For most, trying to control your emotions is near enough Mission Impossible. Once those chemicals start to kick in, you become a different person. Sometimes mental health in business is completely out of your control. What’s more, for most of us, understanding how to control those emotions can trigger a whole new set of emotions on top of that.
Now, I like to think that I’ve been emotionally aware for the majority of my life. I know what pushes my buttons, and I try to avoid the events that create negative emotions. Instead, I gravitate more towards the events that create the more positive outcomes.
However, nobody can avoid the negative stuff. Nobody. Not even the biggest motivational gurus on the planet with trillions of followers – even they will go through bad moments of mental health in business.
Nothing prepares you for the emotional rollercoaster of running a business
When I first started out in business, I was totally unaware of the friction that running a business would have on my emotions.
Now, you can learn about running a business. You can learn about accounts, sales, marketing, HR, management and so on. However, you can’t learn about mental health in business, or even prepare for it. You’re not even aware of it when you run into business. You get that entrepreneurial spirit, your eyes light up with the idea of running your own company, and you’re off. We’re at the races, we’re out the gate and we’re on our way – without even thinking about it.
I ran into business full steam ahead and had to deal with the emotional and mental health side of it on the fly – and it hasn’t been easy. At all. One of the biggest lessons from my time in business has been dealing with emotions.
Going it alone
Owning and running a business is an incredibly lonely place. That was the first thing about mental health in business that I came to understand very early on.
Everybody thinks you’re crazy for trying to run a business. Nobody fully understands what it takes or what you want to achieve at the end. Worst of all, you don’t have anyone to talk to – especially people who would understand. Therefore, you have to go it alone.
This is an emotional trigger all by itself – for most of us, the minute you step into business, you’re on your own. And that’s the way it feels for quite some time.
Something else about mental health in business that you are completely oblivious of early on is the effect emotions outside of business can have. They will affect what you are doing and the decisions you are making. For example, I’m talking about relationships, health, family, friends, personal finances, what’s going on in the news, in the world, locally, nationally…
On the flipside of that, there’s all the great stuff that can happen to us personally that can influence our decision-making process in business. We’re having a good day and therefore, we’re more likely to make more positive and optimistic decisions. We’re having a crappy day, and the complete opposite can happen.
Taking our moods out on others
We might even take our moods out on somebody else – and some people are better at controlling their emotions than others. That’s why outside emotions influence what’s going on within the business, and that’s why you need to work on controlling your emotions – your reactions to your own moods.
Mental health in business is one hell of a rollercoaster, and it’s not anyone else’s fault, so why take it out on them? But you will – and sometimes you won’t even know you are. Sometimes you’ll lose complete sight of who you are becoming, and you’re just blinkered in what you’re trying to achieve.
As a result, you’ll blame other people for things. Your bad mood will be heightened, and you won’t even realise you’re making life difficult for your colleagues. In addition, it can also work another way. You’ve had a bad day at the office, you come home and your partner, family or friends get it in the neck too. This is because you’re unable to control those emotions and you just want to offload.
Mental health impact
Now, I’m going to get deep here for a moment, and this must be taken seriously. The statistics for business people taking their own lives, especially men, are incredibly high.
That’s how tough mental health in business can get. Plus, it’s not just the odd emotional event that we have to deal with. It’s the culmination of many, many emotions coming from different angles at different frequencies. Some people just don’t know how to handle that and react in many different ways.
I don’t think this is shared enough with people when they’re thinking about going into business: you have to be headstrong.
Once you’re in it, you’re in it for good
The problem with business is once you start hiring staff, dealing with clients and everything else, it’s really difficult to get out. Even if you’ve got a very successful business, this can still lead to emotional issues depending on what type of character you are. It’s different for everybody, but I think I’m safe in saying that 99.9% of us have to deal with emotions of varying frequencies.
The reason I’m saying this is that I’ve been there a couple of times. I’m lucky that I’ve always been quite headstrong – I’ve been self-employed since I left school and I can deal with that world. However, there have been many times mentally where I’ve wanted to give up. Not on life – I’ve not reached those dark places. But, certainly, I wanted to throw in the towel on my business. However, I had to be headstrong and fortunately, I kept fighting through – but that’s not for everybody.
You can’t get off the rollercoaster
Mental health in business is like getting on a rollercoaster – your stomach can either take the ride or it can’t. You sometimes want to get off halfway through, but you can’t – you’re on that ride and you’ve got to stay on it until the end.
Thank you for reading this chapter of the Diary of an Entrepreneur. I must stress, I’m not trying to teach you anything. I’m just sharing my journey, and if it motivates you, then great – job done!
If you want to hear more about my entrepreneurial journey, check out the Diary of an Entrepreneur podcast on all available platforms – I talk all things business in terms of my OWN journey and experience. It’s not one to miss!