Has entrepreneurial burnout become the norm? Entrepreneurship doesn't exactly lend itself to a sense of natural peace and balance—something that must be consciously cultivated. But even then, how many of you are actually implementing serious self-care into your day-to-day?
Taking care of yourself as an entrepreneur can have a significant impact on your bottom line and the overall health of your business (not to mention your physical and mental well-being). Jake Mitchell knows what it's like to experience burnout. He worked for two years at a startup as a sales leader while also building a business of his own on the side—and eventually he hit a breaking point of anxiety and pressure.
However, Mitchell came out the other side intact and is now the co-founder and COO of Serenity Labs, a global wellness community for entrepreneurs that addresses their well-being in impactful ways.
We caught up with Mitchell to break down exactly how you can start to avoid—or reverse—burnout.
Why is this work important?
Jake Mitchell: Many entrepreneurs believe that the answer to running a successful business is to hustle harder than anyone else and end up burning out. According to the World Economic Forum, entrepreneurs are two times more likely to suffer from depression, three times more likely to suffer from substance abuse and 50% of business leaders suffer from one mental health condition in their lifetime. There’s a better way of doing business. With more businesses addressing critical issues like climate change, chronic disease and sustainable development goals, it’s important for business leaders to lead sustainable lives and scale their impact without burning out. That’s why we launched Serenity Labs.
How can entrepreneurs avoid burnout?
JM: Consider these three pillars to avoid burnout: lifestyle, mindset and skillset.
1. To build a sustainable business, it’s vital to live a sustainable lifestyle—to reflect on the habits and routines in your life and how those play out over time. Remember that the way that you live your life directly influences the way that you build your business. Cultivating sleep hygiene, regular movement, exercise patterns, spending time with friends and family are vital investments in your energetic state which are often overlooked in the business community. Building a lifestyle and business culture that values health and vitality is simply an advantage in the marketplace.
2. How do your beliefs impact your results? What about your self-dialogue—is it empowering? Since our attitudes drive our actions and our actions create our reality, it’s vital to be aware of our mindsets. The good news is that we can evolve the way in which we think about ourselves and our place in the world—especially when we take time to reflect and meditate and surround ourselves with like-minded community who value showing up as the best versions of ourselves.
If you want a simple and effective mindset hack that you can practice right now, just start reminding yourself what you’re grateful for. Write it down now, before you go to bed, when you wake up in the morning—simply look for opportunities to be grateful for. There are a myriad of benefits of gratitude such as buffering against stress and negativity, higher social intelligence, better long-term decision making, increased positive influence on others and much more.
3. When talking about skills, most of us probably think of sales, copywriting, graphic design, etc. Those skills are wonderful and serve our bank accounts, but how about skills that serve our well-being and our bank accounts? Skills in awareness (i.e., mindfulness, meditation) and communication (i.e., compassionate, empathetic listening) are critical to serving ourselves and others. Using these tools help us identify our own needs and the needs of others so we can act from a place of empowered intention. These skills support our health, relationships (personal and business) and therefore the success of our businesses.
In short, entrepreneurs need to connect the dots between their lifestyle, mindset and skillset and leverage these three pillars to build sustainable organizations that make a positive impact.