CEO and co-founder of Methodology.
I’ve been running Methodology, a sustainable food delivery startup, for almost a decade. As we approach our biggest milestone yet – national launch – I reflected on the biggest lessons that have helped me win, both in the game of business and the game of life.
1. Define and live your values.
Clearly define your company values and evolve them as you learn more about the nuances of what you value. Values make it easy for leaders to see who fits the desired culture on the team and make decisions about what to do next. For example, one of our company values is ‘We are service-oriented’. In practice, this means that we don’t make decisions that would make our team’s lives easier if it made our members’ lives more difficult.
Knowing my personal values has also made it easier for me to navigate my personal life. Deciding who to allow into my inner circle and who to invest time and energy in makes it easier for me to live in line with my values.
2. Know your worth and never settle for less.
Pricing strategy is something that so many entrepreneurs get wrong because they undervalue themselves. I suggest not pricing based on how difficult or easy it is for you to provide a service, but based on how much your customers appreciate it. It takes a lot of conviction to praise in this way. In my case, we have a deep conviction in our worth because we have seen the life transformations our members have enjoyed.
The same principle applies to my personal life. I’ve had to learn over the years how to effectively communicate my norms and boundaries, which only became possible when I developed a strong sense of self. And how did I develop a strong sense of self-worth? From practicing the next three points from this list.
3. Define your vision in excruciating detail.
Over the years I have written down in more and more detail what my company needs to do. I’ve seen that the more specifically this is defined for the team, the easier it is for them to know what to do, and the more likely it is for the vision to come to life.
For example, years ago I made it very clear that I wanted rainbow-colored foods packaged in mason jars with pink lids. I didn’t just say “I want beautiful packaging” or “I want sustainable packaging.” Because I was so specific, the team knew exactly what problems to solve to bring my vision to life.
Since I learned this lesson at work, I have applied the principle in my personal life. I have a very long and detailed North Star statement for my overall life that I edit every few weeks and read almost every day.
These vision statements, both at work and in my personal life, make prioritizing and making decisions a breeze. People who know me often say how resolutely and quickly I made decisions. This is because with every decision I make I just ask myself, “Will this make me get to my North Star faster?” If yes, then I will. If not, forget it.
4. Strive to get 1% better every day.
I am very proud of the quality of service we provide today. However, we didn’t get here through some dramatic product improvements. It is the result of constant, small, incremental improvements we made every day. I’m super involved in every detail of our product design, to what flour I want in a meal, to what exact shade of pink a layer of chia parfait should be.
Spotting and improving every little detail of your product can make you 1% better every day, which can lead to significant results.
This 1% better every day principle has also changed my personal life. Exercising for just 15 minutes a day every day, 365 days in a row, got me into the best shape of my life. This taught me how much we overestimate what we can achieve in a month and underestimate what we can achieve in a year.
5. Compare backwards, not forwards, against yourself and never against others.
This lesson has been critical to my mental health! For years I constantly compared the size and reach of our company to that of our competitors without feeling that the company was good enough or that I was good enough as CEO. Eventually I taught myself to stop when I started doing this and instead only compare my business today to where we were years ago. Instead of constantly feeling insecure and frustrated, I now feel grateful and proud. This is a much better place to lead a team and run a business.
I do the same in my personal life, no longer comparing my body, finances or career success to others and instead just scrolling through my own old photos and videos from years ago and allowing myself to feel awe of how much I’ve grown.
6. Be thankful for the journey.
The emotion I feel most often when I think about my work journey and life journey is gratitude. It is such a privilege to design menus that bring healing and joy to thousands of people.
Enjoying the journey allows you to be patient with your progress and make decisions from a place of abundance and optimism, rather than lack or fear.
I hope this list of lessons that have transformed my business and me over the past decade inspires you. If you stick to these principles, you could end up in a completely different place in just a few years. Our time here is precious, wild and short. Let’s all make the best of it.