Entrepreneurship and Mental Health
Joshua Davidson wrote this article
Entrepreneurship is inherently lonely.
When you embark on this journey, it’s important to note just what you’re getting into. I’m not just talking about the struggles and achievements that you’re going to be embarking on, but the personal investment you’re about to make.
In this particular instance, with your mental health.
You see, the reason that I am writing this particular blog post is because some of the most talented, successful and driven entrepreneurs I have ever met are, most often, the most depressed.
They lack the feeling of fulfillment. They feel isolated. They’re stuck in a mental corner, so to speak.
From an outsider’s perspective, that might seem a bit crazy. How can someone who has created their own destiny, been accomplished and driven success, feel this way?
It’s not as unimaginable as you might think.
For most of you who become an entrepreneur, you quickly realize, you can’t share this journey with most. Yes, you may have loved ones, friends, even a significant other to confide in about your struggles, successes, journey, but do they truly understand it from your perspective? After all, you’re the one going through the grind.
For some, you have a founding team, a partner to work with, which can help release some of the pressure, but for most, it’s truly just you.
Yes, you can have employees too, but for a long part of your internal battles, you don’t want to share such things with them as you would with perhaps a founding team. You’re the one on top. This is your battle to overcome.
On top of that, think about the mindset you need to have as an entrepreneur. You can’t become complacent. You can’t lose your hunger. You can’t lose your drive to succeed.
Understanding that, think about how draining it can become if you never truly celebrate your accomplishments, or always take the next accomplishment as the minimum you now need in order to grow.
Now that we have painted a clearer picture, it is easy to see how many of the most successful entrepreneurs deep down can feel alone.
How can you overcome this?
How can you maintain feeling fulfilled, happy, and driven?
The biggest thing, it is about being self-aware and understanding all of these factors listed above (and the much more that are personalized to each given situation).
We all battle these hurdles. It’s part understanding your DNA, your ego, your outside factors to why you are doing what you are doing. When you understand better why you have such feelings and what stems from them, you can better understand how to deal with them.
Another thing that I have found many successful entrepreneurs do to overcome such mental fatigue — and yes, something that even I do myself — is seek professional help via therapists.
This isn’t the 1950s anymore, the negative stigma to therapy shouldn’t exist. In fact, it can become an asset to have someone from a professional perspective to hear your thoughts, feedback, emotions and give you recommendations and thoughts back.
We go to the gym to keep our bodies healthy and strong. We eat healthy to keep our minds sharp and our bodies going. Approach going to therapy to keep your mindsets aligned in the right direction for the long term and to remain 100% focused.
Above all, with everything stated above, focus your mental being on positivity. Look into options such as the Five Minute Journal (which I highly recommend) and meditation. Things that are proven to allow you to focus on positive energy, positive results. Yes, they all take work and consistency. However, you’re an entrepreneur. You already know how to work hard. No reason to make any excuses.
Why is this an important conversation to have and bring up here?
First, we as entrepreneurs, need to always be on our A-Game. We have clients and customers that depend on us, employees that depend on us, families that depend on us, and expenses we need to always be covering. This can drag you down and put you into an emotional rut if you let it. You need to be aware of this and leverage it as a strength, not a weakness.
Second, we need to be open about these personal obstacles because the struggles of growing a company aren’t your only struggle. We have the struggle of being a human too. With being open about such things, we can better figure out solutions, talk to ourselves, work together to overcome these emotional ruts.
Your mental health is important. It’s as important as your physical health, your diet and the success of your company. None are mutually exclusive. Be self-aware about what makes you tick, what stresses you out, what puts you into a positive, fulfilled mindset. Spend time asking yourself the tough questions and exercising your brain. The more often you do, the more consistently that you do, the better, more successful, you will be.