The challenges of starting a business are the same for everyone, whether they live with mental illness or not. However, a greater level of commitment and discipline is required when facing mental health challenges.
Benefits of self-employment include: getting to follow your passion, working a flexible schedule, and being your own boss.
Routine can be exceptionally challenging if you are living with a mental illness. For example, depression can significantly affect your workflow—some days, it may feel difficult, if not impossible, to get anything done. A deeper level of commitment and discipline will be required to complete your tasks and maintain your routine.
Working from home can also be lonely. If you’re dealing with the challenges of social anxiety, depression or another mental health issue, it can be incredibly difficult. Working from home can act like excuses that will require a higher level of commitment and discipline to overcome.
What do I mean by this? Well, since you barely have to leave the house, you are at risk of reinforcing self-imposed social isolation. It is essential to be aware that home offices can provide the perfect excuse to stay behind the walls of your own home.
Exercise is another activity to help break up your day. Not only does it provide several essential health benefits, but there is also a vital social component. Why not try that new cardio class or yoga? I promise you’ll return to your home office feeling more focused and productive.
Another way to curb social isolation is by scheduling time for face-to-face interaction each day. We are social beings, so we need contact and feedback from others. At the end of the day, you have to find an approach that works for you. The Covid-19 virus can create an even more significant challenge.
There is another essential point to mention. As a successful solopreneur, you have to love the challenge. Passion will help you get through all of the tough stuff that comes with self-employment. It also makes getting up in the morning much easier. No one will tell you to get up and go to work every day; it’s your responsibility and choice. But if you are passionate about your business, it will just be another day doing what you love!
However, as powerful as passion can be in driving your business, it’s essential to realize that passion is no guarantee of success. When you pair passion with hard work, success is more likely to be achieved.
For people living with mental illness, the additional commitment and discipline will play a significant role in the success of your business. If you think you’ve got what it takes, and you’ve done your homework, then solopreneurship could be an excellent career move.
Being assertive is a skill that comes naturally to some but not to all. It’s a trait and skill that can get you far in life when balanced evenly. However, if not kept in check, assertiveness can come across as abrasive, rude, or even mean or aggressive.
In this article, we’re going to explore the topic of assertiveness; we’ll cover what it means to be assertive, how to become more assertive, and how to keep that assertiveness in check.
What does it mean to be assertive?
Being assertive means being direct about what you need, want, feel, or believe, in a way that’s respectful of the views of others. It allows you to identify and be clear about what you want.
What can you do to be more assertive?
Please pay close attention to what people say to you, try to see their perspective and don’t interrupt. In the actual practice of assertiveness, you want to stay calm, avoid guilt-tripping, and use “I” statements. “I” statements (I think, I feel, I know) are much more assertive and more constructive than “you” statements (you never, you always), which tend to be more harmful.
How can you keep your assertiveness in check?
There’s a fine line between positive assertiveness and abrasive rudeness. An excellent way to keep yourself in check is to take time throughout your day to reflect on yourself, your behaviour, and your choices. Working on your assertiveness skills allows you to go further and be happier in your life.
Mental illness influences everything from your thoughts to your behaviours and relationships. It may also distort your beliefs about yourself and worsen your self-esteem. It may feel like your days are filled with a series of obstacles. Navigating life with a mental illness is complicated enough, but there is also an overwhelming sense of shame.
People feel shame about not being perceived as “normal,” but what the heck is “normal” anyway. They feel like “broken,” “damaged,” or that “they will always be this way,” They judge and compare their lives with others that they view as successful.
What makes shame so destructive is the isolation it produces and the stories it spins. Shame relentlessly repeats a very compelling story about not being acceptable as-is, that to belong and to be lovable, and who they genuinely are. Shame stops people from honestly and compassionately recognizing their uncomfortable position. It makes it trickier to respond effectively to your mood patterns and recognize that you do have choices.
Shame can also serve as a structure of protection, a gatekeeper if you want that keeps them from dealing with painful feelings. When they stay locked in shame, they can avoid facing their sense of self or identity.”
Someone with an anxiety disorder may have shame-based thoughts such as “What’s wrong with me?” which keeps them stuck in their “wrongness” and stops them from exploring what’s driving their anxiety. Uncovering these underlying ‘drivers’ needs to take place at its own pace when they feel safe, strong enough, and they are mentally ready.
Shame magnifies the feeling of ‘bad’ with being ‘bad.’ It says, “You feel bad; therefore, you are bad.” This belief forms when, as a child, they aren’t able to understand the difference.
Culture reinforces this by perpetuating the idea that mental illness is a sign of weakness or a character flaw. Someone living with a mental illness may feel like an outsider, have low self-esteem or feel ashamed. You can reduce shame when you have a better understanding of it and become more accepting. Cultivating self-compassion is to build a healthy, unconditional sense of self-esteem, which includes education about your mental health. By doing this, it can help you escape isolation, connect with others and realize that you are not alone in your journey to self-compassion.
Bringing awareness to the stories you’re telling yourself about mental illness is also a critical part of overcoming shame. When a person says, “I’m such a control freak, and so critical of myself when they don’t do things the ‘right’ way. There’s something wrong with me.” Instead of judging themselves, they can rewrite their story, become curious about their experiences and consider other perspectives. Exploring different possibilities, such as: “I wonder why I need to control things. Why it’s so important that things are done the ‘right’ way.” Doing this helps them be more flexible in the story of who they are, rather than being “stuck” in the negative narrative that says “ they’re defective.”
While we all have dreams and aspirations, but few of us are fully aware of our potential. It can be hard to see the good and admirable traits in ourselves. Here are a few ways you can determine if you believe in your potential.
Spend Time in Self-Reflection
The first way to determine if you believe in your potential is to spend time in self-reflection. Ask yourself what you are capable of; what are your strengths and admirable qualities. This time spent determining your potential is valuable to who you are and achieving your full potential.
Write Down What You See As Your Full Potential
Now that you’ve had time to reflect on what your potential is, it will help you affirm what your potential is and your belief in it. Listing these will help you keep your potential at the forefront of your mind and believing in yourself.
Prove Your Potential to Yourself
For some to believe in something, they need to see it. A great way to see your potential is to challenge yourself by pushing the limits.
Surround Yourself with People that Believe in Your Potential
We all like to think we don’t let others affect us, but the reality is that the people around us, especially those close to you, affect us and our emotions. Surround yourself with people that believe in your potential and encourage you to achieve all you can. Their positive influence encourages you to see and believe in your potential.
We all have a river of potential inside us, but few people truly recognize and believe in that potential. Believing is an essential part of your building your confidence and creating success. If you thank that you are capable of accomplishing something, you’re far more likely to achieve it.
Believing in your potential may not come as easily for you as it does for others. It’s often something we have to work on and prove to ourselves before we believe it. I hope that I’ve helped you to see and believe in your potential.
You’ve longed to discover your purpose in life. You do the work to discover what makes you feel fortunate and satisfied with your life. But what is preventing you from fulfilling that purpose? What keeps you feeling stuck or trapped? Feeling frustrated, even depressed, at your lack of progress certainly doesn’t help.
What can you do to get out of that rut? You can decide to take control and identify what is preventing you from pushing forward. The chances are, you’re in the grip of one or more of these common things that prevent people from discovering and living your life mission.
Even the best of us can fall prey to self-doubt at some point. It’s a way to keep yourself safe in a -confusing world. It is the fear of failure that can hold us back from recognizing your true potential. We live in a world that values notable success and wealth; striking out for something you believe in can be risky.
But if you stay stuck in a fearful mindset, it’s guaranteed you will never achieve anything. Staying small prevents you from acting; it prevents you from growing and being your best self.
- Other people’s opinion
Self-doubt feeds off caring what other people think. There will always be an abundance of naysayers trying to stop you from living your dreams. And it’s a cast-iron guarantee that whatever your life purpose is, there will be people who doubt your vision and your ability to attain it.
However, there will also be people who support and believe in you. You should be your biggest cheerleader! You don’t need consent to fulfill your purpose in life. The will to pursue your passion is the only thing you need.
- Lacking intention
There isn’t much talk about this part of living your purpose. But it is an integral part of staying true to your purpose.
Step up and be intentional about your purpose in life. Approach it by staying organized and giving it the awareness it deserves.
That means being accountable, writing it down, and having a plan. Start by taking the attention off yourself and think about the impact you want to have on the world.
If you live with the challenges of anxiety or panic attacks, there are ways you can transform it into opportunity. Strategies are like turning lemons into lemonade. What you start with is sour, but what you end up with is sweet!
These tips can assist you in dealing with anxiety positively. They can even support you by providing new outlets and thus reduce the excess energy.
Here are a few techniques to help you transform your anxiety into opportunity:
- Re-focus your excess energy. Take the excessive energy that comes with anxiety and its moods and focus it on something constructive. For example, you have been putting off household chores, such as cleaning closets. Putting your energy into projects will enable you to get it done in record time!
- Write about your challenges with anxiety. Write about everything you’re experiencing. What you have written might surprise you. By sharing it with others can benefit you as well or using it to help in the future when you’re overly anxious.
- We all have said that we’re going to start an exercise program, but have we? Probably not. However, your anxious energy can be the force that propels you to start your new exercise routine. The endorphins your body releases can actually stop an anxiety attack.
- Even if you don’t have the voice of an angel breathing in and out, it is a natural way to heal panic attacks.
- Help others. Focus on helping others; you can take your mind off your worries, give you a different perspective on life, and bring you satisfaction.
- Do something about your worries. For example, if you worry about the environment, you can start a recycling center or hold green meetings in your home to discuss ways you can reduce your carbon footprint.
These are just a few of the ways you can transform your anxiety into opportunity. You can reduce your anxiety by focusing that excess energy on positive habits while also making a difference in yourself and the world.
Emotions should serve us, not the other way around. When your emotions are out of control, it’s hard on your mind, body, and relationships.
They can easily fuel us to do or say something inappropriate. Strong emotions inhibit our ability to make sound decisions. Overactive emotional responses can also be damaging to your health.
On the other hand, having control over your emotions can help you avoid many challenges. (Seriously, don’t you have enough stress already?) You’ll live in greater harmony with others and enjoy more peace and happiness in your life. As with most other things, to become skilled at controlling your emotions requires practice.
Master your emotions by practicing these strategies.
Be aware of your emotions. It is the critical first step. Emotions turn off the logical part of your brain. It takes practice to notice that your emotions are off-kilter.
Exercise. It’s harder to get upset or stressed after a good workout. Regular exercise releases much of the tension in your body and makes it easier to control your emotions throughout the day.
Determine your triggers. When are you most likely to lose control? At work? At home in the evening? With your in-laws? Notice your emotional patterns and do what you can to minimize your responses in those situations.
Sleep. You’ve noticed how a tired toddler is on an emotional knife edge. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re immune to this phenomenon. Get enough sleep to ensure that you’re emotionally sound each day.
Focus on finding a solution. Emotions run higher when you focus on the problem. Direct your attention to a solution instead. You’ll not only calm yourself but also be on track to solving the issue before you.
Question your opinions. You’re not always right. Maybe you don’t actually have a good reason to be upset. Ask yourself if your opinions, views and beliefs are 100% accurate regarding the upsetting circumstances.
Remind yourself of past emotional experiences. Occasionally remind yourself of the pain you’ve caused yourself and others in the past by losing control of your emotions. Awareness is half the battle.
Focus on your breathing. When you’re in the middle of a strong emotional reaction, you’re focused on the thoughts going through your head. It’s easy to magnify your emotional state when your focus is inward. Bring yourself back to reality by directing your attention to your breathing.
If you have control over your emotions, you have more control over your life. Maintaining control of your emotions is a vital skill that is developed with practice.
What comes to mind when someone recommends that you practice mindfulness?
- Maybe you think of meditation.
- Maybe you think of yoga.
- Maybe you think of long stretches of awkward silence.
While mindfulness can include meditation, it can also be a way of seeing the world and how you fit in it. Being mindful is something anyone can do. And yet, many people believe that being mindful is complicated.
Those who suffer from persistent anxiety, a sense of being rushed, but not knowing why just assume that is how life is and that everyone experiences it. Well, not everyone experiences this, and you no longer have to!!
Try these two techniques to reduce anxiety in your life.
Journaling is a practice that many, many people have found to be the core reason why they are successful, why they can achieve goals, and, more importantly – why they can find meaning in their life.
It is one of the most popular and effective mindfulness techniques because you must be fully present and pay attention to your thoughts. And, you’re doing it ON purpose, WITH purpose. You have intentions behind your actions that set in motion a sense of being mindful and present.
Breathe with Purpose
Chances are good you’re saying “breathe with purpose? What the heck are you talking about? If I didn’t breathe, I wouldn’t be alive!”
I know it sounds “off,” doesn’t it? And yet, studies have proven that most of us breathe without thinking – and we breathe shallow breaths. When you breathe deeply, you can feel a difference throughout your body. Your heart rate slows, your shoulders relax, your mind calms a bit. It really does. Try it now – two deep breaths.
These techniques can be used one at a time or together to help your stress levels. The key is to do one or both every day.
Start now. Just today, Just this moment. Then do it again tomorrow. And the next day.
Is your depression worse in the morning? Do you think, ‘why can’t I just get out of bed?”
The thought of getting up and facing a whole new day can be paralyzing. I used to chalk it up to depression and tell myself to get up anyway, fast, like ripping off a bandaid. Except that doesn’t always work, and it isn’t ‘just’ depression.
It’s like waking up every day and realizing I still haven’t fixed the problem. It is easy to get down on myself, but what’s really going on? Depression and anxiety are different for every person, but there is one struggle they all share. No one understands what we are going through!
The challenges of living with depression and anxiety can be daunting, but we all have the power to overcome them.
Anxiety screams, “you have to get up and do things, or you’ll fail in life.”
Depression is the other side telling you, “it doesn’t matter anyway, and you should stay in bed all day.”
Anxiety says, “what if you don’t go and people will get upset, or if you do go, what if something sends you into panic mode?”
Depression says, “don’t go, you don’t have enough energy and don’t feel like socializing anyway.”
With depression, you are lonely, but afraid of people. You are torn between the fear, despair, emptiness and soul-rendering apathy, all at once. The worse part is both sides are telling you no one else cares or needs to know.
Anxiety tells you, “I’m fine, completely functional and capable of finishing all the tasks, while in reality, I’m completely vulnerable and drowning in shame.
Depression is one side of your brain, begging you not to get out of bed. Meanwhile, the other part barks like a military sergeant for not getting out of bed.
Anxiety is like living in a paradox; you feel both too much and nothing. You are completely exhausted, and high strung all at the same time.
One minute, your anxiety skyrockets, and the next, depression smacks you in the face. Anxiety and depression are like a never-ending rollercoaster where you can’t concentrate on anything, and then you are completely exhausted.
The voices in your head never stop screaming at you; it drains the life out of you – struggles between giving up on everything, and knowing that nothing gained by giving up.
Depression is like spending every moment feeling horrible and so low, making it hard to face the day. With anxiety, you are in a constant state of panic. Depression gives you the feeling of being stuck with the inability to move forward.
It is absolutely exhausting keeping your mental illness a secret. You wear an invisible mask with such care so that it doesn’t break and expose your ‘true’ self.
Waking up with anxiety is both demoralizing and debilitating. The thought of going to work is overwhelming and feels impossible. Depression and anxiety are a tug of war, creating a vicious cycle that leads to no longer participating in life.
Depression and anxiety lead to separation from others, giving you feelings of isolation, frustration and failure. Your feelings slowly dissolve into worthlessness and failure envelopes.
No matter what I accomplish, it will never be good enough for my inner critic. You pull away and isolate yourself from everyone; there is just emptiness. It is like covering your face with an invisible mask.
You have to show other people, “I’m fine, completely functional and capable of finishing all the tasks while the reality is that I’m completely a vulnerable person.
Why do entrepreneurs have a higher tendency to experience mental health challenges?
There are many reasons, but here are two:
Stress: Not surprisingly, stress ranks right at the top!! With that stress comes a multitude of other problems like working non-stop, sleepless nights, and not eating healthily (or worse is skipping meals). Basically, self-care is ignored.
Isolation: Being an entrepreneur, and specifically a solopreneur, can be very isolating. Typically, in the early stages of starting a business, entrepreneurs wear multiple hats and juggle a mountain of priorities. It’s also likely that they surround themselves with friends and family living a nine-to-five existence who don’t necessarily understand the entrepreneurial struggle. The risk of depression is compounded by Isolation.
One way to stop the stigma around being an entrepreneur and mental illness is to start a conversation.
Having an open dialogue about the challenges of mental illness can raise awareness and can educate the entrepreneurial community. It’s also critical to create an environment for entrepreneurs to speak openly about the challenges they face. Thank goodness, more and more entrepreneurs are addressing their emotional well-being and making it clear that entrepreneurs aren’t immune to mental health challenges.
As an entrepreneur, having a trustworthy support team is essential.
It is essential to have mentors, coaches and friends. Being active in Mastermind groups is another great way to share your struggles. The fellow entrepreneurs can have a deeper understanding of the challenges you’re facing and offer invaluable insights or solutions. It’s critical to be truthful with yourself and don’t be reluctant to reach out for support.
Entrepreneurs are more likely to display extreme confidence and optimism all of the time.
Regrettably, that means that when things don’t go as planned, they tend to suffer in silence. What gives mental illness and its challenges power is shame and the feeling of having to hide the thoughts and feelings.
In her famous Ted Talk, Brené Brown speaks eloquently about how vulnerability can eradicate shame. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s an act of courage. By embracing vulnerability, entrepreneurs can finally free themselves from shame, get the help they need and empower others to do the same.