Entrepreneurs brace yourselves, this week’s blog is a dark one…It might shock you to know that the stress and the extreme highs and lows of entrepreneurship cause so much anxiety that it actually leads to suicides.
In fact according to CAMH 49% of all Canadians have thought of suicide and have never admitted it to anyone and employees who considered most of their days to be quite a bit or extremely stressful were over 3 times more likely to suffer a major depressive episode! So imagine how employers feel because in the latest Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, 34 percent of entrepreneurs–4 percentage points more than other workers–reported they were worried. And 45 percent of entrepreneurs said they were stressed, 3 percentage points more than other workers.
Entrepreneurs Losing the Game of Life
All these facts are also seen in actual stories of entrepreneurs who have confessed to contemplating suicide like one CEO who had cashed in his retirement savings and maxed out a $60,000 line of credit. In dire straights, this guy had sold the Rolex he bought with his first-ever pay check and had prostrated himself before his father by asking him for money and being told “I told you so” before getting a last minute funding to save his whole company from ruin. Then there are those who actually lose the game of life and commit suicide like founder Jody Sherman of the e-commerce site Ecomom, as well as Ilya Zhitomirskiy, the 22-year-old co-founder of Diaspora, a social networking site who did the same who both succumbed to the depression and pressures of running their businesses.
It’s Everywhere, Every Day
I also see it in my clients and in myself. Great plans can be slow to come to fruition or go awry altogether. Their high excitement and expectations at the start of a change swiftly spirals down into fear, sadness and possibly depression.
In fact, a reader of my own blogs (thank you J. Brett Abbey, The Message Master) just sent me an email saying that he just read a stat that claimed 90% of entrepreneurs are not making as much money as they would make you believe. Well is it any wonder that with the pressure of our peers, our clients and the day-to-day survival of the business that it can lead all the way to suicide?
An Ounce Of Prevention
So here are my own personal suicide prevention tips:
- While I set aside money for growth, I no longer over-reach to the point that it will leave me sleepless while investing in my business.
- I have a non-judgemental support system both personally and professionally who I can vent to and cry on when things get rough.
- I exercise, meditate and visualize on a regular basis and I make it a priority in my life
- I tell myself things can always be worse, I could be working for a boss I hate, making way less money than I’m making with people who are pouring out negative energy every time I talk to them…(this one REALLY helps)
- I have a plan for my growth, it’s not ad hock and it’s not haphazard. It’s calculated and I implement it.
So if you’re feeling the crazy stress and depression of this calling of being an entrepreneur, try a few of my tips if you aren’t already doing so and live to serve another day.
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