- Whether you can “push through” or not, Depression will still diminish your problem solving, decision making, and health.
- Don’t push past and ignore signs of Depression
- Some people naturally have characteristics that make them more suited to be Entrepreneurs than others.
- Take the Quiz to learn more about your strengths and weaknesses.
- Acknowledge your weaknesses, and do what it takes to get stronger and more capable.
Dave is, by all means, a very successful entrepreneur. His cleaning company has grown flush in the past five years. Heck, there’s even talk of expanding operations beyond his eight employees!
But all is not rosy. Although admired by his fellow entrepreneurs, Dave’s got a secret that is getting harder to bear. Every night he going home feeling extremely exhausted, he not getting good sleep, and it’s been weeks since he’s had any interest in doing his usual things like playing his drums, or working out. The endless networking and management headaches leave him physically and emotionally drained. On the best days he is battling frequent mood swings. It’s getting harder to maintain, and during the day concentrating on his tasks is difficult.
Dave may be keeping it together, his frequent mood swings, loss of interest in pleasurable activities, and difficulty sleeping are all classic signs of entrepreneurial depression.
While that doesn’t seem as bad or severe as major depression, its effects should not be discounted. Because, though it is possible to push through and ignore the symptoms, you shouldn’t. Mild depression still affects your ability to correctly manage, solve problems, and engage in deep sustained thinking. The truth is, like any other type of depression, entrepreneurial depression, limits the ability to function effectively on a daily basis.
While most believe entrepreneurial depression is caused by an increasingly complex and competitive world, startup stress is not the only reason why entrepreneurs can experience depression.
The truth is, some founders may become depressed because simply because they’re pushing themselves to be entrepreneurs. If they really took stock, they would see they may not have the personality for it in the first place.
That’s right, surprisingly, research shows that successful entrepreneurs have a distinct type of personality. They tend to be more open to experience, more imaginative, creative, and curious. In addition, they are more conscientious more likely to seek higher levels of achievement, work motivation, and planning.
However, while not everyone has the personality to be an entrepreneur, more and more people are choosing to start their own companies. In fact, roughly 66% of adults today are interested in becoming entrepreneurs. Obviously everyone won’t have the entrepreneurial personality traits needed to become successful and happy in their jobs. Therefore, in order to limit the chances of developing entrepreneurial depression, it is essential to not only learn how to manage the typical stresses they will encounter. But, they must also manage and deal with the constraints of their own personality.
Here are some tips to help keep entrepreneurial depression at bay.
1. Understand your personality and identify your weak spots.
Before you can manage your personality, you have to know what it is. The IPIP-NEO test is one of the leading online personality tests in the industry. With over half a million responses, it is considered a valid, reliable assessment tool. Take note, which are your highest and lowest scores? Think about which activities may be especially difficult for you.
For example, did you score very low in extraversion? You can expect that highly social work, such as networking or fundraising, may be stressful. It also helps to talk to entrepreneurs in your industry about what the biggest stressors are. For instance, in software service companies targeting the enterprise business, the biggest stressor could be the uncertainty of very long sales cycles.
2. Create a “restorative niche” to reduce stress.
Entrepreneurs can’t always avoid the work they don’t like. Despite their best efforts, some will find themselves required to do work that severely clashes with their personality. Psychologists recommend creating a “restorative niche,” a distinct place and time where someone can destress and revert back to their true selves.
For example, introverted entrepreneurs can unwind by scheduling small blocks of daily “quiet time,” during which they can indulge in complete silence and isolation. Whether to keep entrepreneurial depression at bay, or otherwise, adding quiet time into your day has powerful benefits.
In addition, to taking quiet time, ensuring you are in a service niche can help entrepreneurs reenergize and restore psychological balance before it becomes too difficult to manage.
3. Know the telltale signs of depression.
There are many symptoms of depression. Apart from feelings of sadness, depression can take the form of a significant loss of pleasure or interest in the things you used to enjoy doing. Other signs include a sudden increase (or decrease) in sleep, weight, appetite, or energy, as well as increased feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or self-blame.
Entrepreneurs should become familiar with these symptoms so they can recognize when they’re experiencing these symptoms and seek out the professional help they need. They can also enlist the help of a trusted friend or family member to help them recognize and act on these symptoms, especially since entrepreneurs overwhelmed by work can sometimes decide to ignore the early warning signs.
The good news is that even though you may not have all of the best qualities and personality to be an entrepreneur that doesn’t mean you can’t be one.
Just like the best hammer, knowledge is power only if it’s used, so make a plan to do what it takes work on whatever weaknesses you have.
One such tool is the astonishingly useful (and timely) book,
Building Your Creativity: Tools For Having Ideas And Bringing Them to Be Trust me, we include it in our resource page for a reason.
Regardless, remember to be aware of the mental health risks, manage your personality and surroundings as well as ensure you know the depression signs, and take them seriously if present.
By following the tips above, you can move one step closer to becoming a happier, more satisfied entrepreneur.