The psychological cost of entrepreneurship and how you can deal with it.
Starting on your own is hard, very hard. It takes a toll on you. But what we see in media is all the glorious stories. No one talks about the everyday hardships- the lows, the shoutings, the cribbing, the angry you, the depressed you, the snapping you, your family members who also bear your unexplained behavior & more. Everyone out there (read it as in the media) is ready to guide you and help you achieve your goals. They talk about habits of successful people. You can read a plethora of articles on habits of Elon Musk, habits of Steve Jobs, do this and you will be successful do that and you will be more productive etc. I am saying this because there was a time I use to read them. I would have more than 30 tabs open and I would think I will read all of them. Someone is telling you to have goals and not dreams, have a process and not goals etcetera. There are hardly articles that talk about the sadness, the daily fight you have to do. The question I ended up asking myself was is it right for me? Is this helping me at becoming better at my business or becoming a better person?
I started my company & I realized it is hard not just to me but to my family and friends as well. Over a week this is my behavior graph.
Depression- It will be the only constant. Make it your friend. The only way to deal with it is to understand it. Why it happens, what are the triggers? Usually, if you are a startup the reason for the worst form of ‘depression’ is lack of sales, simply put your product is not making money. You feel stuck. You don’t know what to do. You compare, you think your team is not putting in efforts, you might want to blame them also. This leads you to yell, uncontrolled anger, negativity and a constant fear. What can you do? Below are some things I have tried and have worked for me.
#1. Take a complete break from work for 3–4 days. Stop working. Go out, read books, meet friends enjoy life. The first day you will be anxious. Your mind will not be free. Day second you will fee a little better. By day third your mind is free, you feel light.
#2. Do 30 minutes of running in a park, close to nature. You need nature to fine tune you and your lungs need more oxygen. I would recommend running in a park than gym based on my personal experience. Mornings are better.
#3. Help someone & never mention it or think about “how nice you have been” after doing it. This is very important. I helped one of my friends and thought it was my duty rather than a favor. This way of thinking made a lot of difference. Try to help someone you don’t align with. Apart from helping you will also find a new found respect for yourself.
#4. Don’t be overly sensitive. Most of us are very sensitive. Even I am. I react when something does not align with my views. Keep this in your head “Don’t be overly sensitive”. Remind yourself whenever you are into or getting to that sensitive zone. If you constantly repeat this in your head for a couple of days it will stick and you will save a lot of time and energy by avoiding such situations.
#5. You might want to write about what is going on in your head. It works and is a good habit.
#6. Observe yourself. Your habits. You can evaluate them later. Observing them will give you insight and you may discover where you might be lagging behind in terms of work and your personal life.
#7. Spend time with your family and friends. Talk about their life and how things are going with them. Focus on them. Do not talk about anything related to you. Go out with them.
After a couple of days, you will feel refreshed and your mind can think clearly. Then you can start thinking about your business. Maybe you need to have a clear focus area or improve processes in your business to get productivity. There can be many things, the clarity in your head will allow you to focus on the most important issue and take an action step to resolve bottlenecks.
These are simple steps that I have tried myself and have helped me. Let me know what you think.