- Elon Musk, Investor & Entrepreneur
When we think about entrepreneurship, we often think about the glowing success and pride we might feel upon successfully launching a business or closing a deal. But in reality, entrepreneurship taxes your mind quite a bit and comes with a host of mental health impacts that entrepreneurs should be aware of. Let’s break each of these mental health risks down one by one so you can be aware of them and counter them healthily.
BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR IS OFTEN LONELY
Our modern image of an entrepreneur is, usually, a successful man surrounded by his subordinates and many fanatic admirers. Think Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Jobs. But the truth is, most entrepreneurs don’t get a lot of attention or companionship in the early days of their professional careers.
Indeed, many entrepreneurs spend tons of waking hours alone, pouring over the details of their business or refining (over and over) their core ideas so they can be more successful in the future. While business and entrepreneurship are both collaborative to large extents, many of the nitty-gritty working hours of entrepreneurship will be spent alone.
This social isolation can be quite taxing, particularly if you are naturally extroverted. Keep this in mind as you pursue your business goals and consider taking on a partner. Alternatively, be sure to allocate some time so you can spend a few hours with friends, family, or a significant other at least every couple of days.
We humans are social creatures – don’t forget that we all need companionship, even when we’re pursuing our dreams!
IT CAN BE HARD TO RELAX AS AN ENTREPRENEUR
Another taxing element of entrepreneurship is the sheer multitude of things to keep in mind or consider. Starting a business is a huge undertaking. You need to:
- come up with a business plan
- secure investors for the business
- think about hiring new employees or partners
- continue to refine your product or service
- think about how much you charge for the product or service
- and much more than these few factors
In a nutshell, it’s extremely hard to relax as an entrepreneur! This is doubly true if you are just starting out and don’t yet have your first successful business or startup under your belt. The pressure to succeed without making a single mistake could feel intense, even if mistakes are a natural part of the entrepreneurship journey.
One thing to keep in mind as you pursue your entrepreneurship goals is that you need to force yourself to relax from time to time. Give yourself a little recreational space at the end of every day, or even week, and your mental health will see significant improvements as a result.
Our brains simply need a little time to unwind in order to do good work. If you want your working hours to be the most productive they can, get yourself to relax by any means necessary.
ENTREPRENEURS NEED TO DEAL WITH FAILURE OFTEN
As mentioned above, entrepreneurship and failure essentially go hand-in-hand. While this may not seem like the truth when you consider the pop-cultural iconography of successful entrepreneurs, it’s an inevitability that you’ll face at least a few failures on your personal road to success.
You need to be mentally and emotionally resilient enough to deal with repeated failures if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur. This is non-negotiable, and it’s actually the emotional quality that separates successful entrepreneurs from ones who eventually give up.
Can you handle your business getting a setback that pushes your launch date out to another year? If not, you need to consciously work on your mental strategies to help yourself deal with failure.
This may involve therapy, a success coach, or speaking with a dedicated business mentor who can show you that failure is actually quite valuable. It provides an intense experience you can bring to bear on future problems to avoid making the same mistakes twice.
STRESS WILL BE YOUR CONSTANT COMPANION
As an entrepreneur, you’ll need to become as well acquainted with stress as you do failure. This is somewhat related to the factor above where we discussed how it’s difficult to relax, but it’s a unique issue because of how it taxes your mind and body.
Not being able to relax is different from the sheer magnitude of the stress you are likely to face when you try to run a business. Don’t let this dissuade you! Entrepreneurship is a rewarding path and there’s nothing more enjoyable than watching your business take flight after all your hard work.
But you have to be able to handle the stress that comes with the territory in order to reach that finish line. To do this, practice mental resilience and learn stress reduction techniques like yoga, exercise, or other habits that can successfully burn away the stress hormones at the end of the day.
MENTAL STRESS MAY LEAD TO PHYSICAL HEALTH PROBLEMS
Stress hormones are a physical symptom of stress, and this leads us to our next point: physical health. Many entrepreneurs often struggle with maintaining good physical health as they pursue their goals. As they become overly stressed or focused on success, they forget to take care of their bodies, leading to significant health issues down the road.
Your physical health is, in fact, critical for your success. If you aren’t healthy, you won’t be on your feet, coming up with new business ideas and refining the ideas you already have in play. To this end, you should adopt several strategies to make sure your body, as well as your mind, are in tip-top condition so you can continue to be productive.
Be sure to:
- join a gym or otherwise maintain an exercise routine. Exercising every day is important, especially in our sedentary society
- eat healthily, and always be sure to include plenty of vegetables and vitamins
- avoid drinking or smoking in the excess. While indulging in a few of your favorite vices from time to time is all right, many entrepreneurs use their vices to escape stress too much
The great thing is that prioritizing your physical health will have positive effects for your mental health. Your body and mind are symbiotic with one another – take care of both if you want to stay fit and successful over the long-term.
Ultimately, entrepreneurship is one of the most rewarding careers one can undertake. But it also comes with mental health impacts that you need to be prepared for so you can avoid their most dramatic symptoms. Consider how your mental health might be improved by anticipating these conditions and you’ll go far.
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Thought leaders & celebrities share their tactics for success on the Lisnic podcast by Lisa Teh & Nick Bell