"Being an entrepreneur is pointless if you aren't happy"
As a company founder I know what it's like to be under pressure. I wanted to share a few thoughts about the balance between being a leader and taking care of yourself.
It’s important to realise that mental health problems can affect everyone – including yourself, no matter how strong willed you see yourself.
There are no two ways about it – running your own business is tough. Not only is getting established and setting yourself apart from the competition exceedingly difficult in itself, you then have to think about what you intend to do to ensure the long-term prosperity of your enterprise, and what will keep customers consistently coming back for more.
With so much to consider and worry about when heading up a business – regardless of whether it is newly-formed or well-established – it can be all too easy to allow stress to become a facet of your daily routine. While you may have come to accept this as part and parcel of being a business owner, the fact of the matter is that it doesn’t need to be this way.
It’s high time that hard-working business leaders and budding entrepreneurs stop accepting a high-stress lifestyle as par for the course, and learn that achieving success shouldn’t come at the cost of their own mental wellbeing.
Don’t ditch your normal routine
When you know you’ve got a busy day in the office ahead of you, it can be tempting to skip on your normal rituals, such as working out, catching up on the news, or simply having breakfast, in a frantic attempt to try and get a head start on things.
And despite your best efforts to make effective use of your time, you may regularly find yourself still sitting at your desk, eyes glued to the screen, well after 5pm, due to a sheer determination to cross those all-important items off your to-do list before you call it a day.
It should come as a shock to nobody that burning the candle at both ends over a prolonged period of time is unlikely to be a good thing for either you or your business, and could lead to a diagnosis of burnout that forces you to take a step away from work altogether.
That is precisely why it is so important not to let go of your normal hobbies and routines for the sake of your business. Clear boundaries must be set between your time spent in the office and outside of it. This ensures that you’re not focussing too intently on work, and are getting the time you need to recharge your batteries so that, when the time comes to boot up your laptop once again, you feel ready to tackle whatever challenges the day has in store for you.
Don’t be a control freak – learn to let go of things
If your business is going to thrive and grow, taking sole responsibility for everything that needs to be done is unlikely to be a viable, long-term option. As the business expands, the level of work coming in will expand as well, and without help, your to-do list will simply spiral out of control before your eyes.
This is why you will need to hire a team of talented individuals who can bring about and support the development of the organisation. Having the right people in your corner means that, as the business grows, the level of work that you must carry out yourself does not become an insurmountable challenge, and tasks can be delegated to relevant team members as required.
Of course, letting go of parts of your organisation and placing your trust in other people can be difficult, especially when the business is your baby and you’ve already come such a long way on your own. Being overly possessive, however, will not do the business nor your own mental health any favours.
So, if you are to continue further along your growth trajectory while maintaining a healthy working lifestyle, you need to learn to let go of things and realise that you can’t do it all yourself, no matter how talented and organised you are.
Make time to treat yourself
When your business achieves a big win, be it landing an important new client, or being awarded vital funds, it can be very easy to get so swept up in work that you forget to stop and actually enjoy the moment.
It is likely that you’ll have worked really hard to accomplish these victories, and as such they should be seen as prime opportunities for you to celebrate by taking setting some time aside for you to treat yourself.
This could be anything from going on a luxurious spa day or for a fancy meal, to indulging in a simple pleasure like ordering in your favourite takeaway or settling down for a Netflix binge.
While you may be tempted to strike while the iron is hot by doubling down on work in an effort to achieve additional wins, it is important to bask in your own glory from time to time by treating yourself to some of the finer things in life. That way, working towards your business goals is even more purposeful, and it feels especially sweet when you finally achieve them.
Being a success is pointless if you aren’t happy
The fact of the matter – which many eager entrepreneurs often lose sight of – is that no business is worth sacrificing your own mental wellbeing for. As most people set out to build a company that will make them lots of money and allow them to a live a happy and comfortable life, working yourself into the ground because you’re too focused on accomplishing your business goals almost certainly defeats the purpose that you set out to achieve in the first place.
Being a success is largely meaningless if you’re not happy at the end of the day, so you should never underestimate or neglect what value looking after yourself can bring – not only for your own mental wellbeing, but for your business as well.