The Psychological Challenges of Entrepreneurship

The Psychological Challenges of Entrepreneurship image psych 300x162Chasing your dreams can be exhilarating. It is once in a lifetime decision that you make based on some of your future goals and aspirations. Many startup founders and entrepreneurs know that it does take some failure to succeed, but that doesn’t make failing any easier.

The tech world was turned upside down in 2013 when Jody Sherman, founder of Ecomom, committed suicide. Only a short year later, a Venture for America Fellow Ovik Banerjee also took his own life. In May of 2014, just a few months after Banerjee’s shocking death, Matt Berman, founder of Bolt Barber, was also found in his home after taking his own life.While these deaths may have not impacted the rest of the world like it did for the tech community; they are still tragic and heartbreaking.

Nobody will truly know the demons each of these startup founders and entrepreneurs faced, but many business owners do know some of the hardships they encountered on their journey to success. While every battle is different and unique with every individual, it is important to know some of the psychological battles and challenges that entrepreneur’s face and how to handle them safely so your own life is not at risk.

Why is it so important?

It’s easy to brush off hardships and challenges as simply obstacles that everyone must face.

Because so many entrepreneurs and startup founders are successful and look dangerous situations directly in the eye without any fear, many people find it difficult to ask for help or confide in a friend in a time of need.

People tend to ignore situations that they don’t deem serious but in reality, are more detrimental than they may assume. Many business owners tend to focus on success and their work ethics; they don’t stop and think of how something negative can affect them in the long run. They keep chugging along until they’ve reached their goal.

Entrepreneurs also live a “fake it until you make it” kind of lifestyle – something you may have heard from the group Alcoholics Anonymous, but unfortunately, living this kind of lifestyle can be dangerous. Pushing aside your own issues will eventually tear you up from the inside causing further damage than you may have ever imagined.

What kinds of psychological challenges are there?

There are many different kinds of psychological challenges entrepreneurs face.

Every business owner must face battles on a daily basis: which marketing tactic to use or which decision will be best for the company. The problem begins once the results are in. If the outcome is not what was expected, the rest of your mental state depends on how you handle negative or disappointing consequences. Despite which route your business is taking, your decisions can negatively or positively affect your self esteem. Low self esteem can directly link to states of depression.

Results that did not end in your favor can quickly change your forceful workmanship into depression and anxiety. Mood disorders are often common in entrepreneurs, because they are constantly pushing themselves to work; many of which work on long periods of mania.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – pushing yourself to reach your goals is part of being successful. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to tell whether you were working through a state of mania or simply rushed by your adrenaline because towards the end of the work day, you’re exhausted.

Many entrepreneurs find themselves working late and getting anywhere between 3 and 6 hours of sleep a night. Not sleeping a full 8 hours has been linked to depression. It can also be hard during a busy work day to find time to eat lunch or dinner. Skipping meals can be extremely harmful to your health because your body needs fuel to keep it going.

It’s true: a large portion of the world is affected by depression and anxiety and is prescribed medications to help them live a happy and healthy life. The difference between entrepreneurs and the rest of the world is the fact that you often ignore these signs and symptoms because you either assume they will dissipate on their own or brush them off as something insignificant until it is too late.

Many business owners base their lives around their work or feel if their company or business is not successful, they are not successful.

Their mentality is simply this: “if my business fails, I have failed.”

How can you protect yourself?

Protecting yourself from diseases such as depression or anxiety is difficult but it can be done with a healthy lifestyle change.

It is important to separate yourself from your business. Remind yourself that many startups fail, bad decisions will be made and regardless of which way your business turns, you can always get back up and try again. Life is not over if your business is over.

Be sure to take time for yourself and care about other things. If you’re finding that you haven’t taken part in an activity you enjoy, take a day off and spend some time with the people you love or doing the things you love. While your company or business may be a significant part of your life, you should not live to work. Getting so involved in your work that you ignore the things that matter to you will eventually eat you up inside.

No matter how busy your business or company is and how much you’ve been working, maintaining a healthy lifestyle includes:

  • Eating healthy or at least three times a day
  • Exercise in your down time; this can release positive endorphins to make you feel good
  • If you’re feeling sick or under the weather, take time off
  • Try to get a full 8 hours of sleep on a regular basis

Don’t let your business take you away from the things that are important to you. If you’re feeling that you’ve lost interest in the things you enjoy outside of your business or you need someone to talk with about how you’ve been feeling, be sure to contact a doctor or someone who can help you.

If you have run out of ideas or find yourself struggling to get help with your business, remember that you are not alone in the world of entrepreneurship! Sign up for your free newsletter to Successful Startup 101. You will get exclusive tips and advice that you won’t find anywhere else. It can be the edge you’re looking for to change things up in your business.


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