The Personal Side of Being an Entrepreneur
Small business owners and entrepreneurs are typically driven, insightful, and naturally skilled at turning a concept into a reality. They also deal with extraordinary levels of stress and anxiety while growing their business. With an entrepreneur as the brand, expectations land squarely on his/her shoulders; the business will rise or fall depending on the strength of its leadership. An entrepreneur may try to be an octopus, but it isn’t reasonable for anyone to expect to be able to actively oversee everything themselves. How can doing so not leave them feeling depleted and overwhelmed? Exhaustion is not a sign of success; it is a sign a business owner should, perhaps, scale back the workload, set some boundaries, and, perhaps, seek out some help.
Set Healthy Boundaries
Small business owners are notoriously challenged when it comes to boundaries. Setting healthy boundaries from the get-go — such as being able to say no, delegating, and sharing responsibility with others — can have a huge impact on getting a business successfully off the ground. Delegation means finding the right people, giving them appropriate tasks, and walking away from those things that don’t demand the entrepreneur’s immediate attention. Volunteers, interns, and independent contractors are great support for small and short-term tasks. With such help, the entrepreneur is better able to focus on goals, tasks and decisions that are unquestionably in his/her domain.
Self Care & Getting Help
Even with an ideally sized staff on board, operating a business — managing the responsibilities and expectations of one’s employees, the demands of investors, the needs of family, and one’s own expectations is all consuming. It takes a few years for a business to pick up after an entrepreneur gets started; the stress on finances, health and personal life can be immense. That is why it is important that an entrepreneur be aware of his own person strengths and weaknesses, and the ways in which his struggles might be problematic for not only himself, but for his team and his business. For instance, the ability to delegate, as referenced above, is tremendously important, but it isn’t easy for everyone to do. And someone possessing a perfectionist streak or struggling with procrastination issues can end up not being as productive as the pace of the business requires.
It’s not always easy to recognize when one’s struggles are impacting the success of the business or the employees that count on the entrepreneur’s leadership. Sometimes it is all so consuming that the lack of “me time” doesn’t allow for self-awareness, self-reflection or listening so that issues can be addressed. Sometimes seeking outside help — reaching out to someone outside of the day to day responsibilities and expectations — can make all the difference in addressing problems in a meaningful way.
Recognizing that the unbiased support and insight that a professional therapist can provide might help a small business owner sort out some of the difficulties that may be impacting him emotionally, physically, mentally or in terms of productivity, is a huge step. An opportunity to step out of the workplace for a one-on-one private session with someone who is there to listen and provide guidance can go a long way to helping the entrepreneur become a stronger and more successful leader. A therapist (like one you can find here) can also help an entrepreneur evaluate the use of his time, his priorities and his goals. Talking to a therapist can do wonders for anyone looking to be better able to wrestle with the day-to-day problems that are affecting his ability to function productively and well.
Everyone deserves the opportunity to grow, build confidence and be able to think clearly. Small business owners are no different. Their business is important, but so is their internal sense of self-worth, confidence and dignity. People who recognize that they are struggling with problems that might be sorted out with some help honor themselves, their employees, and their business by recognizing that personal growth can make a huge contribution to future success.
Beth Orchard lives in the west suburbs of Chicago. Her previous work was in nonprofits with people who experience mental health issues and homelessness. She is currently a mother of two who spends her time as a writer and coach on topics around mental health, addiction, health, and healing through creative writing.