Category: Entrepreneurs

Mental Health Amongst Entrepreneurs

Mental Health Amogst Entrepreneurs.

Starting a business can be stressful, no one said it would be easy. One has to plan ahead and manage finances so that you can live. Nothing happens overnight, there has to be a lot of planning to lift your business to the next level and none if it comes without stress.

According to Michael A. Freeman a researcher from the University of San Francisco states that entrepreneurs are twice as likely to develop depression and three times more likely to engage in substance use and abuse than the general population.

Entrepreneurship is often looked up to as a status symbol that the individual has found the courage to be independant and in control of his/her own careers. Entrepreneurs are also admired for their creativity and initiative. Yet their personal struggles are often not acknowledged because people think being an entrepreneur you are an automatic success which sometimes can be further from the truth. Entrepreneurship comes with challenges in which can add unnecessary stress.

Entrepreneurs tend to be seen as high achievers, driven and motivated. However having these fine qualities does come with some disadvantages. Most entrepreneurs are perfectionists and tend to put aside their personal needs over the needs of their business sometimes foregoing personal family outings or general socialising events in the name of making their business a success. Many marriages have fallen apart because of the entrepreneurs protecting their business with the business coming first place and the marriage coming last.

Because being an entrepreneur nothing is guaranteed there is a lot of scope for failure and uncertainties especially if they are not well established and cannot guarantee a steady income. These uncertainties increase proneness to anxiety disorders, depression, substance use/abuse, and eating disorders.

How many entrepreneurs you know are heavy drinkers?

Reasons entrepreneurs get depressed include:

1). History of Anxiety and Depression

2). Lack of Motivation and Inspiration

2). Feeling Unsuccessful and Fear of Failure

3). Problems maintaining control of your business, perhalps lack of funds or problems with staff or late paying customers.

4). Large numbers of investor rejections

5). Stress and long working hours leading to burnout

6). Being sabotaged by partners

7). Problems with Staff or Recruitment

8). Struggles gaining and maintaining traction

9). Problems with Branding

10). Problems with Marketing

11). Financial Difficulties

12). Lack of Support from your martital partner

13) Feeling Lonely

14) Suffering From othe Mental Health Disorders

15). Lack of Sleep

Growing your business does not come without setbacks, such as securing leads, losing clients, customers disputes or not seeing eye to eye with your business partner(s). It could also be increased competition, staffing problems, whilst struggling to pay the wages and having enough money to pay yourself. Psychiatrist and former entrepreneur Michael A. Freeman, who researches mental health and entrepreneurship says that being an entrepreneur can be very traumatic and can lead to mental health issues.

If you already have mental health problems this can increase your anxieties. No one wants to admit to their vulnerabilities, but the more support there is the more we can be open about our struggles. It is no good bottling it all up inside. Business Men and Women have practiced what is called by social psychiatrists ‘impression management’, also known as “fake it till you make it.” We should never pretend to be something we are not, but at the same time you do not want the whole world knowing your problems as this can be damaging to your business. However the more transparent you are and even being an advocate for mental health, people will quickly start to trust you.

There are also organisations that can allow you to stay anomymous. if you are struggling to find somone to talk to you can reach out here to us or contact the following organisations:

Support Links.

MENTAL HEALTH LINKS

What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

What is Anxiety

What is Stress

What is Depression

Suicide Healthline

SAMARITANS.org

OCDUK.org

MIND.org.uk

YoungMinds.org.uk

PHYSICAL HEALTH USEFUL LINKS

https://www.who.int/health-topics/disability#tab=tab_1

GOVERNMENT LINKS

https://www.gov.uk/browse/disabilities

BUSINESS RESOURCES FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

https://www.aabrs.com/business-resources-for-people-with-disabilities/

Showing Your Success.

Some people want to show the world instantaneously how successful they are before actually being successful so they max out their loans and cards to the hilt and drive flashy cars and wear high end designer clothes just to look the part and fake their image.

Being not true to yourself will eventually catch up with you. Do not pretend to be someone your not, people will soon see when cracks start to appear.

Honesty is the Best Policy.

If you are having finacial difficulties and for example you can not pay bonuses tell your staff and give them a reason why, never leave things to the last minute. If you tell your staff in advance they are more likely to be more understanding. Always be transparent.

You do not have to air your dirty laundry in public but can adapt a monthly or weekly mental health event where people can network and get support. Simply be listening to other peoples problems and relating to similarities can be make people think they are not alone with their struggles.

We need to find a way where we can express our problems without it having a detrimental effect on our business or our health.

Mental Health is still classed as taboo and people find it hard to talk about what they are going through.

No one should feel they are all alone and there is no one that could possibly undersatnd their struggles as did the successful entrepreneurs that came to their demise even though they seemed to be in control, one being ‘Ilya Zhitomirskiy’ founder of Diaspora, a social networking site and the other ‘Jody Sherman’ founder of the e-commerce site Ecomo. The list continues with Fashion Designers ‘Alexander McQueen’, ‘Kate Spade’ and A-List Actors such as ‘Robin Williams’ to name just a few.

Mental Health statistics show according to research done by the National Institute of Mental Health that an astonishing 49% of entrepreneurs are directly effected and 32 % are indirectly affected by mental health problems compared to just 48% of non entrepreneurs. The statistics are far greater because the pressure of success.

The study showed that 23% of entrepreneurs are affected because some family members may be experiencing mental health issues.

The biggest challenges entrepreneurs have, especially with their mental health is asking for help. Not only so but working all the hours God sends can be very lonely. It is hard to juggle a home life with a entrepreneurial life, often making sacrifices that can cause our personal relationships to crumble.

Furthermore when you see companies securing multi million dollar deals and you are bearly getting by, the feeling can sometimes be deflating. But one has to think that even these companies started out most probaby somewhere just like you and with staying focused and perserverance they have managed to climb the ladder. However even companies that are a success struggle with being No1 and continue to push themselves to perfectionism.

Good Leadership.

It is all about being honest and addressing the problems you have. By being in denial and sweeping your problems under the carpet won’t make your problems go away. If you are a successful business the pressure to maintain the status can be even far greater than starting out. There are organisation you can reach out to for help.

You do not have to announce to the world you have mental health issues but there is always someone you can talk to. If it is problem solving there is tonnes of information on the internet and companies that do business consulting. You could even have monthly employee mental health days where you get someone to talk about mental health in general. Not only will it be therapy for you it will also help your staff dealing with problems themselves. Your employees will see you are a compassionate leader which will gain you a lot of respect.

Retraining Your Brain.

Outsmarting your way of thinking can set you on the road ot recovery.

Practice the following Steps:

  1. Setup an action plan. Do your research and but your actions into motion. Set up a business plan, speak with people in your industry, speak to your business bank manager who can put you in touch with people. Consider Business Consultants and do networking.
  2. Setup a Support Network. Find people that will support you from friends, family, coaches and mentors. There are business social media platforms that you can exapnd your network and engage with like minded people.
  3. Allocate some quality time (me time). Take time off to reflect and relax so that when you return you are set to go. Even having a day off or even an afternoon off is better than nothing at all. In your free time do nothingat all or doing sometime you love.
  4. Have a dream board. Stick down all the goals you want to acheive and give yourself a deadline. Every day for five minutes before you start work look at your dream board and focus on why you are about to start the day and that you are one day closer to acheiving your dream. You could have a board you stick on your office wall or have one on your desktop home screen or in your diary (I keep one in my diary and it goes evrywhere with me).
  5. Keep a journal. Write down all your dreams and aspirations and take a daily note of your highs and your lows. (For me blogging is my therapy).
  6. Maintain a Good Diet. We are what we eat. Eating unhealthily will cause damage to our bodies. Treat your body like your office. You don’t store junk in your office so do not fill your body with junk food. Take vitamin supplements and trat your body like a temple.
  7. Maintain a Level of Excercise. Even if you find it difficult leaving your home, do some workouts at home. There are pleanty of YouTube videos you can adapt your exercise routine to.
  8. Reward Yourself. At the end of the week or month once you reach your daily or weekly goals give yourself a pat on the back and trat yourself. You don’t need to go overboard but give yourself something that will motivate you to complete another task, as in the suggestions below if your a woman.
  9. Help Others. By helping others you are also helping yourself. If you focus only on yourself you will fall into a spiral of loneliness and depression but if you help others and put your worries aside you ar not longer making yourself the centre spot. Remember there is always someone out there you can help.
  10. Consider Getting Medical Advice. The first port of call is your GP. If your are constantly worrying and are feeling anxious and depressed visit your GP who can prescribe you some antidepressants and something to help you sleep.

Final Thoughts.

“There is a solution to every problem and you are never alone as there is always someone that you can talk to. If you can not face speaking to someone directly over the phone you can send an email or contact form”.

Do also visit the Useful Links Page.

RECOMMENDATIONS.

Further Reading:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/danmurrayserter/2020/10/04/why-entrepreneurs-need-to-talk-about-their-mental-health/?sh=2de354b137d0

https://www.inc.com/magazine/201309/jessica-bruder/psychological-price-of-entrepreneurship.html

https://medium.com/amp/p/a0d62a3ed389

Clinical Depression.

What is depression.

Depression is a feeling we have which sets our emotions and our moods to be become very low. This feeling can that last for weeks or many months.

Depression is not about feeling sad for a few days it is about the prolonged feeling we cannot shake. Depression is not about being weak. It is a real illness. Depression is feeling persistently sad for weeks or months, rather than just a few days.

Symptoms of depression include the feeling of unhappiness or feeling hopelessness. Our emotions at low levels cause us to have low self-esteem, loose confidence and general interest in every day life. At this level we no longer care about ourselves and what is going on around us. We no longer can focus properly and need to be steered in the right direction.

What is clinical depression.

Clinical depression is the more-severe form of depression, also known as major depression or major depressive disorder. It isn’t the same as depression caused by a loss of a loved one or a medical condition. It is a deep state of a very low self esteem, where you may have thoughts of suicide. This type of depression makes a person feel there is no way out and they simply want to stop themselves from feeling so miserable.

Clinical Depression is a like being in a very deep dark tunnel with no light at the end of it.

What would have made us happy once is no longer enjoyable. Clinical Depression can cause people to go into isolation away from other people. Facing people can be difficult and the avoidance of admitting there is something wrong is lessoned if a person with depression goes into solitary confinement.

People with depression are less likey to answer their phone or socialise. However this can lead to loneliness which can turn into a viscious circle which sometimes a person cannot get out of.

Some people with depression turn to drinking alcohol excessively or using recreational drugs. Some become dependant on prescription drugs that they may abuse.

Depression can be set off by stressful or traumatic events at home or at work or even at School, College or University. Stress could be caused by being put under pressure and the fear of failing or loosing or having lost something or someone.

Self employed people who have jobs that require fast results may under pressure have an overwhelming feeling of fear, sadness and hopelessness. Entrepreneurs have to work even harder to put food on the table unlike a job with a regular wage. An entrepreneur may have the added pressure of paying for all his business overheads, staffs wages and getting more business in before paying him/herself. Some people simply cannot cope and crack under the strain.

Depression could also be caused by the emotion of feeling sad from problems in your personal life with a partner or it could be because of your personality or family history, it could even be from giving birth (Post Natal Depression). Depression could be simply accepted into society or having to be under tremedous amount of strain to pass a test or find your next job. It could be that you have been made redundant and feel your life is crumbling right in front of you. The pressure of paying your bills and your mortgage can sometimes drive a person to breaking point.

There are many reasons why people become depressed it could be financial problems and the fear of your life spiralling out of control. The feeling that perhaps you have no one to turn to.

I have listed useful links below including Samaritans.

Whatever the cause believe it or not, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and there is always someone you can talk to.

It’s amazing how many people are suffering with depression but simply do not know where to turn to or that there are others experiencing exactly the same emotions as you.

Talking to someone always helps and there are may support groups around to help you. Samaritans will talk to you confidentially any time of the day or night 7 days a week. They won’t ask you personal questions or even your name. You can even block your telephone number if it makes you feel better. They will give you ideas and options of how you can get out of the dark spell your under. Remember there is a prblem to every solution, you just need to know where to look.

Nothing can be so bad that cannot be fixed.

Useful Links:

What is Anxiety

What is Stress

What is Depression

Suicide Healthline

SAMARITANS.org

MIND.org.uk

YoungMinds.org.uk

Further reading:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/clinical-depression/#overview

https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-covid-19-staying-at-home-tips/

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/

Imposter Syndrome

Have you ever doubted yourself and felt you are not good enough?

Have you ever had some one call you a fake or looked at you like your unreal?

Sometimes we have an element of self doubt and may actually believe we are not good enough because of other people perceptions of us.

Have you ever felt like you don’t belong or had someone point the finger?

Our world is surrounded by people pleasing. If people believe in you it gives you a feeling of euphoria and gives you encouragement.

However there will always be people for what ever their reasons may troll you, say negaitive things about you or simply make you feel less confident about yourself.

https://www.linkedin.com/posts/robmoore1979_instead-of-hating-the-critics-the-trolls-activity-6726845120483729409-zb5B

It could be you are a student and the popular kids gang up on you as you feel you cannot fit in, its their perception not yours or it could be people at work may say sarcastic comments or derogatory remarks in which you then start to doubt yourself.

We all try to do our best but if our best is not always good enough we may get judged.

People are very competitive and want to be like the Jones’s. So if you look like you do not fit in people tend to judge. It s the judging that can make you question your abilities. Just because your neighbour has a nice house lovely garden and top of the range car, they could be in deed very deep in debt and faking it and have no money in the bank, yet you who on the other hand may have less materialistic things to show but may have gold bullion or hundreds of thousands stock market shares.

Peoples ability to analyse a person on their looks or what they own could be so further from the truth and people should not judge a book by its cover. Just because your neighbour goes to work all dressed up in their flashy suit whilst you go to work in a jeans and t-shirt does not make you a lesser of a person. It’s the achievements you have succeeded in that will tell you apart.

Do not listen to what other people say. If you are a success no one can take that away from you.

Imposter syndrome depends on the strength of your mind, if enough people call you a fake or a fraud you start believing it, yet you have the ability to overturn those intrusive thoughts.

The same goes in abusive relationships when the narcissist tries to brain wash you into thinking you are not good enough and that you will not amount to much. The feeling you are loosing control of your own beliefs because of someone elses opinion can actually make you feel very insecure.

The feeling you experience is known as imposter syndrome. Psychologists often call it impostor phenomenon. It is estimated that 70% of people experience these feelings of lack of confidence at some point in their lives. According to a review article published in the International Journal of Behavioral Science, imposter syndrome affects all people from all walks of life.

The thought you are a failure and not good enough manifests in our minds and makes us feel like we are a fraud especially if you hear it from people that try to discredit us.

What is impostor syndrome?

If someone tries to discredit you, you start to have self doubt and only believe you will succeed because of luck, rather than talent or knowledge, experience or qualifications, this can be problematic. If you believe that you are unlucky your chances of succeeding are decreased because of your own beliefs.

We need to re-wire our brains that we are good enough and that someone elses opinion is their opinion and not yours or the rest of the worlds. People are far too often very judgemental and speak their minds which could cause the victim to feel less confindent about themeselves.

I was once was called a fraud by someone who tried discrediting me in court because I was called in as a ‘expert witness’ and he had a lot to loose due to a divorce hearing. I started to feel insecure (not because I did not know what I was talking about or the knowledge I had of my profession) but the fear of what people would think of me, based on the defendants outbursts. I remember I had stage fright and my cerebellar atrophy blocked out certain words which on the spot I could not answer (that did not mean that I did not know them). I am an author on the subject and manage several blogs and my report was prepared meticulously yet the defendant tried to discredit me and to make himself look better. If anything he was the fake and fraudster for claiming he was an expert registering crap domain names that had no SEO value, but I digress. He then contradicted himself and asked me to help him sell them, so if I was so useless and unprofessional at my job why would he have even bothered asking me?, as you can imagine I refused his offer and as soon as I got home blocked him from every social media platform. This was my way of regaining control of the situation. Enough said let sleeping dogs lie.

Impostor syndrome was first identified in 1978 by psychologists Pauline Rose Clance and Suzanne Imes. In their finding and their paper they wrote, their theory was that only women were uniquely affected by impostor syndrome.

https://paulineroseclance.com/impostor_phenomenon.html

However since then and with more research, studies have found that both men and women experience impostor feelings, and Clance published a later paper acknowledging that impostor syndrome is not limited to women. (She also created an impostor syndrome test.) Today, impostor syndrome can apply to anyone “who isn’t able to internalize and own their successes,” says psychologist Audrey Ervin.

Impostor syndrome expert Valerie Young, who is the author of a book on the subject, The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women, has also found patterns in people who experience impostor feelings:

“Perfectionists” set extremely high standards for themselves and others, and even if they meet 99% of their goals, they’re going to feel like failures. Any small mistake will make them question their own competence.


“Experts” feel the need to know to devour every piece of information on a subject before they start a project and constantly look for new certifications or trainings to improve their skills. They won’t apply for a job if they don’t meet all the criteria in the posting, and they might be hesitant to ask a question in class or speak up in a meeting at work because they’re afraid of looking stupid if they don’t already know the answer.


“Independant people also known as Soloists” feel they have to accomplish tasks on their own, and are reluctant to ask for help. Asking for help gives the perception that you are in someway weak, that you cannot figure it out on your own. This then may make people think they are a fake or fraud which in turn makes them think less of you.

People such as narcissists need to feel the need to success in all aspects of life regardless if it is at work, or as parents, or partners. The feeling they need to be in constant full control can cause them to feel anxiety if their goals are not met which could lead them to being abusive and belittling just to regain some power.

Learning abilities and Auto Immune Disorders.

People who have learning disabilites or auto immune disorders may have hidden talents and people cannot be characterised as fake or frauds if there are underlining issues. The person in question may actually be capable of completing assignments but in their unique ways. We cannot judge some one by their disabilities. A prime example would be Stephen William Hawking CH CBE FRS FRSA who was an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author who was director of research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at the University of Cambridge at the time of his death, yet he suffered with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS is one of several types of motor neurone diseases. This did not make him into a lesser person and he persevered against all odds and was a world renowned genius, whom is recognised in his field for his accomplishments all over the world.

People who tend to struggle to recite things or work hard to accomplish things tend to makes themselves feel they aren’t ever good enough that they are failures. Their brain tells them that’s proof they’re an impostor. This is psychological and has nothing to do with other peoples perceptions of you.

Have you heard the expression “fake it till you make it”?, that is such bad advise as you should never portray to be someone you are not. If for example you are a web designers but cannot code if your life dependend on it do not go saying you are one. The same goes for any industry you cannot fake your way to becoming a doctor or dentist you need qualifications for that. Never fake it till you make it, as people will soon see the cracks when you fail to do your job properly. You also stand to give your industry a bad name if you pretend to be a professional but in reality you are a cowboy. Not only will you be seen in bad light and bad reviews spread like wildfire you could also potentially cause someone to loose money because of your incompetence. “Never fake it till you make it”.

Why do people experience impostor syndrome?

People experience imposter syndrome because of uncertainties and insecurities in their lives, although there is no single definative answer. Some experts believe it has to do with personality traits—like anxiety or neuroticism—while others focus on family or behavioral causes. Sometimes childhood memories can cause a person to suffer with imposter syndrome because of experiencing low grades in school and being judged or scolded by parents and peers. Favouritism also can play a crucial role where the parents favour a more brighter sibling over them, which could inevitably impact the childs behavourial patterns later on in life. The thought of being praised and appreciated and the longing of success is a viscious circle because if people are contastantly critisied eventually they start doubting themselves and start believing they are not good enough and therefore they believe they are fakes or frauds.

Re-Wiring Our Minds.

We should believe in ourselves and not be bothered what others think of us. We should stop worrying and procrastinating. Who cares about some other person’s opinion of you. You owe nothing to them. If someone judges you it is because they want to make them feel better about themselves. We know what we have achieved and what we can accomplish and just because others do not agree with you, thats their problem not yours. A person is not defined by someone elses opinion, a person is defind at what they have achieved.

” A seed grows with no sound but a tree falls with huge noise. destruction has noise, but creation is quiet. The power of silence. Grow Silently. Confucious.

Do not let anyone stand in your way. Embrace constructive critisism and learn from critique. No one can take away your knowledge. Other people’s personal opinions of you do not matter when they try to break you down. Build an invisibible wall and let the noise deafen their ears and not yours.