Managing mental health as an entrepreneur
Let’s face it, being an entrepreneur is an adventure. Some days, it’s smooth sailing, and others can be a roller coaster ride from hell. It opens the door to new opportunities and experiences, the ability to break free of routine, chart your path, pursue a career that aligns with your values, and offer ongoing personal growth and development.
Being an entrepreneur also takes an excessive amount of dedication to be successful. It takes money to make money, impacts your relationships, dominates your life, is stressful, exhausting, and ultimately takes a considerable toll on your mental health.
According to a study by the National Institute of Mental Health. 72% of entrepreneurs are directly or indirectly affected by mental health issues compared to just 48% of non-entrepreneurs. 49% of entrepreneurs deal with mental health issues directly, while only 32% of others experience them.
Entrepreneurs were significantly more likely to report a lifetime history of depression (30%), ADHD (29%), substance use conditions (12%), and bipolar diagnosis (11%).
As an entrepreneur, you’re making critical decisions daily to grow your business, and others may depend on you for their livelihood. Success has a direct correlation to mental stability. Here are some simple tips for managing your mental health as an entrepreneur if you’re struggling.
Build a community
Think of your community as having a network of friends, family, colleagues, and other entrepreneurs who are always there for YOU. Stress, anxiety, loneliness, and depression can come with running a business, so it’s crucial to have a supportive community. Your community is people you respect, can trust, confide in, bounce ideas off, learn from, and with whom you can build lasting relationships. They make you think, tell you the truth, challenge you to look at things from a different perspective, and provide a supportive environment that connects you to resources, solutions, and friendship.
“Everyone sees the accomplishments, but they don’t see the hardships. Having a community to share the lows with can keep you sane and even save your life.”
— Erik Torenberg
Don’t stray from your “why”
Remember why you went down the entrepreneur path. Stay close to your original purpose. Having a roadmap helps you identify how you will reach your goals and better overcome challenges. Your mission statement defines what you value most and sets the foundation for your company culture, which enables you to attract like-minded employees. When you have core values with a mission statement, you position yourself with the confidence to apply those criteria during the decision-making process. This structure provides a smooth process, which frees you up to focus on strategy and innovation.
“When you know your why, you’ll know your way.”
— Michael Hyatt
Being overwhelmed by administrative tasks, processes and procedures can lead to burnout, stress, anxiety, and health issues. You can NOT be everything to everyone and do it all.
- Organize your office, home, and digital life.
- Look at your schedule and get rid of what you are not passionate about and serve no value in your personal and business life.
- Audit existing processes and workflows to identify areas of redundancy and bottlenecks.
- Identify areas you can automate.
- Incorporate technology, resources, and tools to simplify business processes.
- Prioritize business processes.
- Make a list of tasks that you can delegate and those that only you can do.
- Hire a contractor to handle the administrative tasks while focusing on innovation, growing the business, and building relationships.
- Monitor what is working versus what isn’t.
“If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”
— Henry Ford
Comparing yourself to others is one of the leading causes of mental health issues among entrepreneurs. Comparison breeds low self-confidence and depression and compromises our ability to trust others. It can often result in the devaluing of yourself and others. When you second guess yourself and question your capabilities, business goals, and strategy, it leads to stress, depression, and anxiety. We sap our energy by focusing on competition versus reaching our goals when comparing. Realize and accept that everyone’s path is different. You are unique with your aspirations, goals, dreams, and ideas.
“Focus on what you do and do it to your best ability.”
— Tammy Drost
Let go of the perfection
Success doesn’t happen overnight. The most successful entrepreneurs have been around for a while. As an entrepreneur, you often face a tremendous amount of pressure. You’re typically heavily invested financially, physically, and mentally in the success of your business and directly responsible for making sure others bring home a paycheck, putting an enormous amount of responsibility and stress on your shoulders. Be willing to accept that you will fail sometimes, and it’s OK to fail. Think of failure as a learning opportunity. Great things take time. Learn from your mistakes, and use them as an opportunity to innovate, refine and improve.
When you maintain the passion that propelled you down the path to entrepreneurship, are open to change and embrace failure, your business benefits as it matures. You are better positioned for success when you let go of unrealistic and unattainable expectations and strive for imperfect action.
“There’s no such thing as perfection. But, in striving for perfection, we can achieve excellence.”
— Vince Lombardi
When you lack a roadmap, you function in a state of reactivity. Your business and you will perform better when you lead from a place strategy.
Maintaining your mental health is critical to success. Hopefully, the above tips will help you overcome burnout and stress to become the best entrepreneur you can be.
Need help streamlining your business? Book your FREE 30-minute Business360 Method Strategy Session with Tammy!