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Entrepreneurs Need To Take Care Of How They Feel Success must not come at the cost of your wellbeing rather one should have both

By Neerja Birla

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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We live as much in the real world as we live in the cyber world. Digital technology, the internet and the social media have made the entire world accessible at the click of a button. Now, we're all connected; we're all global citizens.

In this liberating digital age, the spirits of micro-entrepreneurs are at an all-time high, as a variety of new-age platforms are helping innovative ideas become a reality. New products are discovering new markets without having the need for a middle-man. Online shopping and trading, easy deliveries across distances, on-demand transportation platforms and crowd-funding have jump-started the economic boom of the boy and girl next door.

The age of graduating from college and searching for a job that guarantees a fixed salary and security is gone. More and more millennials want to venture out into the unknown and chase their dreams. They want to work for themselves and answer to no one. The time is actually here for every closet entrepreneur to come out of the closet and give wings to his or her start-up plan. Start-ups are actually the name of the game today. All you need is a great idea, some funding and a sound business plan.

But that's just subject matter for a pamphlet advertising start-ups, isn't it?

In reality, it's a Herculean task to start a start-up: Long work hours and burning the midnight oil, impossible deadlines, skipping meals, working with a bare minimum workforce, being your own assistant and gofer, legal issues, product issues, delivery issues, micro-managing finances, taking tough decisions, dealing with the drastic highs and lows of business, and what not. It's a roller-coaster ride alright.

The Challenges

There is a financial risk to every start-up, even if it is a calculated one. And if the venture isn't going to well, the fear of failing and losing one's dream can set in. As the pressure mounts, this can easily lead to host of mental issues – anxiety, stress, substance abuse, bi-polar disorder and depression being some of them.

Studies in America show that the triggers for start-ups and mental health concerns often work in tandem. 32% of entrepreneurs reportedly grapple with not one but two mental issues as the result of problems in their newly-founded business. Founder's Blues and Start-Up Depression are new-fangled terms that have found their way into the modern lexicon.

Essentials For an Entrepreneur

It is essential for entrepreneurs to learn to identify their own symptoms – excessive worrying, loss of appetite, loss of sleep, forgetfulness, irritability and anxiousness, amongst others. If the symptoms point even vaguely towards any form of mental concern, if there are warning signs, it is time to seek help.

To Accept

Importantly, entrepreneurs must be willing to accept that they are suffering from a mental health issue. Sadly, even educated millennials are afraid of the stigmas attached to mental health concerns, and may end up trying to ignore the symptoms instead of talking about their mental health openly.

Right Help and Correct Practices

Seeking professional help and consulting a psychologist can help entrepreneurs get a handle on the situation, and understand the measures that they need to take to get onto the path to recovery. For some, just counselling may help elevate the issue; for others, medication may become necessary.

Budding entrepreneurs must also understand that they're not alone. Others like them are probably battling similar issues. Joining a support group, even an online one, may help them find comforting voices and practical solutions from people who have faced similar concerns.

So many entrepreneurs are high achievers with huge expectations from their selves. They harbour a strong desire to be self-made. Their expectations and their drive as it is make them more prone to mental health concerns. To add to it, this success-driven attitude can sometimes rub off onto other aspects of their lives as well. Self-pride may stop an entrepreneur, who is struggling with the business and developing a mental issue because of it, from asking near and dear ones for help. To them, it may represent admitting to failure – which is absolutely the wrong attitude to have. Seeking the support of one's network of family and friends is essential for one's mental well-being in times of duress.

Start-up businesses can be all-consuming and isolating. And so, learning to prioritize and taking time out to indulge in a hobby, to exercise, to meditate and / or to meet with friends or family to unwind can help relieve the issues. In short, it is wise to cultivate sound wellness habits in oneself.

All in all, entrepreneurs need to understand the value of self-care. Your dream may come true, but what good is it if you are not well enough to enjoy the hard-earned fruits of your labour?

Neerja Birla

Founder & Chairperson - Mpower


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