From the high-profile TV and magazine interviews of successful entrepreneurs, it is difficult to imagine the struggles they have to overcome in personal life. While most successful business owners live a life of comfort, they do not have lunches with celebrities and dinners with expats. They don’t own private islands and chartered jets.
More often than not, people fail to notice the psychological toll that entrepreneurship takes on the person. Every successful entrepreneur has seen failure at least once in his or her lifetime. Behind every Zuckerberg and Jobs, there are several failed attempts where the person was an inch away from a complete mental breakdown.
It is alright to feel vulnerable!
Anxiety, fear, insomnia, depression, and despair are friends of every struggling business owner. Long before a business owner becomes successful, he or she has to make it through trying times when every hope seemed lost.
Even a couple of years ago, investors, employees, competitors, and the media saw depression or anxiety as signs of weakness. Thankfully things are changing, and the new-age entrepreneurs are speaking up about their personal struggles.
We are seeing a greater number of blogs and interviews on the importance of mental health from the likes of Ben Huh, the CEO of Cheezburger Network and Sean Percival, the ex-VP of MySpace. Words of wisdom coming from marketing and entrepreneurship role models are making more of an impact than independent studies by psychologists, psychiatrists, and mental health institutions.
Why is mental health becoming a much-debated topic for entrepreneurs right now?
When entrepreneurs like Richard Branson write about the importance of mental health among the entrepreneurial community, it feels more relatable to the rising business owners. Emotional turbulence is common for those braving the ups and downs of business since every startup and SMB has a high failure rate in the US.
Most importantly, in small businesses, founders often have to bootstrap and assume ten different roles within the same company. It makes matters more complicated than it used to be even ten years ago. The vicious cycle of not eating properly, not exercising, not prioritizing socialization, and not going for regular health check-ups. Coupled with dwindling funds and lack of business prospects, the deteriorating health results in feelings of paranoia, stress, anxiety, desolation, and loneliness.
How to deal with emotional vulnerability?
The vulnerability that financial insecurity creates can wreak havoc on the most energetic individuals. According to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, more than 45% of the business owners report feeling stressed, and 34% feel worried. These are percentages that are significantly larger than other fields of work.
According to entrepreneurs, who have walked the walk, those with more motivation, creativity, and energy do better in tumultuous scenarios. Ironically, the same passion that drives individuals towards success can also push them over the edge in listless situations.
When all seems glum, just going through the daily motions can restore some assurance. A little self-love, some cardiovascular activity like a walk in the sun, eating healthy and planning time with the family in the backyard, and meeting your extended family or friends can remind you that you are more than an entrepreneur. And that is all you need to remember when days fall into despair and success seems too far away.