The Importance of Developing an Entrepreneurial Backbone

Mayank Thanvi

Dec 25th, 2016

Many entrepreneurs are so focused on getting their businesses up and running that they leave too little time for personal and professional development.

Between managing the balance sheet and binge-working under constant self-imposed deadlines, they don’t realize the importance of developing their whole selves. The fact is, all aspects of life -- relationships, career and health -- are interrelated.  

After studying dozens of organizations, examining academic and scientific research and teaching at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School, we have identified five dimensions on which business owners and employees can focus to increase individual and organizational capacity and agility: the spiritual, physical, intellectual, intuitive and emotional (or the acronym SPINE).

Entrepreneurs are in a great position to build these elements into their organization’s DNA:


A study published in JAMA Psychiatry in May 2012 showed that people with Alzheimer’s disease who had a strong sense of purpose in life had less cognitive impairment compared with those who reported less purpose in life. Since the majority of people spend most of their waking hours at work, finding meaning and purpose through their jobs may be related to maintaining cognitive function in advanced age. Finding a job that provides purpose and meaning is also important to being able to maintain equilibrium when working under pressure or in disruptive and challenging environments.

Collect and communicate stories that highlight how the company positively impacts its customers and the surrounding community.


Rest is a physical need that goes unmet for a large number of people. When faced with fatigue many people press on believing that they can simply catch up on lost sleep. A study published earlier this year in the Journal of Neuroscience linked sleep deprivation to irreversible physical damage and a loss of brain cells.

Plus, sleep may also help clean out the mental clutter that accumulates in the brain during the day. Recognizing sleep patterns and understanding the value of consistently receiving a good night’s sleep can help eliminate scattered thoughts and anxiety that accumulate throughout the day. Also, changing the unspoken rule of today's corporate world such as the need to be connected 24/7 will help employees prioritize sleep and think more clearly throughout the day.

Model the value of being unplugged by instituting technology downtime in the evenings and on weekends.