The lure of launching your own business can be enticing. Being your own boss, creating your own hours and taking more control over your income could be the keys to living a better life.
But, striking out on your own has a less glamorous side too. There’s a psychological price you might pay for being an entrepreneur.
The challenges entrepreneurs face
Many entrepreneurs experience social isolation. Even if they’re engaging with other people on a daily basis, they’re usually interacting with vendors, customers, or employees with whom they can’t discuss their business concerns.
Establishing a work-life balance is also complicated when you’re an entrepreneur. Lack of leisure time and inadequate self-care can easily lead to depression.
Anxiety and stress are common for entrepreneurs as well. Some statistics estimate that 90 percent of startups fail. Worrying about going out of business or not being able to grow fast enough can wreak havoc on your well-being.
Addiction is another common problem among entrepreneurs. A 2014 study published in the “Journal of Business Venturing” found that serial entrepreneurs are addicted to the rush of starting a new company. Many of them suffer serious consequences such as relationship problems, financial trouble and health issues.
Being an entrepreneur is an opportunity to build mental muscle
The good news is, the challenges associated with being an entrepreneur means more opportunities to build mental strength. When you don’t have to live by your boss’ schedule and your salary isn’t dependent upon your annual performance review, you can devote your energy to reaching your greatest potential.
Here are 10 mental muscle building activities you can practice when you’re an entrepreneur:
- Increase your self-discipline. Self-discipline is a learned skill that gets better with practice. Each day, you have an opportunity to practice staying focused and being productive.
- Calculate risk. When you’re in charge, it’s up to you to decide which risks to take. Practice evaluating the risks and benefits. Look at decisions from new angles and sharpen your decision-making skills.
- Be aware of your emotions. It’s important to recognize how you’re feeling and to understand how those emotions affect your decisions. Excitement can cause you to overestimate your chances of success. Sadness can lead you to settle for less than your worth. Practice balancing your emotions with logic and you’ll make the best choices for your business.
- Accept personal responsibility. When you’re in charge, there’s no one to blame except yourself. That doesn’t mean it’s not tempting to make excuses. Look for explanations, but don’t make excuses when things don’t turn out as planned.
- Deal with stress in a healthy way. The hectic lifestyle might cause you to forgo exercise or reach for a glass of wine when you’re stressed out. However, self-care is essential if you want to perform at your peak. Whether you enjoy yoga or you have dinner with friends, develop healthy ways to manage your stress.
- Delay gratification. It’s normal to want your business to grow fast. At the same time, getting too big too fast could easily be your downfall. Practice delaying gratification every day, even in the small things you do.
- Face your fears. Whether you were asked to give a presentation or you’re thinking of launching a new blog, don’t let anxiety hold you back. Face your fears and challenge yourself to step outside your comfort zone.
- Ask for help. It takes mental strength to admit you can’t do everything. But whether you need to delegate some tasks to someone with more skills, or you need some emotional support from a kind ear, don’t be afraid to reach out for help.
- Bounce back from your mistakes. Rather than hide your mistakes, acknowledge them. Reflect on them long enough to learn from them. Then, commit to using your new knowledge to do better next time.
- Strive to be better today than you were yesterday. Comparing yourself to other people will only drag you down and distract you from your goals. The only person you should compete against is yourself. Strive to do a little better each day.