There’s a mental health crisis in entrepreneurship and it’s not going away anytime soon.
Many entrepreneurs don’t talk about mental health struggles, the stuff that’s actually happening behind closed doors, because of the stigma associated with mental health.
In my book Holistic Wealth: 32 Life Lessons To Help You Find Purpose Prosperity and Happiness, I interviewed over 100 trailblazers, entrepreneurs, influencers and celebrities who are world-renowned experts in life lessons in resilience and I continue this work on the Holistic Wealth podcast. Through these interviews, it’s clear that entrepreneurs face intense pressure to put their best foot forward and manage impressions, even if they feel like they’re buckling on the inside.
In a culture that glorifies companies that can scale quickly into tens of millions of dollars almost overnight, there’s intense pressure to appear successful from the get-go.
According to the research of Dr. Michael Freeman, founder of Econa, a global center for entrepreneurial wellness, 72% percent of entrepreneurs suffer from one or more mental health issues. This research also shows that entrepreneurs are twice as likely to struggle with feelings of isolation, stress, and exhaustion and are three times more likely to suffer from depression and substance abuse.
There is a silver lining: entrepreneurs are now realizing that they’re facing a mini-pandemic related to mental and emotional health and are seeking ways to improve their mental wellbeing.
So how do entrepreneurs cultivate mental and emotional health, especially during a global pandemic? In addition to creating a circle of support through accountability groups, here are three ways entrepreneurs can develop sustainable wellness.
Life, On Your Terms
On episode 16 of the Holistic Wealth Podcast, Loren Ridinger, Co-Founder of Shop.com/ MarketAmerica, discusses the impact that naysayers can have on entrepreneurs, causing self-doubt, fear and outright paralysis.
In Holistic Wealth, I have an entire chapter on naysayers entitled Life, on Your Terms, because it’s such an important topic for entrepreneurs, especially those who struggle with imposter syndrome, negative self-talk and anxiety. It’s impossible to live a life on your terms if you listen to the naysayers.
Here’s Loren’s advice: “Surround yourself with the right people – people who are positive and will support your dreams. Replace fear with faith. When you have the right people around you – you can conquer the world.”
Success is measured in many ways and evolves as your business grows. The quality of relationships, the time spent with family and friends, the conversations with supportive loved ones, are all measures of success.
On episode 27 of the Holistic Wealth podcast, Janice Campbell, Founder of the Receive Your Life System, discusses making decisions from our True Self rather than our Compromised Self, in order to fully embrace our values and essence and to cultivate mental well-being. As entrepreneurs, we feel we have to compromise to fit in or to get what we want. As Janice says, “Compromising leaves us feeling constricted, angry and resentful. Living your True Self brings feelings of joy, happiness, peace and satisfaction.”
Mindset is Key
Childhood traumas and incidents also carry over into adulthood that impact our entrepreneurship journey. There are entrepreneurs facing disabilities and chronic illnesses that have pulled on their mental strength and resilience to overcome daily difficulties.
Taylor Lindsay-Noel, featured on episode 4, is a former Canadian Olympic athlete who broke her neck in a gymnastics accident at age 14 becoming quadriplegic and immobilized from the neck down with partial-full paralysis in her limbs and no fine motor skills in her fingers. She later formed her business, A Cup Of Te.
On episode 31 of the Holistic Wealth podcast, Malena Crawford, a Certified Holistic Wealth Consultant in-training, talks about how childhood homelessness led to depression and negative feelings of self-worth and shares how she shed the victim mindset. Similarly, on episode 2 Dr. Deana Stevenson, Founder of Doc Deana Enterprises, spoke about overcoming her imposter syndrome on the road to starting her highly successful business.
For these entrepreneurs, cultivating a mindset that empowered them to achieve their goals was paramount. Taylor Lindsay-Noel’s organic tea company, after facing the prospect of shutting down, was featured on Oprah’s Favorite Things List 2020. Now, one dollar from each starter kit goes to mental health advocacy and reducing the stigma of mental health. Malena Crawford, after experiencing childhood homelessness, now has a six-figure real estate business. These successes point to how mindset and positive mental health can play a crucial role in entrepreneurial success.
The conversation continues on the Holistic Wealth Podcast. If you’re interested in creating a circle of support through starting a Holistic Wealth Project Group, I have a free Starter Kit for Entrepreneurs (email me at [email protected]).
Keisha Blair is the world’s foremost expert on holistic wealth; the award-winning, bestselling author of “Holistic Wealth: 32 Life Lessons To Help You Find Purpose, Prosperity and Happiness;” and founder of the Keisha Blair Institute on Holistic Wealth, which offers the Certified Holistic Wealth Consultant Program. Her current focus at the Institute includes providing a range of course offerings and tools for entrepreneurs and professionals. She has been featured in The New York Times, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, MSN, Yahoo Finance, and many other publications. Her writing has appeared in the New York Observer, Swaay Media, and Thrive Global. Find out more at www.keishablair.com.