The topic of depression and entrepreneurs is one that is being discussed more and more. It was especially the case through the pandemic and again now through challenging times. However, make no mistake about it, the issue has been prevalent for quite some time. Unfortunately, as the topic focuses on depression AND entrepreneurs, it’s not as mainstream an issue as it should be. Is it due to depression being diluted by adding entrepreneurs to the mix?
You see, the reason is due to the misunderstanding, or better said, the lack of understanding when referring to entrepreneurs. It must be understood that when referring to entrepreneurs the reference must also include small business owners, restaurateurs, and a very large number of individuals that only “eat what they kill”. Meaning, being solely responsible for generating their own income. If they don’t earn it (kill it), they don’t eat!
Also fitting the bill are sole practitioners including professional services providers; attorneys, CPA’s as well as the increasing number of coaches. Add to this, real estate agents, insurance agents, stock brokers and essentially, anyone whose position is 100% performance-based. And let’s not forget investor entrepreneurs – stock market, real estate, etc. Essentially, we’re referring to all whose livelihood is based on commissions or return-on-investment income.
Maybe even better said, we’re referring to all whose income is not derived from a regular paycheck. All who need to think and plan long-term, as well as short-term to ensure regular cash flow. All who must ensure there are cash and/or credit reserves for periods when cash flow slows to a trickle – or even to an abrupt stop for unforeseen or unexpected reasons that are totally out of their control. All who wear many hats just to survive, and if all things align just right, possibly they can thrive.
Ultimately, what causes depression is stress, and entrepreneurship, in any of categories listed above is chock full of stress. Compounding it further is the customer/client variable. From expectations to deadlines to less than acceptable personalities, all must be effectively managed by the entrepreneur. An additional factor is the strategizing and decision-making necessary to juggle it all.
An article in Inc. Magazine, Why Entrepreneurship Involves Depression (And How To Overcome It) lists other “potential” reasons why entrepreneurs get depressed as follows:
- Empty successes
- Naturally being prone to high levels of anxiety
- Difficulty not feeling in control
- Large numbers of investor rejections
- Stress and long working hours leading to burnout
- Being sabotaged by partners, staff or investors
- Being fired from your own company
- Struggles gaining and maintaining traction
The article states that the depression can be moderate and fleeting. Or it can be personally bankrupting and lead to a deep dive into bad habits, homelessness, and may take many years to recover from. Some don’t at all.
Further, the article indicates that entrepreneurs are:
- 2x more likely to suffer from depression
- 6x more likely to have ADHD
- 3x more likely to struggle with addiction
- 11x more likely to receive a bipolar diagnosis
From my perspective, a major concern today is how entrepreneurs, a class of individuals that are considered to be the ones to lead our country through recovery, will be able to do so with so many mental health issues prevalent in their lives. More so, during a time of economic uncertainty.
As I wrapped up my recent series, Preparing for War: You vs. Recession, I asked the question, how will your mental health hold up during challenging times?
Always looking to be proactive in providing solutions to problems, I feel it’s necessary to also recognize there are problems and identify them as such. It’s imperative to ensure they’re front and center and not ignored.
I despise the proverbial “head in the sand” approach. Yet, as much as I despise it, I need to be better at practicing what I preach. To that end, please understand that as I share my insight and perspective, I do so from personal real-time thoughts and emotions. So, when I point to YOU, I’m also pointing to ME.
Here’s an excerpt from the last segment of the series, Preparing for War: You vs. Recession.
I’d like to focus on YOU. That means, YOU the entrepreneur, the founder, the business owner, the leader, the CEO or whomever is charged with business performance and ultimately, the business succeeding according to defined goals. Especially in challenging times, how do we ensure that YOU perform at the highest level possible without stressing out and/or burning out?
At Acceler8Success Cafe, we’ve spent a great deal of time discussing mental health awareness and especially as it relates to entrepreneurship, business ownership, and leadership. Articles I’ve previously shared here about Mental Health are appropriate to share for this final segment of the series.
In late-May as Mental Health Awareness Month was coming to an end; I shared the following:
Certainly, the past couple of years has had us facing many uncertainties which, quite frankly took us on an emotional roller coaster. Mostly, the driving force has been fear. I’ve realized my own fear once I was able to admit being scared. Hey, at my age and the fact I’m not in good shape, I must be realistic. So, I’ve worked through my fear and in doing so, maybe I can overcome it. As fear is such a strong emotion that easily grips the soul, it will take time and patience to overcome such a grip.
Little by little I look forward to continuing to pry it away as fear is replaced by courage gained from confidence that fear is just a challenge to be conquered. The great thing is that some of the challenges don’t have to be tackled alone. Instead, collaborative efforts aligned with common goals truly exemplify the phrase, ‘strength in numbers’ and it’s that strength that ultimately conquers fear. Easier said than done? Possibly, but the alternative is being overwhelmed by fear and that, I’ve recognized is not living.
I’ll leave you with this to ponder as I reflect upon the same…
Why, with all the challenges listed above driving ridiculous levels of stress, do individuals decide that entrepreneurship is for them – and their chosen path for their livelihood, to support and provide for their families, and to achieve long-term goals for their later years?
And, why is entrepreneurship so popular – so damn popular that despite just the known obstacles, caution is thrown to the wind?
In upcoming articles at Acceler8Success Cafe, I hope to answer these questions while also presenting solutions and resources that may help both YOU & ME!
Together we can make it happen. Together we can make it count. Have a great day!