I've thought long and hard about writing this article on depression. My biggest fear about posting my thoughts on depression is that nobody will read or comment on this. It's something many entrepreneurs deal with… feeling alone in their journey.
Today is World Health Day and the theme for 2017 is depression. The aim is to get the world talking about this almost invisible mental illness that more than 300 million people live with.
It is today's theme that pushed me to write this and hit publish.
I've never said this publicly before but… I suffer from entrepreneurial depression. It's the worst thing for my business whenever it strikes (which is seemingly unpredictable and random in nature).
Emotions That All Entrepreneurs Feel Occasionally
- Lack of belief in what you're doing.
- Wanting to do nothing but procrastinate and search for distractions.
- Getting fed up with social media.
- Wondering what it's all for.
Everyone probably has a reactive emotion that is dominant. Whether that is sadness, maybe that is depression, maybe it is anger.
Tim Ferriss on Depression
Tim Ferriss recently gave a speech at the Commonwealth Club where he said that eveyone probably has a reactive emotion that is dominant. Whether that is sadness, maybe that is depression, maybe it is anger. Tim also dedicated a couple of pages in his new book Tools of Titans to his own battle with depression.
Having a Supportive Partner Helps
I'm fortune to have a fantastic business (and life) partner, Izabela. Sometimes she gets a little angry but when my mental storm hits she it the yin to my yang and is there to keep our ship afloat. It's not easy for her – it places great strain on our daily lives – but she is my solid rock when I fall.
Izabela pushed me to re-launch New Media Europe for 2017. Without Izabela this brilliant community of inspirational people would have faded into just another shooting star that fell without a trace.
Depression is an absolute killer of the entrepreneurial spirit and if you have to fight this alone I can't imagine how hard it must be.
Confessions of an Entrepreneur Dealing with Depression
Some days I spend the whole day on useless “projects” like digging up the garden, adding a home automation widget to our house or watching Gary Vee videos back to back. I simply cannot contemplate the thought of growing what I should be – my business.
I can go for weeks, sometimes months when I cannot seem to focus on anything business related. It's not an entire withdrawal and I am fortunate not to suffer from not being able to get out of bed in the morning. My mind always needs to be busy learning a new skill or trying a new idea but I know it has a direct impact on business growth.
Gary Vaynerchuk on Depression
Social Media and News Media Fasting
Social media will usually show just the positive parts of everyone's lives.
When I look at social media and realise how edited the posts are I slowly withdraw from it from time to time. I go on social media “fasts” where I do not post or read at all – sometimes for months. Occasionally, I get to the point where I find it tough to reply to even the smallest email. One thing I already make a point of is to never to read a newspaper or watch the television news. Why?
News media generally focuses on the negative issues in our world.
I often need a reality check – just me, my wife and wonderful children.
How to Fight Entreprenerial Depression
Since the start of this year I have dedicated 30 minutes of my time – every single day – to running. This one thing alone has had a dramatic impact on my mental well being.
We all like a drink from time to time especially when there are launches to celebrate and conferences to attend. Drinking on occasion and not as habit is another way to make sure your mind stays sharp.
When I start to feel the impact of another entrepreneurial mental storm the first thing I do is head for the chocolate cupboard. There is no doubt about it that a good diet will provide better mental wellbeing. Cutting cheese, chocolate and junk food has worked well for me.
Spending time with the ones you love can give you a tremendous feeling of well being. We may not admit it but sometimes business ideas take over and we forget that our family are there living, growing and wanting out love.
Having a crowd of like minded entrepreneurs that you feel have “got your back” is another way to keep in the right frame of mind. Consider joining or creating a mastermind group meeting at least weekly so that you have some peers to talk to and stay accountable to.
Depression: We're In This Together
This video that my friend Bernie J Mitchell made me aware of sums up exactly what is needed when a depression cloud heads in.
How About You?
Do you deal with depression as an entrepreneur? How does it effect you? Let me know about your own day to day and how you combat this mental illness yourself.