Entrepreneurship and the depression within

Winston Churchill once said “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm”. The question is how are we dealing with the stress, anxiety, and depression that happen while on the road to success.

An entrepreneur is often said to be living the dream, and the startup community encourages us to share only the pretty stories about our work and achievements. Truth is the joy of working on an idea you are passionate about is very refreshing but it is very very hard behind the scenes. Depression among entrepreneurs is a growing concern and we need to encourage people to share, speak up or seek help. Leadership is sometimes likened to the ability to hide your panic from others, so we have to hold up a smile and say “everything is fine”.

I just learned that 1 in 3 entrepreneurs lives with depression. 30% of all entrepreneurs experience depression, according to a study by Dr. Michael Freeman, a clinical professor at the University of California, San Francisco. According to other researchers, many entrepreneurs share innate character traits that make them more vulnerable to mood swings and strong emotional states such as depression, despair, loss of motivation, and in terrible cases suicidal thinking.

Entrepreneurial depression has affected me a few times, after I read, I decided to share what I think could help anyone in this cycle.

Avoid comparing yourself
Measuring yourself in comparison to others means you’ll run the risk of being stressed and anxious. Moriarty, founder of 7 Cups of Tea once said “the bigger the gap between where you are and the expectations of where you should be, the higher the stress” and I couldn’t agree more. It is very important that we grow at our own pace and keep the competition within. Embrace failure when it comes, it’s part of the process. Learn to look back and appreciate the achievements regardless of how small they are.

Obsessing about details can be dangerous.
Entrepreneurs are usually visionaries and so It can be a little difficult to get your team to align with your goals around quality, customer service, operations etc and when their performance does not reach the high standards we have set, we get really impatient and freak out. We all need to learn that the growth and perfection that we seek in our team is a process and we need to be patient.

Rest Rest Rest before you Rest in Peace.
This is a mental note to me. The last time I wrote a tribute it was about how we should reduce the busyness. Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life. Always make an effort to prioritize your physical and mental health over an extra hour of work. Sleep if you are tired don’t drug yourself with coffee. Save money for a vacation.

Don’t isolate yourself.
Try to speak about how you feel. Try not to reply “I’m fine”. Build a support system, people you know that genuinely care about you and tell them where it hurts. Entrepreneurs need to be able to reach out and get help when they need it. Asking for help can be seen as a sign of weakness, which leads to people simply keeping their difficulties to themselves. The setbacks are normal, just remember that you’re not alone.

Thank you for reading, how do you cope with the depressive thoughts? What do you advise other entrepreneurs who may be suffering from depression?

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These nuggets are golden. Especially the ones on resting and isolation.

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For every entrepreneur, this should be a daily reminder. The competition is real and the quest to want to be like or better than the other person is real. This I can say is one of the major reasons for falling into depression. It is demonic and hence should be something you should fight to overcome.
It is okay to want to be known,excellent and different in our art but why working to be all of that and more, it is wisdom to know that the RACE is not a Marathon race. It is only on a marathon race that you run and want to hit it now. You don’t receive a Barton and be looking at what somebody is holding. You face forward. You are different, your assignment is different no matter how much it look like what the other person is doing. Run at your pace but be consistent. Grow through the process and in growing, you eat right to grow and abstain from anything that will stunt your growth. Comparison is a major stunt and must be get rid off. Do anything but never compare yourself to another. That is the beginning of living a depression free life.

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This too is very dangerous and we have to do anything to get rid of this mindset. You are not perfect and why it is okay to be detail and excellent at what you do, you need to live room for little criticism. Don’t wait until it’s look so perfect before you can get it out. If you are all about getting it 100% all the time,you are already on your way to depression because it can never be 100% all the way. Work in such a way that five year’s from now,when you look at some of the work you have done,you can laugh at your self and also applaud your self. Trust your process, grow through it and be patient with yourself and your team.

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Above all you just need to put all your eggs in God. He is the best person that really care about you. I believe that when you come to Him and pour your heart to Him,being the loving father and friend that He is will guide you to thing’s and people that will help you. One of the time when I was depress and because I am scared of talking to people about my fears, I focus more on God. I have had seasons in my life where I couldn’t pray. The only time I pray is when I am in church. If I come back home, I switch to worship and communicate to God through groaning in my heart. I listen to song’s by Bethel, Hill song’s and songs by Kari jobe. They helped me through my season’s of depression. I refuse to believe anything other than what the word says. So believe in God because He who have called you will take care of you. Refuse to believe anything else and just trust in the word and all that He did for you on the cross. God can and will take care of you.
Depression is real and sometimes you don’t even know when it catches up with you. But we can avoid it by putting most of the thing’s mentioned to use.

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I barely tell this story, but I developed suicidal tendencies when I ran my own businesses, mostly because I wasn’t prepared for the craziness and mental stress it came with. I thought I was tough until I had to be an entrepreneur. I’ve had the experience of seeing something build up to a successful point and just crash overnight. I almost lost it psychologically. I almost took my own life. Depression and entrepreneurship is a real thing. One thing I can add that helped me is being around those who genuinely love you. You heal and gradually develop the strength to face the world again. It’s not a one day process but the dark periods become farther apart.

God’s Grace @evansakanno :pray:t3:

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I am not an entrepreneur yet but I have at one point or the other experienced depression when what I expected didn’t come through and I kept trying a lot of things but it seemed like I was a failure at it. Sometimes it seems like it all crumbles down at once and it becomes hard to share with anyone because you feel they won’t understand or because you don’t want to look weak or need their sympathetic pep talks.
All that you wrote above are valid points.
I would add that you should look for things, no matter how little that will make you happy. No one has to understand why you find happiness in it. Could be in music or even in flowers or taking pictures or just being by the sea alone or making a wish on the stars at night, or praying or hanging around children or putting a smile on a stranger’s face. Just look for your own happy place or pay more attention to things and people around you. Maybe you’ll feel inspired one way or the other.
It’s a phase that will definitely pass with time.
You gon be alright! Stay strong :muscle:t5: :v:t5:

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Depression is crazy… Just fill yourself with love as much as you can get…

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Indeed depression of an entrepreneur is a big thing. Some days ago I read about the close down of AFROSTREAM on techpoint and i have been thinking about what the guy must have been through. He gave a detailed story of what led to the close down. Being an entrepreneur is more than what one can imagine, tho it depends on how big the vision of the person is.

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Not just how big but how confident you are to face the challenges that would come… Some people just assume its just a money making adventure… They fail to realize, challenges will lead you to that money you need…

You just need to keep winning and moving no matter what…

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When you find an unwillingness to rise early in the morning, make this short speech to yourself: I am getting up now to do the business of a man;… for the sake of which I was sent into the world. I am designed for things better than this feeling…

Pray, look upon the plants and birds, the ants, spiders, and bees, and you will see them all exerting their nature, and busy in their station. Rouse your faculties, and hasten to act according to your nature.

#extracted and edited from “The Meditations”

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