The dark side of Entrepreneurship ~When depression sets in:

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If life were a fairy tale, when you would have a dream or a goal, it would just magically come to fruition. But the reality is we are not in a fairy tale at all. I’ve been an entrepreneur full time for the past three years or so. Initially, I came into this world wanting to be a psychotherapist and then it morphed into wanting to be a coach. For some reason in all the training's I attended, all the seminars I participated in, and all the webinars I watched, NO ONE ever talked about the depression that sets in when you begin to work for yourself. According to the recent research, 1 in 3 entrepreneurs lives with depression.  It is not currently clear whether these entrepreneurs had experienced depression prior to entering the business ownership world or not. I’m not currently convinced that this is even a relevant train of thought. Please allow me to explain why: being an entrepreneur is often times lonely, isolating and riddled with shame. In my experience, when I wanted to transition from being a psychotherapist to a coach, I sought out leaders and mentors. I wanted to learn and was dying for the information about how to make this work.  What I got instead was a bunch of “should’s” and a host of shame. The shame didn’t come in overt forms but was much more covert. In consisted of things like: if I wasn’t willing to hustle then I should go home, if I wasn’t willing to commit to posting in five groups a day I might as well do nothing, and all Facebook live videos should be at least forty two minutes. There are so many unspoken of rules that it’s no wonder many entrepreneurs get depressed.

That, in combination with the absolute change in experiences that happen when you go from working for someone else to working for yourself. That is a massive shift! I remember when I worked in community mental health, one of the complaints of my supervisor was that my office was never empty. I was somewhat of the social hub for the other therapists. Now, when I walk to the bathroom I’m lucky if I make eye contact with the receptionist in the business next door.  That’s a complete shift for a lot of people.

I love working with entrepreneurs because they have typically reached that drowning point when they are willing to ask for help.  The point where you arrive at your office and 8 hours later you realize that you have spent the entire day doing one of three things: staring at the paperwork that needs to be completed, spinning in your chair or moving piles of paperwork from one place to the next. Then the doubt and the fear begins to set in. Where depression takes hold for some people, is when they not only begin to question their worth as an entrepreneur but also as a human being.

I’ve been in the place I describe, although briefly. But I’ve also empowered others to leave this desolate land of nothingness to walk into their joy and passion. My recommendations for creating the necessary shifts are as follow:

  1. Music: Any time I am not with a client or on the phone I put on some music that motivates me. Music is a great way to increase your energetic vibration, and it’s a great stress reliever. Some people can’t have music on while reading, however, and if that’s the case use it sparingly.
  2. Support: Part of the disconnect in going from working with other people to working for yourself is the lack of human connection and support that occurs. I highly recommend creating relationships that will support your goals and dreams rather than keeping them separate. I currently have friends who will randomly message or text me to just check in and see how I’m doing. I do the same for them because it’s crucial that I don’t become isolated while working for myself.
  3. Balance: I’m a very firm believer in the concept of balance. When I first started working for myself, I would spend every night after dinner working on work stuff. Which created a massive imbalance because there was never any down time. I’m a huge proponent of having down time and fun.
  4. Outsource: Let’s be honest for a moment, the biggest disservice we do to ourselves is thinking that we need to be all things for all people.  That’s not only unrealistic but it’s also a huge recipe for disaster. I’m not an accountant because numbers do nothing for me. In the past, every time I interacted with QuickBooks software I felt completely stupid. Once I outsourced this to someone who enjoys it, I felt so much lighter. This also allowed me to spend my time focused on my skill set.
  5. Write it down: I learned a long time ago that the best technique for being productive is to make a list the night before you go to bed of four to six things you want to get done the next day. I received the best benefit from handwriting these things down. I noticed when I hand wrote down my small to do list I was able to get them done much quicker and much more effectively.
  6. Schedule breaks: If I’m working on insurance contracts or something equally heavy, I set an alarm on my phone to make sure I take a break every forty minutes. During these breaks I typically walk around, get another glass of water, listen to some music and recognize what I have gotten done.
  7. Ask for help: Rome wasn’t built alone and neither are solid businesses! This is why we have coaches, mentors and Mastermind groups. Each and every one of these things serves a purpose. If you don’t have access to any of these, create a support group. Contact three or four other entrepreneurs and schedule a monthly lunch, breakfast or coffee. Make it your goal to ask them how you can support them as well as letting them know how they can support you.
  8. Exercise: as with everything else in life, exercise is crucial. It doesn’t have to be as complicated as doing an iron man, it can be as simple as doing yoga or going for a walk. It keeps your body in good shape and allows you to de-stress your body. It also has the potential to remove the toxins of stress and ensure that you sleep well.
  9. Meditation/self-hypnosis: It’s imperative to keep in mind that 15 minutes of self-hypnosis is the equivalent of 6 hours of sleep. Most of my clients use meditation/self-hypnosis as an opportunity to reset themselves throughout the busy work day. This is also a phenomenal way to navigate and manage your stressors and distractions. I use this technique in my life on a daily basis.
  10. Sleep: I’m a huge proponent to entrepreneurs getting between eight and ten hours of sleep. Here’s what I know beyond a shadow of a doubt: My ability to concentrate and get stuff done is directly proportional to the amount of sleep I got the night before. I have worked enough with entrepreneurs to see that there’s a direct correlation in other people’s lives as well.
  11. If you need help, get it: Please don’t ever stop yourself from getting the help you deserve. If you think you need to talk to someone - do it now! If you think you need to see someone please do it now. You have to be the number one priority in your own life…even before your business.

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