In September, 2013, Inc. Magazine‘s Jessica Bruder discusses the issues that entrepreneurs face with regard to mental illness. They often suffer from depression, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or bipolar disorder. Entrepreneurs are often swept up in new ideas and bouts of creativity that are actually mania or can mirror the symptoms of mania or hypomania. When followed by doubt in their business or product, failure to see growth, failure to make certain incomes, or not achieving certain markers of success, there can be depressive feelings. If these phases cycle, it can mimic bipolar disorder, or be an expression of bipolar disorder. Anxiety is often found in the entrepreneur as he/she worries about product launch, deadlines, and if the business is “good enough” to be a hit. The tendency to jump form one part of the project to the next is often a marker for ADHD and adults with ADHD will gravitate toward work that allows them to function in time with their brain chemistry.
Inc. Magazine‘s article uses the metaphor of a man riding a lion. Everyone looks at the man and says, “Wow, he’s so brave,” while the man is thinking “How did I get on this lion and how do I keep it from eating me?”
I can speak to many of these feelings as I’m the owner of one business, the co-owner of another business, and a published author. As someone with my hands in many pots, I understand the struggle to want to see a project to fruition while at the same time spinning all the plates on broom handles and letting none of them fall, giving proper care to each one. This is no easy task on the best of days, and some days are not the best.
To be a successful entrepreneur:
- Balance your life. Find time for everything. I know, I know, but there’s so much to do already! Do it anyway. Work, play, relax, exercise, eat well, drink only in moderation, feed the business monster all that it needs, and spend time with friends.
- Be honest. Tell your friends and family what is going on with your business. Tell them where you are struggling. Ask for support and for help when needed. Maybe one of your friends is fantastic with spreadsheets and would be willing to spend 30 minutes getting part of your project organized for you so you can be freed up for innovation. Maybe hiring a temp for a day would get your marketing caught up so fliers can go out on time. If people don’t know where you are with things, they can’t be there for you in the ways you need and may see your struggles as less than (or more than) you feel them to be.
- Set goals. Studies have shown that people who have realistic goals and are marking progress toward them are the happiest people. Set a long term goal and break that down into many short term goals with due dates or markers. Break those down even further so you know what needs to be done this month, this week, and today to get those goals met. Cross them off; mark your progress. Even if a deadline slips because life gets in the way, you know exactly where you are and nothing is “ruined”, just delayed. With this kind of organization, sometimes you can anticipate delays and make up time.
- Seek help. If you have a chemical imbalance or feel that the amount of anxiety or depression you are facing is due to an insurmountable stressor, ask for help. There are many good therapists and psychiatrists out there who can get you back on track.
Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on Twitter and Facebook.