Gagan Biyani 🏛 Profile picture
Jan 12, 2021 20 tweets 4 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
I’m amazed at how many high-performers have serious or chronic health issues like TMJ, severe muscle pain, carpal tunnel.

I’ve dealt with my share of health issues; imho it all comes down to stress.

A story about stress and what I’ve learned from managing it...

**Read On**
I woke up with a pain in my side that wouldn’t go away. Hours later, the doctors were performing an appendectomy.

I was out for 2 weeks and it hurt like hell.

I don’t think it was a coincidence that I was fired 4 months later:

After Udemy, I got healthy and built a fitness routine.

My physical health was better than ever, and people noticed. I was the perfect brand ambassador for a healthy food company.

Problem solved, right?
The good times didn't last. Running Sprig was freaking hard (all startups are) and soon I developed TMJ - severe jaw pain related to grinding one’s teeth.

It would get so bad that at times I couldn’t even get out of bed in the morning.
The problem wasn’t the TMJ or appendicitis. The problem was stress.

I had improved my physical health but didn’t consider my mental health! The two feed off one another. A healthy lifestyle means having both.
It only dawned on me after we shut Sprig down and I went on sabbatical. Within weeks, I started to feel great again.

Walking in 100° heat in Havana, I had more energy than I ever did in San Francisco.

As my mental stress subsided, my physical stress did too.
Now, I’m starting my 3rd company and worried about falling into the stress vortex again.

After 10 years battling this, I’ve learned a lot and thought I’d share my lessons:
1) As always, strategy is everything.

You have more control than you realize. You choose your career, your goals, and how you work. You can learn to negotiate with your colleagues/boss/board about expectations and responsibilities.

Create a work/life strategy that works for you
Don’t just fix the acute symptoms of stress. Go deeper and figure out the real issue: do you need additional headcount? Are you taking work too seriously? Do you need a vacation?

You control your own destiny. Don’t play victim!
2) Physical health. I work out 3-4x/week, try to eat whole foods and drink responsibly. I used to meditate but found I prefer long walks and exercise.

I weigh myself every day to keep me accountable - I know it’s not perfect, but do what works for you!
The most important thing about your physical health: do things that you can do for the next 10 years.

No fad diets, no unreasonable expectations. Sustainable > effective.
3) Mental Health = more important than physical health!

For non-founders: get a good therapist/life coach, build a “circle” of colleagues at other companies with similar jobs, and find a good mentor to provide perspective.

Also, just don’t take yourself too seriously!
As a founder, I spend more on help than I do on rent!

Executive coach, personal assistant, travel planner. The goal is to get everything off your plate that adds to your workload besides the most important stuff.
4) Family & Friends. So many are only friends with other career-oriented people. This is a mistake. Long-term friends, families and significant others are there even if your career falters.

Invest in these relationships; don’t let them go by the wayside because of work.
5) Perspective. When you’re in the zone, everything else fades away. Your work feels like life. Every mistake, every success feels monumental.

Guess what? It isn’t. It doesn’t fucking matter in the grand scheme of things. I *try* to remind myself of this when I'm stressed.
Also, take a goddamn vacation every once in awhile. It really does help.

If you think you can’t, then the act of forcing yourself to figure out how will actually improve your effectiveness at your job. You’ll learn to prioritize, operationalize, and delegate.
6) Monk mode. As an absolute last resort, go into monk mode. When things are really bad, hunker down:
No sugar, no alcohol, self-care weekends, meditate and exercise daily.

“Monk mode” is not an ideal permanent state, at least not for me. But you gotta do what you gotta do.
When your body tells you you're over-stressed, use it as a warning that you are losing perspective, that your habits might need improving and that your work/life strategy is out of whack.
This is a lifelong battle. I deal with it every day. But it does get better - as you get older and have more perspective, the things that used to stress you out seem trivial. Remember that and, if you can, use it to help you relax.

As my mother says, “Health is Wealth.”
I write honest stories about building businesses, life in the trenches and more.

Follow me and subscribe to my (very occasional: high signal, low noise) newsletter:

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More from @gaganbiyani

May 30
I’ve had 6+ different executive coaches over the last 12 years. My favorite thing about coaching is it provides “system upgrades” to your internal operating system.

Collectively, these coaches have changed my life:
Great coaches often identify key growth areas and help you work through the necessary challenges between you and achieving results.

I’ve had coaches teach me how to become more empathetic with my team, improve the quality of my feedback, and enhance my weekly productivity.
I find that different coaches are experts in different areas.

Some of them I’ve worked with for 5 years and others I worked with on one particular area for just a few months.

Each one gave me a particular insight or habit that has changed my internal operating system.
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May 18
SQL is going to die at the hands of an AI. I’m serious.

@mayowaoshin is already doing this. Takes your company’s data and ingests it into ChatGPT. Then, you can create a chatbot for the data and just ask it questions using natural language.

This video demoes the output.

Mayo is going to teach a course on Maven. He’ll walk you through how to do this and by the end of the course, you’ll have a fully working AI chatbot that anyone in your company can use to query your data.

I've seen it behind the scenes and it is powerful.
Sign up the waitlist so you can get more information on how this works and where you can apply it:…
Read 4 tweets
May 16
How to Control Midjourney using “Additive Prompting” - a lesson from @nickfloats

AI prompt recommendations are useless. It’s far more useful to understand the underlying technique to build your own prompts for your custom use case.

Let’s dive in 👇 ImageImageImageImage
Midjourney is the most powerful AI visualizer out there. It enables anyone to build photorealistic images with words. The challenge is that Midjourney prompting is finicky and requires experience to truly master.

Additive Prompting involves these 4 steps:
1. Start simple.

Many prompters try to start by getting a beautiful image like Nick’s on the first try. The problem is you don’t really know which part of the prompt actually made the difference.

Instead, start with a basic prompt and then build from there.
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Feb 1
✨ Big news: After 2 years of private beta and hundreds of hours of engineering work…

Previously, teaching on Maven was invite-only. That changes today.

Now, anyone can use @MavenHQ’s course builder!

Check it out—it’s free to get started.
Before, you needed to use almost a dozen tools to get a course off the ground.

With Maven, you can spin up a new course w/our all-in-one tool that covers: email marketing, landing page, Zoom integrations, syllabus, community, & more.

Try it for free:
A few ways Maven simplifies your ops:
• Record and upload Zoom sessions
• Send calendar invites to your students
• Pre-written email campaigns
• Ready-made surveys
• Spin up a community

With admin and logistics off your plate, you can focus on teaching.
Read 15 tweets
Oct 15, 2022
The last two weeks in SF have been amazing. I've also learned a few things that make me optimistic for its future.
The food, the vibe, the drinks, the people. I grew up in the Bay Area and while I wish SF was more favorable to tech, it is amazing to see SF in its "true form". Eclectic, stunningly beautiful, and urban.
TBH the homelessness is still heartbreaking and I see people doing drugs in public way more than I'd like. But it's actually not that different from my experience in Austin in 2021 and people forget this but it's way way better than SF in the 90's.
Read 8 tweets
Sep 13, 2022
💥 Big News! 💥

Maven is launching over 100+ new courses today to help you accelerate your career.

Over the last year, almost 10k professionals from Google, Nasa, McKinsey and Tesla have learned career-boosting skills on Maven.

Why are so many people taking courses on Maven?
Online learning has gotten a bad rap. Video-based courses are self-paced and boring.

You have to slog to get through them. Most people try and fail.

Only 4-10% of people complete video-based courses.

On Maven, that number is closer to 75-90%!
We've proven that cohort-based courses (CBCs) are more effective.

Instead of buying a library of videos from Random Internet Dude, you sign up for, say, a 3-week course on management from a bona fide expert...

Check out this list of people teaching on Maven:
Read 8 tweets

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