The thing that no one tells you when starting a business is that you need to be mentally ready. We are taught in school about the basics of running a business and then we jump in course after course about setting up your social media or pricing your products or branding and marketing, but there is hardly if any training about dealing with your mental health. And yes I know we are encouraged to do our daily affirmations and vision boards and journaling, but mental health has so many deep rooted issues when trying to run a successful business.
This week, the world celebrated World Mental Health Day on Thursday 10th October. According to the World Health Organisation– ‘ World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health.
The Day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.’
I saw many companies on social media acknowledging the day by sharing beautiful motivational posts and my question is always…and what next? As a business owner who suffers with depression myself, I understand first hand the challenges of growing a business in isolation. Growing a business in a world full of bullies who like to pick at every flaw they may think you have. At social media keyboard warriors who take pleasure in diminishing another entrepreneurs light to make themselves feel better. As a coach I have seen, heard and read so many instances of entrepreneurs in my own circle who are struggling to hold themselves together even when they have a great product or service.
Mental health is the taboo subject in business.
Many entrepreneurs suffer with anxiety, panic attacks and mental stress in silence because we feel that no one is experiencing what we are or we are too ashamed to have these discussions. In my own group, Dynamic Business Strategist, I have created a space where we can share information about business growth, tools and resources. On the rare occasion, discussions of mental health will pop up but it is not a main topic of discussion. In my 1 on 1 consults with my clients, we always end up talking about feelings of anxiety and overwhelm and how each client manages that in their own space.
I believe one of the main reasons many businesses ‘fail’ in less than 5 years is because we have not learnt to identify and manage our mental health as business owners. Fear, anxiety, panic attacks, doubts, fears, etc, overwhelm us to the extent that we cannot function optimally. The perceived lack of support and in many cases isolation takes a toll on productivity and creativity. The lack of taking care of our physical bodies because we are burning two end of the candle or have been taught that we must multitask or work Sunday to Sunday from sun up to sun down has fuelled the break down of our mental health. The ‘hustle’ mentality is what drives the entrepreneur niche without taking into consideration how much damage this is also wreaking on our bodies and our families to some extent. But most of all, the lack of support to just have a simple discussions about the struggles we may be experiencing.
I left my corporate job because of depression and my own mental health issues and I shared it with the world because I realised it was such a taboo discussion. In my article – How depression led me to quit my job and take control of my business, I outlined the specific struggles I faced and how making the decision changed my life completely. Do I still struggle with bouts of depression- Yes. Do I still have anxiety attacks- Yes. Do I still struggle with isolation and feeling noone understands- Yes. But knowing this, I took a step that many entrepreneurs have never taken. I sought help. I have a therapist that I speak to regularly about my struggles and my triggers. I have identified my triggers and techniques to work through them. I have aligned myself with a business buddy to vet, scream cry but most of all celebrate all my business accomplishments. And now I know I am not alone. But this is not the case for many entrepreneurs!
As we mark another year of World Mental Health day, I want each of us to take a look at those around us who are in business and remember to
- Reach out with kind words
- Support each other by buying or referring each other
- Share in success and celebrate each other
- Listen with the intention to support
- And stop being judgemental
The way for us as entrepreneurs to tackle this issue of mental health in our space is to recognise that we all have our own issues and we all need support as we grow.
Join us in the Dynamic Business Strategist group where you will get and experience support daily as you grow your business.
Book your free consult to see if this is right for you