An entrepreneur’s life always looks attractive and glamorous to other people. It indeed looks magical with the powers associated with being an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur can have their own rules, work schedule, and company, for that matter!
For those who are looking at it from the outside, entrepreneurs are perceived to be more successful and happier than common people. They are considered the role models and idols of the masses. Though everybody does not become an entrepreneur, everybody invariably nurtures the dream of becoming one at some point or other in their lives.
From books to courses to academies, almost all social avenues drive this intention and sell people the dreams of becoming a business owner. But, it is a fact that there is a dark side to being an entrepreneur, and not all realize that they are not the entrepreneurs themselves.
Entrepreneurship, though incredibly alluring, comes with a lifestyle setup prone to various mental health issues.
It is a known fact, yet a hidden secret that is rarely discussed openly is that luxury entrepreneurship comes with a psychological price. The challenges of building and running businesses invite risk to the overall psychological well-being of the entrepreneurs.
Here are some of the aspects that endanger an entrepreneur’s mental well-being:
Entrepreneurs generally lack the company of like-minded people, leading to isolation, which invites the risk of depression. Business ownership requires long working hours, and people who own businesses have less time at their disposal to take good care of their physical and mental health. As “time is money” is the mantra of the majority of the entrepreneurs, they spend less time on activities like sleep, exercise, relaxation, leisure, pleasure, etc., that are known to work against depression.
Depression is not just sadness alone, as it is commonly perceived to be. It has many forms and exhibits itself in many symptoms such as sleep problems, weight changes, and irritability. Entrepreneurs usually try to escape from depressive symptoms by working longer hours. At times, depressive symptoms are misunderstood as stress which leads to worsening of depressive symptoms further.
In severe cases, entrepreneurs become prone to an increased risk of suicidal thoughts. It is hard to believe, but it is a fact that any amount of fame and fortune cannot guarantee the mental well-being of an entrepreneur. Success does not save a business owner from deteriorating mental health.
Entrepreneurs are under stress – almost every second of their business ownership. They also face a lot of high-pressure situations to deal with. The thought about the mortgage to be paid for that month may depend on if the next deal gets closed successfully or not. This may add an enormous amount of emotional pressure to business persons.
As entrepreneurs have to keep working all the time, the very thought that one is not spending enough time with the family may also lead to a high level of anxiety.
Constant worry about the business affects entrepreneurs’ ability to function normally. The strong desire for success makes entrepreneurs weigh their decisions and actions, leading to the inability to act casually and normally. Such constant anxiety may cripple business owners, immobilizing them resulting in burnout eventually.
Entrepreneurs are motivated, driven, and passionate individuals and their passion often becomes an obsession. A compulsive drive to achieve and perform, risking personal relationships and physical health, can eventually lead to an addiction.
Research reveals that entrepreneurs exhibit symptoms of behavioural addictions, such as withdrawal, obsessive thoughts, and negative emotional outbursts. Like gambling or video games, entrepreneurs are prone to negative consequences as a result of their addiction to work.
Studies substantiate that one type of addiction often leads to substance abuse or behavioural addictions in other areas holds good for entrepreneurs.
Realistic Attitude Towards Entrepreneurship
It is time to reconsider the popular notion that business owners are the key to riches and ultimate happiness. Though entrepreneurship offers material benefits, at least for some, it may not be worth the psychological toll that it takes.
A proactive approach to preventing emotional inadequacies and seeking professional help when required will help a great deal in handling the dark side of being an entrepreneur.