STARTUPS MENTAL HEALTH:
Entrepreneurship is fast becoming the world’s most populous choices of career accompanied by the toiling of hard works, selfless sacrifices, and sometimes it’s depressive nature. Entrepreneurship is admirable and promising but there is much more to what most successful entrepreneurs have made the world believed and what they want to share with it.
Most millennials, dream of becoming entrepreneurs and be their own bosses. They admire the prestige of being regarded as a business owner, the CEOs, Business Executives but over look the realities of what it takes to grow the businesses and the personalities behind the all that they admire.
The journey for most startups getting accustomed to the daily life of an entrepreneur, the all work and no play, super human attitudes, and the lonesomeness have paved way for startups to feel isolated and having no one to talk to. They often bottle up the battles of everyday failures and the stress to make super things happen. With all the love surrounding them, they are mostly misunderstood by friends, families and loved ones; nobody seems to fathom their drive, struggles and their motivations. All these leads to depression and extensively, a mental breakdown.
The harsh truth is 94% of startups fail everyday.The unfortunate failure tales of startups are what nobody talks about. It is an emotional rollercoaster for most entrepreneurs out there.
The stories of entrepreneurs who faces the hard struggles of running businesses and the depressions resulting in mental health issues; sometimes resulting in suicide; These part of the story is usually left untold. Mental health issues in entrepreneurship is prevalent. It is real and very much a major concern in startups.
In an estimation of one out of five startups experiences mental health problems – depression specifically. Due to mental healthcare stigma, these issues are hardly discussed among entrepreneurs and within the business fraternity. Entrepreneurs are not immune to mental health.. They can be prone to these problems due to the nature of entrepreneurship and their mindsets.
For entrepreneurs, business failures is always considered as a personal failure because their businesses are intrinsically connected to their individual identities; the distinction between Personal and business have not been defined. Nobody criticizes the “businesses” for its failures. The personalities behind the businesses are usually those who face the self deprecation and disappointments. Perfectionism, not good enough, everything or nothing are examples of what engulf the thinking of startups and entrepreneurs where decision takes a personal and emotional investment.
Startup ownership can be a lonely place. To know the true state of most startups conditions today, is nearly an impossible miracle. Even though they face many challenges, they appear as though they have got it all covered and on track. This makes it difficult to know what their mental state condition and general wellbeing to help them in any form.
The Society, competition and individual vulnerability have made it difficult for anyone to freely open up about their depressive and mental health states. As an entrepreneur, I know how the stigma of depression and mental health problem can quickly shut down your business faster than any known business factors. Customers would reject your products and services, doubt it’s credibility and reliance. Investors would doubt your abilities and consider you a risk.
How can startups remember they are first humans before entrepreneurs? How can they face depression and lonesomeness with their heads up?
7 ways to cope when you are faced with the realities of being a startup.
1. Ask for help
Asking for help when you need it does not make you vulnerable or weak, it depicts strength and self efficiency. It is important to know when things are beyond your strength and means.
Nobody can be everything and everyone needs help. You do not have it all to get it all covered. Most often, a little help or contribution from someone is all that may be required to get to the next stage, complete a contract or to make that project a success. A collective effort is not shameful, it’s a trait of an entrepreneur.
2. Maintain a healthy lifestyle
A healthy lifestyle is not a luxury. Develop one and maintain it.
Eat healthy – healthy eating is one key to keeping a healthy mental state.
Exercise regularly – regular physical exercise boosts the mind and keep you active. Yoga is a good choice and a regular quiet walks can help as well. You do not have to visit the gym to stay healthy.
Visit the doctor as often as possible – it is a bad habit to visit the doctor only when needed. A regular visit to the doctor can help detect health issues and be timely addressed.
3. Belong to a network
Finding yourself in a group of liked minded people is first a healthy way to share stress and an assurance you are not alone. There are many startups and entrepreneurs network that supports each other in difficulties. Locate one near by at a convenience and join.
No one is an island and owning a business should not make you one. The startups world is such a lonely place to be; you can never achieve success alone. Network, connect, build and empower yourself.
4. Believe in something
There is nothing powerful as having a motivation or a reason to hold on to a dream or a vision. I’m an advocate of believing in something that motivates you to keep stepping up the stairs and achieve set goals. Most often, deep purpose can drive your desire to do something great or accomplish a goal. No matter what it is, just believe in something.
5. Read – Develop a reading habit
Reading is therapeutic. Some startups do not know this. Entrepreneurs often read to enrich their knowledge and for learning purposes but not for the pleasure of it. Reading keeps your mind occupied especially for the pleasure of just reading. Entrepreneurship has no foolproof but other entrepreneurs experiences are a good guide to influence your own journey. A book or two at most read monthly would impact your mental health tremendously and your business in the long run.
6. Take Inspirational and introspection breaks
This is one of my personal favorite activities to keep me balanced and without losing it. Startups are not wealthy business owners, they are prospective billionaires. Don’t wait to be rich to take breaks from work.
Occasional breaks do not need to be a luxury. Spending quality time with loved ones can be inspirational and very helpful.
Pause sometimes. Despite all the works needed to be done and amidst the ‘broke’ days to think and rethink about where you are heading, how far you have come and where next the journey will take you. Find answers to what’s missing and where to find what to get yourself better.
7. Life is simple, take things easy – have some fun
The little things in life are the most beautiful. Take the pleasure in appreciating your efforts, your hustles, and your business progress no matter how little. Hard work pays in the long terms enjoy the journey. This means nothing extraordinary succeeds in a day. It takes patience, consistency, sometimes a playful nature and commitment.
When it is not happening fast, relax and appreciate every process.
A good amount of casual fun is important to your entrepreneurial journey; have a lot of fun.