Mental Health as an Entrepreneur: Birds Eye-View
By: Kara L. Stachel, Esq.
“Transactional residential and commercial real estate and probate law”
Your personal issues will affect your business when you no longer enjoy your work - when it becomes work. People become entrepreneurs for the freedom it offers, but when entrepreneurship feels more like a ball and chain, it's time to do a mental health and personal check up on yourself. We all hit those walls, but when it gets to the point where you are no longer productive or your business stops growing, then it’s time to evaluate what is going on in your personal life that is holding you back. I have certainly had to do this more than once in my four (4) years of being a business owner and once
I pinpoint what it is that is holding me back in my personal life, and figure out how to correct it, my business relationships flourish, my productivity increases and my work becomes fun again. I remember why I do what I do and what I love about it; no one starts a business to do something they hate. When I put my mind in this mindset, it becomes a win-win for my clients and me.
Creativity Must Flow
It is difficult, if not impossible, to be creative when your mind is focusing on negatives and you are consistently stressed. When you are focused on the negatives and stress, your mind and body go into survival mode, rather than the creative mode. You are no longer thinking of growth and the future, but rather how to survive the present. It is like running on a hamster wheel - you will not get anywhere. Once you are able to clear your mind, you are able to think about the bigger picture with your business and how to foster growth and improvement. It is not only important but absolutely necessary in the formula for success. Clients and employees will never want to work in a negative environment, but a positive environment will always foster growth and productivity.
Be bold in business and in a balanced personal life
Scheduling is so important for balancing business and your personal life.
Plan everything and stick to that schedule, including when you are going to make your first cup of coffee in the morning and your children's soccer game or practice schedules as soon as you know them to ensure nothing interferes with that important time. Schedule breaks for yourself - you are human and we all need them.
Schedule specific days and times that you will set aside for meetings, networking and even exercise in order to develop a consistent schedule that you are able to stick to without excuses.
If you and your friends have a favorite yoga instructor on
Tuesdays, block that class on your calendar for every Tuesday for an indefinite period of time. That way, when someone asks if you are available on Tuesday at that time, you can let them know you have another appointment, but offer another day and time that you are available, preferably during your blocked meeting days and times. Also, try to maintain consistency with the days that you network, whether it is a group event or a one-on-one with a potential client or referral source. You are an entrepreneur and you chose to be for the freedom it offers. If you are not able to create your schedule then you are doing it all wrong!
Your Circle & Activity
Physical activity and surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals is priceless. Your physical health plays a huge role in maintaining your mental health, so be sure to maintain a consistent schedule that includes physical activity.
I recommend at least three (3) days a week. Even if that means just taking a walk in the middle of your work day. There is no reason you cannot give yourself fifteen minutes of fresh air or to close your office door, put your phone on do not disturb and meditate.
Also, meet with other entrepreneurs and vent to them and use them as a sounding board for ideas of what works and what does not. They will be your best resource and lift you up on days when you are down and you will do the same for them.
Moreover, you will likely end up being referral sources for each other, so you can share in the successes.
I meet with two other law firm owners once a week and it has been a game changer for my mental health, in addition to learning from them things that
I can improve on to make my own practice more efficient. Also, I have discovered they face the same struggles and learning from them how they handled certain situations has made me feel less alone and more like I am part of a tribe of entrepreneurs that have come much further and experienced much more success than previously thought.
Remember, you are part of a small group that had the audacity to start your own business and you made it this far. There is nothing standing in your way of success, except you. Get out of your own way and own your success - you deserve it and you are more than capable!