Fast and (Relatively) Painless Behavior Change for Entrepreneurs

By David Weisburd, 2X Entrepreneur turned VC.

Just like raising a baby — growing a startup requires a different skillsets and behaviors at every stage of development. A 2 month old startup is fundamentally different from a 6 month old startup, and a 1 year old startup is radically different from a 6 month old startup, and so on.

In midst of constant turmoil, founders must leverage behavior change in order to affect change throughout the organization — What made you successful earlier will not necessarily “work” as your organization grows in complexity.

How Do We “Scale” Behavior Change?

As Founders, we can affect change on many different levels — we can raise funding, we can hire competent people, we can improve processes, and so on.

As a competent venture backed founder the assumption is that you are already optimizing your leverage in these traditional areas — however, in a hyper-competitive market everyone else is also optimizing around these area and it is simply not enough.

What if you could optimize at the highest level — at the level of behavior change?

There are several myths about behavior change.

Myth #1 — Behavior Change takes Years.

There is a small grain of truth to this myth and that is that behavior change often takes years of pain and suffering before the individual is ready to make a change. However, the change itself takes minutes, and sometimes seconds to take place. You need not be at the trough of despair in order to institute change.

Myth #2 — Behavior Change is Hard.

Behavior change is not hard — it simply requires a tradeoff, and 99% of the time, this tradeoff is ego based and non-financial in nature.

Myth #3 — Behavior Change Makes Me a Different Person.

This myth is actually true, but with a large caveat — behavior change makes you a different but better person — more flexible, less ego-driven, and more accepting of yourself and others.

I’m convinced — how do I change my behavior?

The simple formula is — I want to do ____________ and I’m willing to give up ________________ (ego based belief) in order to do it.


I want to hire only A+ team members, and I’m willing to give up my Jesus complex of helping and saving B and C players.

I want to stop spending time on meaningless projects and I’m willing to give up being liked by 100’s of people.

What makes it hard:

Making the following changes, even with new-found awareness, is not easy. The reason for this is that our behaviors and mindsets are put in place at a young age and we have invariably built entire identities around these belief systems.

However, there are consistent and proven ways to make these changes permanent (find ONE technique that works).

Technique #1: Tell your most-trusted and non-judgmental friend what it is that you have issues with and why you have these issues.

Pick a very non-judgmental and emotionally developed person, because when you explain your beliefs/behaviors they will sound irrational.

Technique #2: Deploy Time-Line Therapy developed by Tad James.

Technique #3: “Analyze This Technique”

Our limitations are built around emotional gestalts that are captured during times of high distress. They remain buried within us because we haven’t yet processed them. This requires “hitting the pillow” to process.

A Final Word of Caution:

Once you see how effective and simple (not easy) it is to institute behavior change, you may start wanting to change everyone around you — do not be tempted to do this.

Most people are not interested in changing (although you can send them this post) and it is a best practice to hire A+ players vs. trying to change and/or improve people.

David Weisburd is a 2X Entrepreneur turned VC. 5 Million+ Views on Quora.

Originally published on Medium