Peak Two: Awareness

Mindfulness cultivates intentionality and consciousness. Entrepreneurs with internal and external awareness comprehend opportunities for action and use their core values as catalysts for decision making.


This week, we sat down with Natasha Main to hear a bit more about our second peak, Awareness. Natasha is the Executive Director at Exponential Impact.

Natasha Main

How have you seen and worked with Awareness while at XI?


Awareness of oneself and one’s surroundings is an essential ability to cultivate as an entrepreneur and for those working within fast-moving teams. In startups, you rarely have the opportunity to stop and think for a while before reacting to a crisis which – which often popup routinely. Having the self-awareness to quickly process your emotions and take a deep breath enhances the ability to react in a way you will feel good about later on.

In a Forbes article, Nick Hobson explores how to cultivate present moment awareness through mindfulness.  “Mindfulness has wide-ranging benefits, from improved impulse control and greater well-being to reduced prejudicial behaviors and more reliable group cooperation.”

One way I have seen this cultivated at XI is through our Thoughtfulness Tuesday program led by our own Betsy Brown. Founders in the later-stage incubator program, Amplify, are asked to spend 3-5 minutes at the beginning of these sessions connecting with each other and themselves through a mindfulness exercise. We then explore practices to help us be more aware, for example, last month we read and reflected upon the book, 15 Commitments to Conscious Leadership.

How do you think a startup applying for our 2020 Accelerator Program should embrace Awareness?


Founders are constantly bombarded with feedback, questions, and suggestions on their businesses, pitches, and leadership style. Cultivating a sense of awareness is important to soak in feedback and advance your company. At XI we look for leaders with a high ceiling and the ability to be coached to reach their highest potential. Awareness of one’s market and customer empowers founders to make informed disruptions in the market and address problems people want solved. Innovation comes from solving problems at the intersection of unknown and unmet needs.  Being aware of opportunities to solve for these needs and present a new solution are opportunities to capitalize on in one’s business, and awareness is key to this.

Share a bit more about yourself. Has Awareness influenced your life in other ways?


Awareness has allowed me to look at situations with curiosity rather than judgement of myself or others. Much of my work is relational so knowing myself is a big part of being able to operate in complex or demanding situations. I think starting with a growth-mindset is essential to embracing a self-awareness practice.  I have to believe I can improve and learn to face the hard truths about myself. This growth-mindset makes gaining awareness fun, as the more I learn the better I can synthesize and learn how to best be there for our founders and the XI team.