Entrepreneurs, let’s talk about mental health, belief and refugeEntrepreneurs, let’s talk about mental health, belief and refuge
We glamorize entrepreneurship, but it’s a true grind. The importance of founders’ mental, emotional and spiritual well-being should not be downplayed.
April 18, 2023
I am sitting outside, listening to the birds, the wind and the distant rumble of a train. It's peaceful; a momentary pause in the cacophony that is entrepreneurship. Things are tough; that's not new, but in a way, it feels heavier. I am unsure if this is the post-pandemic hangover or due partly to the blitzkrieg in the infowars around politics and the economy.
As we work to build this vibrant community of entrepreneurs, we would be remiss if we did not make it a psychologically safe space for a conversation around our emotional and spiritual nourishment.
All of you founders are doing amazing things. You're our change agents. You're our beacons of hope. On a recent walk with a friend, he asked me how I manage to stay optimistic when so much of what we read, hear and see is depressing. My answer? "Spend your days working with entrepreneurs, and you'll soon believe in a brighter future."
All your efforts, your good work, it's depletive. I hear it, and I feel the weight of it. I am on the end of those Zoom calls. That is why I want to talk about it, to ensure it is not buried or pushed aside.
We spend a little bit of time discussing self-care and rituals, but that is not enough. We must address mental health, belief and refuge. Fear and doubt are our constant companions on this journey. But left unchecked, they may lead to depression and anxiety. That's not weakness—don't tamp it down. Raise your hand and ask for help. If you see it in others, talk to them. Offer them support and kindness.
Make sure you're nourishing your spirit. Find a mechanism to reach inward and call upon belief. This isn't about religion. Instead, it is about spirituality, surrendering to something greater than oneself.
Find a place of refuge. I am not talking about a vacation or an escape. I am speaking about something internal. A place where when you close your eyes, you find shelter. Call it meditation, prayer or introspection. The label doesn't matter. What matters is that you have a place of refuge, a shelter in that storm.
I offer all of this out of worry and concern. We glamorize entrepreneurship. It is the fodder of books, reality TV and biopics. There is, however, a dark side, and it is the toll that it takes on the emotional and spiritual health of the individual. We must talk about it, support each other and provide nourishment.
It is easier to talk about sales, marketing, operations, fundraising, etc. Yet if we don't talk about mental health and our founders' emotional and spiritual well-being, we are not addressing all that is required to be an entrepreneur.
Please, let's talk to each other. And if you're dealing with depression, anxiety or any other form of psychological or spiritual distress, seek professional help.
Editor's note: The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline provides free and confidential support all day, every day for people in distress. It also offers prevention and crisis resources for callers or their loved ones. Just dial 9-8-8 on any telephone.
Elliot Begoun is a 30-year industry veteran, author, podcast host, founder of TIG Brands and champion of Tardigrades. Learn more about TIG Brands' programs here.
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