussion on “In Systems We Trust” answers these questions and more, and is one that everyone needs to hear. 


We sat down with Gv Freeman, a Self-Awareness Coach & Psycho-Spiritual Guide who lives at the intersection of entrepreneurship, mental health, and psychedelics. After 20 years of launching and growing tech companies, Gv began following his true dharma to help founders, entrepreneurs, and executives learn to be successful and happy - here and now. He does this through his coaching practice, Founders Thriving and DEEP Inner Work, which are programs designed to address high-performing entrepreneurs' needs and thought patterns.


We talked about validation, self-worth, money, and what it really takes to become truly happy on the path of entrepreneurship. 



A need for validation. 

GV theorizes that almost all entrepreneurs start their businesses as a means to receive validation, and it begins at a very young age. This pattern of behaviour starts in our formative years and we carry it with us as we grow up.


“When entrepreneurs tell me they started making money at the age of six or ten years old, I immediately ask them ‘what weren't you getting in your household that you needed to go get from strangers?’ I think that's interesting and what we do is we learn these first family behaviours and coping mechanisms, and then as we get older, we apply them to our second family. And the second family is oftentimes in the workplace.”  


We’re conditioned from an early age that money and success, which usually come in the form of selling lemonade and getting good grades are a way to our parent’s hearts. They reward us with love, affection and encouragement. As we grow up, we derive this sense of validation from our bosses and direct managers. While this innate response might push many entrepreneurs and founders to work harder, it could easily turn into emptiness when this need is fulfilled. 


“Founders are miserable,” says Gv, “The two most common things that I hear from founders are, ‘I'll be happy when I make a million dollars’ and ‘now that I'm financially free, I’m still miserable.’ When people start looking for solutions in other places, that's when they usually end up on my doorstep.”


At Founders Thriving, Gv tries to act as a bridge to psychotherapy. Half of his work is in business consulting and the other half is self-awareness coaching. This allows founders to work and learn about themselves and also solve their business problems. Gv believes that solving business problems depends on how we react to them and make decisions. This is why self-awareness is an instrumental piece of the consulting journey.   


“Everybody's got a different-shaped hole in their heart. And the trick is finding out what shape your hole is. Some people want validation. Some people want love. Some people want money. But what we know is that external items are all impermanent. So impermanence is a fundamental concept.”


Nothing is permanent. Success, power, money and beauty eventually go away, and what we end up with is a hole that requires filling through other acquisitions. It’s a vicious cycle of chasing happiness through momentary desires, and not truly understanding where self-fulfillment comes from.  


“True happiness comes from within. When I stop craving something I don't have, I automatically feel the happiness that has always lived within me. And if I stop wanting anything, if I'm able to be in the present moment, long enough, I get to feel happiness. So that's really all this work is about, we can either get more or want less. And honestly, what I help people do is be happy with what they have because it's coming from the inside. And all of a sudden, people begin wanting or needing less.”


Gv acknowledges that reaching this resolution is not instantaneous and that it’s a slow process that requires a lot of practice and reflection.


Redefining your self-worth.

One of the two main goals Gv tries to achieve with Founders Thriving is to help entrepreneurs “decouple net worth from self-worth.” He wanted to instill the idea that founders can be happy, regardless of how much money is in their bank accounts. 


Gv describes self-worth as the bullseye of a target, with ten rings that represent different areas of our lives that affect our self-worth. The outer rings represent relationships that are out of our control, and they are:

  • Family.
  • Career.
  • Finances. 
  • Social life. 
  • Environment (home, community).


Think of these rings as buckets that we fill with some amount of self-worth. Some people obtain a lot of their self-worth from their careers, while others get it from having a beautiful partner or from having a beautiful home. The problem with those outer rings is that they’re all out of our control. You might one day wake up and find that you lost your job, or a storm might roll by and destroy your home. With these most important things to us gone, our self-worth is lost as well. This is why it’s impertinent to detach our self-worth from the material.


The second set of rings, which happen to be closer to the bullseye aka our self-worth, are:

  • Physical.
  • Mental.
  • Emotional.
  • Spiritual.


These are the areas in which we exercise some but not complete control over. While we do not have 100% control over the strengths of our bodies, we do have the capacity to improve them through regular exercise. The same thing can be applied to our mental capabilities through constantly seeking knowledge to grow smarter.  We can find ways to increase the joy and love in our lives through these areas. 


“The more that I know myself, the happier I can become like I'm shining a light on where my happiness lives. We have more control over that inner ring. And then the bullseye is a pure being and represents how much self-worth we have, and how happy we are with our life if it all goes away. If I lost all my money, my job and my partner, if my world came crashing down, I could still say that I'm a worthwhile, valid happy human being. And that is a measure of true self-worth. It's a measure of freedom. That's really what I try and work with people to get free and break the attachments that we have to all of these things that we have been taught for so many years that we need. The less I can be attached to those things, the happier I can become.”


By instilling this foundation, Gv is then able to achieve his second goal, which is to help founders create a healthy relationship with their companies. Founders start their own businesses in the hope of gain freedom, but soon they find that they’re held captive by their responsibilities. In reality, they’re codependent with their companies and offloading all their responsibilities on this one object. The detachment of self-worth from these responsibilities helps relieve a lot of stress and pressure from entrepreneurs, enabling them to make the right decisions for their companies. 


“Let go of control. Thrive in your own genius and let others, the people you employ, thrive in theirs.”


Work-life balance is broken, and here’s why.

The concept of having a work-life balance is one that every professional hopes to achieve at one point in their life. To Gv, this concept is flawed and no longer applies in our modern-day for two reasons:

  1. The idea began and worked well in the late 1800s when people left work physically and mentally at 5 pm to go home and spend time with their families. Nowadays, work comes back home with us. We’re always connected to our jobs through email and technology that allow us to always think about work no matter where we are. 
  2. This concept is a zero-sum game in that if you’re doing one thing you can’t be doing another. 


Gv proposes the term work-life integration instead. This means focusing on both your life and work at the same time. For instance, you could take your child to the park with your laptop to shoot a few emails or sit by the pool while working on your sales proposal. It’s not ideal, but it's how you can integrate your life as a parent, partner and person with what you’ve got. It’s the reality of our modern time, and the only way to combat the burnout that is attached to it is to prioritize self-care. Gv recommends applying the 80/20 rule to take care of yourself: for every 8 hours you work, you need to spend two hours in self-care. Whether it’s through yoga, sitting down for a meal, reading a book or spending time with your family, self-care should be planned in our calendars and taken seriously if we want to continue to thrive.


“If you're doing the best you can with the best you’ve got, that’s enough. You’re enough.”


There’s more wisdom and knowledge that Gv shares on episode 45 of “In Systems We Trust”, and you can listen to it in full on all podcast platforms. 

Google Podcasts  

Apple Podcast


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Topics: Podcast