Research indicates that employee burnout leads to job dissatisfaction, absenteeism, and turnover, not to mention health-related issues such as depression, heart disease, and sometimes even death.
According to Harvard Business Review, there is evidence that suggests entrepreneurs are more at risk of burnout because they tend to be (A) very passionate about work, (B) more socially isolated, (C) operate in high uncertainty, and (D) have limited safety nets. That being said, entrepreneurial failure and bankruptcy are likely to contribute substantially to the $300 billion in costs the U.S. experiences annually as a result of burnout.
As Inc.points out:
“Successful entrepreneurs achieve hero status in our culture. We idolize the Mark Zuckerbergs and the Elon Musks. And we celebrate the blazingly fast growth of the Inc. 500 companies. But many of those entrepreneurs harbor secret demons: Before they made it big, they struggled through moments of near-debilitating anxiety and despair–times when it seemed everything might crumble.”
As you might imagine, launching a business will always be a crazy ride, filled with plenty of ups and downs, but there are key ways that entrepreneurs can keep their lives from spiraling out of control:
1. Be Social
First, and most importantly, says Micael A. Freeman, psychiatrist, and former entrepreneur, make time for your loved ones. “Don’t let your business squeeze out your connections with human beings,” he says.
Relationships with friends and family can be powerful weapons against depression, a common problem for entrepreneurs. It’s also important to ask for help and seek out a mental health professional when feelings of significant anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, or depression arise.
2. Set Financial Limits
According to Michael A Freeman, entrepreneurs should limit their financial exposure. Ambitious entrepreneurs sometimes have blinders on when it comes to assessing risk. The consequences of too much financial risk can devastate bank accounts and spike stress levels.
It’s important for entrepreneurs to set a limit for how much of their own money they’re prepared to invest. Additionally, they shouldn’t let friends and family invest more than they can afford to lose.
3. Make Time For Excercise
“New entrepreneurs often make themselves less resilient by neglecting their health,” indicates Freeman. They either eat too much or too little, in addition to not getting enough sleep and skimping on exercise. Entrepreneurs in startup mode often push themselves too much, which abuses the body and triggers vulnerability.
According to an article on Entrepreneur, “Exercise has a multi-pronged effect when it comes to enhancing your performance on the job. It boosts stamina and fights fatigue, but it also promotes a calm, focused state of mind that can help you do your best work.”
4. Nurture a Healthy Perspective
It’s crucial for entrepreneurs to cultivate an identity apart from their company. “Build a life centered on the belief that self-worth is not the same as net worth,” says Freeman. Whether it’s raising a family, being involved with a local charity group, or refurbishing old cars in the garage, other dimensions of life should be part of the entrepreneur’s identity.
Being able to keep failure and loss in perspective is also important in maintaining good mental health. “Instead of telling yourself, ‘I failed, the business failed, I’m a loser,’ ” says Freeman, “look at the data from a different perspective: Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Life is a constant process of trial and error. Don’t exaggerate the experience.”
5. Be Open About Feelings
“People who are on the energetic, motivated, and creative side are both more likely to be entrepreneurial and more likely to have strong emotional states,” says Freeman. These states can include depression, despair, hopelessness, worthlessness, loss of motivation, and suicidal thinking.
“When we choose to bury our feelings, we act differently. We may not make ourselves available to others and may withdraw, or just not be fully engaged when we do spend time with other people. At other times, we can react inappropriately because our emotions are pulling us in a different direction from where we really want or need to go. When you express how you really feel (in an appropriate manner), problems get solved, relationship issues get resolved, and life is easier. In addition, you will like your life better because you’re not holding on to unhealed or confusing feelings.”
Source: Psychology Today
Entrepreneurs should take care not to mask or bury their emotions, even at the office. Being emotionally honest, lets people connect more deeply with those around them.
Launching and running a business can be a very rewarding experience. But it can also be a stressful job that causes a lot of emotional turbulence.
Entrepreneurs juggle many roles and face many setbacks, including the loss of customers, disputes with partners, fierce competition, and struggling to make payroll.
Being an entrepreneur will always be demanding, but the 5 suggestions above can prevent ambitious go-getters from crashing and burning if they’ll make these smart tips as much a part of their identity as their business is.
Also published on Medium.