Depression, with reference to mood, is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person’s thoughts, behavior, feelings, and sense of well-being. It usually occurs due to external stimuli and internal conflicts that may affect an individual negatively.
When I did a blog post about my personal depression experience last year, I had no idea that so many entrepreneurs were/are in a similar boat. Below is an excerpt from a piece I read by John-Paul Iwuoha, an amazing African Entrepreneur and Writer who runs smallstarter.com.
“Did you know that almost 50 percent of entrepreneurs struggle with depression and anxiety?
I have always known entrepreneurs suffer from emotional rollercoasters.But I never knew the problem was this serious or severe.
In fact, studies have found that nearly three-quarters of entrepreneurs and business owners have concerns about their mental health.
And several top CEOs are now opening up about how they’re battling with problems like bipolar disorder, substance abuse, and OCD.
But do you know what is really surprising?
Most entrepreneurs prefer not to talk about this problem because we want to be seen as “normal”.
Our society tends to glorify the success and achievements of entrepreneurs.
That’s why most entrepreneurs are not comfortable talking about their struggles.
We don’t want to be seen as failures in the eyes of others.
But the fact is, starting and running a business comes with a lot of pressure that most people around us just don’t understand.
We shoulder personal risk, work longer hours, and encounter higher stress than most other people do.”
Reading John-Paul’s words rang so true. Ever since I decided to walk an entrepreneurship path, it’s been a roller coaster. There have been wins along the way but the challenges are waaaaaaaaay way more than anticipated, and more than once I have wanted to quit. I’m not alone though, I’ve discovered. Many are facing similar struggles. Until you’ve been in these shoes, it’s close to impossible to imagine how we feel.
The more important matter at hand though is HOW CAN WE SUPPORT OUR LOCAL ENTREPRENEURS?
I’ll offer a few suggestions:-
- Understand that they are on a hard path and be supportive morally with your words. When they do well, appreciate them. When they do a bad job, let them know, but in a way that builds them rather than tears them down. Offer useful and helpful suggestions for improvement. They are on a path of growth and will get better and better.
- Please, please, please don’t ask for unreasonable discounts. By the time an entrepreneur sets a price for a product or service they are rendering, they’ve calculated a number of costs and included them in the overall price. By asking for an unreasonable discount, you are eating away their profit and leaving them in a disadvantageous position.
- Do NOT delay with your payments. Please. When you do, communicate. Don’t just keep quiet. We don’t run charities, we run businesses, or at least that’s what we are attempting do.
- For your family and friends that are entrepreneurs and may be struggling, don’t tear them down even further. Find out how you can help.
- Be a bit more understanding when your entrepreneur friends aren’t being the most social creatures. I will tell you first hand that THINGS CAN GET SO HARD from all angles. Offer to meet them where they are, if you can and when you can.
FINALLY, to my fellow entrepreneurs, one of the most important things I was told during the depression period I went through is, “to get joy, rejoice”. Employ an attitude of gratitude and praise God even during the tough times. When you go against depression with positive words, you are going against the grain of your feelings and instead standing on faith and a positive mindset towards different challenges that may be staring you down. Over time, this sparks a renewal. Your moods will catch up and before you know it, you are overflowing with positivity.
In addition, allow me to reiterate what an article on inc.com said;
“TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. YOU ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT BUSINESS ASSET YOU HAVE.”
This says it all. At the end of the day, you need to be well. Take breaks for you. Breath. Laugh. Love. Relax a little. Sleep well. Eat well. (I’m speaking to myself too)
At the end of the day, YOU are the most important NEED you have and you NEED YOU TO BE HEALTHY PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY.
***Persevere, learn, grow and enjoy the process. We’ll make it.
With love and concern, Keziah.
(Post edited for this blog by writer herself, most of it first featured on muwado.com.)
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