Let's Talk About Mental Health
72% of entrepreneurs are directly or indirectly affected by mental health issues compared to just 48% of non-entrepreneurs. That’s according to a study by the National Institute of Mental Health. 49% of entrepreneurs deal with mental health issues directly while only 32% of others experienced them.
Entrepreneurs often feel isolated as they work from home. We all need human connection to talk to out when we are struggling within our business.
Often we forget the importance of our own mental health and keep pushing forward in our business.
It can be a rocky road as an entrepreneur
I’ve been an entrepreneur now for 21 years now. I’m just one of 500 million entrepreneurs; we make up about eight percent of the global population, amazingly. As a category - we are more likely to suffer from mental health problems, and yet, people don’t talk about that enough.
In my 21 years, I’ve failed many times, had some great successes, and am currently growing my online business, Aspiring Course Creators Academy, which by the way is launching two new memberships in 2022. One for business owners who want to start and grow their own online business and another who is scaling and looking at automation and entrepreneur leadership.
During my time as an entrepreneur, I have suffered from some major mental health problems, from having BCC cancer, which led me to depression, anxiety, and insomnia.
While many view entrepreneurship as a dream career full of excitement, it is a real rocky road. According to this study by Michael Freeman, entrepreneurs are 50 percent more likely to report having a mental health condition. And yet, we still struggle to talk about it.
When I mention the words mental health, what thoughts fly into your mind?
I was reading a good article by beyond blue, and it was an eye-opener. Many entrepreneurs struggle with the word mental health, thinking that it is about those conditions around depression, anxiety, stress, and being unable to cope.
Instead, it is about well-being where everyone reaches their full potential, is able to cope with the normal stresses of life, and can work productively as they build their businesses and communities.
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Here are three things that contribute to mental health issues:
I think this is something that we all experience at some time, being an entrepreneur, especially if you are online, as quite often we work remotely, feeling isolated as we grow our businesses.
I remember the day that I told my parents that I was going to quit my corporate job and start a business back in 2001. They were horrified, and not supportive at all. I remember this conversation as though it was yesterday. And that was about staying in a job, retiring, and getting that gold watch.
Well that certainly wasn’t what I wanted to hear, and they didn’t even recognize that I was suffering from burnout and bullying from my corporate job, everyday crying, and feeling mentally exhausted. We didn’t have those important conversations and I felt so alone as I entered the world of entrepreneurship, knowing that my family didn’t even support me.
And until this day 21 years later, we still never have any conversations about my business. Working at home can contribute to losing those important connections with others, as often when you work in an office setting, you can have a quick chat at the water cooler, or in the lunchroom on your breaks.
This is one of the reasons why I have created my membership communities, to give entrepreneurs their virtual water cooler conversations. To know that you are not alone, and to connect with other humans who are journaling along the same pathway as yourself.
To find your go-to people who you resonate with, and to know that they are a phone call away. Enabling you to discuss the challenges of starting and running your online business, and to know that they have your back.
These conversations are priceless and the way that we approach our businesses will determine our level of success.
Social Media can be Damaging
Social media can be very damaging when we start to compare ourselves with others. I am not a particular fan of social media myself, however, it is a good vehicle to connect with others, who may have the same interests as yourself.
Many of my clients, including myself, can easily get discouraged by the vanity metrics on social media as we publish our posts, videos, and articles. We all follow the formulas and strategies that we have paid for by the top online entrepreneurs, but we feel again alone, as nobody comments or engages with our social media material, for some.
And I want to encourage those who are feeling like that, as we all started with zero following on social media. Many people watch and don’t take action. I want you to remember that point. And the reason why they don’t take action can also be their own self-worth.
Let me explain a bit more about self-worth
Some people think that they don’t know enough to add value to conversations, or they simply don’t know how to respond. So they hide in the shadows, waiting to see if it is safe to comment and expose their thoughts in public. And these are your clients, the people who need your help, so they can step out of the shadows. To be honest with you, most of my clients tell me that they have been following me for ages before they decided to reach out to me. And I found that many people who are opening commenting may be in fact people who don’t really need your help.
It is a different perspective to look at. So trust me, if you are publishing consistently with your original content, then people are watching you. And when the time is right for them, you will be the person they reach out to.
For the new entrepreneurs, social media can be damaging around the BS marketing that is out there.
This is my pet hate when I see people promising instant results that leave the new entrepreneurs left feeling disillusioned and disappointed in themselves. There is no quick fix or one strategy that will create an overnight success. In fact, I can honestly put my hand on my heart, and tell you that every successful entrepreneur has their own stories around their struggle that they had to overcome to gain success. This is called the hero’s journey where you as a business owner are called to step into your own journey.
The secret here is to never give up, and keep moving forward with those baby steps. And along the way hit the reset button, and ensure you take some time off, to recharge and simply enjoy life and to connect with others in your family and friends.
Lack of Entrepreneurial Leadership
Many entrepreneurs pretend that everything is okay, yet they are also having some mental health issues as well. This is the fear of exposing themselves or showing vulnerability, Which can also create a disconnection. People relate more with those, who have had similar experiences, and for those who are brave enough to be open around their struggles, and also to be able to share how they overcame those struggles, which gives us all hope, and the ability to believe in ourselves again.
Beyond being there for your communities, being honest about when you are struggling, sharing these kinds of emotions on social media - that is real leadership. The reason isn’t just because it shows you in your more frail state, but because it informs your communities knowing that by being honest and you respect their mental health too, which will reduce their own anxiety about how honest they can be when engaging and working with you.
Vulnerability in leadership builds trust.
By stepping up and being vulnerable, you are creating a safe space, for those to have those important conversations around mental health issues, that they may be experiencing. Leaders have to lead the way and have a willingness to make mistakes along the way. Your communities are looking for guidance and confidence that you are the right person who can give that to them. They are not just looking for information, they are looking for transformation.
They want to know that you care and have empathy for them. That you will be there for them, and you really listen to their conversations. I am finding today even successful entrepreneurs are forgetting about the human touch. The one-to-one conversations are necessary at times when they notice a client or community member, who has hit rock bottom. After all good leadership inspires people into action, uplifts those around them, and shows up on those days where they themselves are having a tough day as well.
Your Next Action Step
Seeing as one of the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face, especially with their mental health is asking for help, why not use this week as an opportunity to set yourself a new daily practice - reach out to one fellow community member, every day this week, and see how they are doing, and if they fancy having a call to chat through their problems.
By connecting with them you’ll be improving their mental health, and your own too.
Most importantly, whatever you are going through right now, know you are not alone, please do reach out to just one friend, and see what kind of difference it can make.
Join our Aspiring Course Creators Membership
- Be in a supportive community that will connect you with other entrepreneurs, that have your back.
- Gain more progress when you have a step by step roadmap to build a thriving business online
- Be Inspired to take action and keep moving forward with your business goals
- Gain new insights and perspectives during the live masterminding sessions & discussion groups
- Network with others and build professional relationships