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:
MENTAL HEALTH LINKS
PHYSICAL HEALTH USEFUL LINKS
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
“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.