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The Taboo Topic Most Entrepreneurs Don’t Talk About (But Should)

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The ups and downs of entrepreneurship are no secret. As rewarding as it is, it’s also chock full of risk, pressure and long hours that can take a toll on anyone’s physical and mental health. Which is why recently ran a post that detailed one of the less-talked about aspects of running your own business: depression and anxiety.

In an article that has generated 37,000 shares and counting, Jessica Bruder dove deep into the harsh but real issues faced by many entrepreneurs — providing both an education into one of the darker sides of entrepreneurship and a much-needed reassurance to those entrepreneurs wondering if they’re the only ones dealing with this.

As the article states:

Successful entrepreneurs achieve hero status in our culture. We idolize the Mark Zuckerbergs and the Elon Musks. And we celebrate the blazingly fast growth of the Inc. 500 companies. But many of those entrepreneurs, like [financial services company CEO Bradley] Smith, harbor secret demons: Before they made it big, they struggled through moments of near-debilitating anxiety and despair — times when it seemed everything might crumble.

Until recently, admitting such sentiments was taboo. Rather than showing vulnerability, business leaders have practiced what social psychiatrists call impression management — also known as “fake it till you make it.” Toby Thomas, CEO of EnSite Solutions (No. 188 on the Inc. 500), explains the phenomenon with his favorite analogy: a man riding a lion. “People look at him and think, ‘This guy’s really got it together! He’s brave!’” says Thomas. “And the man riding the lion is thinking, ‘How the hell did I get on a lion, and how do I keep from getting eaten?’”

You can read the full article, as well as tips on how to cope with depression and anxiety on your entrepreneurial journey, here.

Have you experienced feelings of depression or anxiety as an entrepreneur? What’s your response to this article?

Brazen powers real-time, online events for leading organizations around the world. Our lifestyle and career blog, Brazen Life, offers fun and edgy ideas for ambitious professionals navigating the changing world of work.

  • treptalks

    Who said entrepreneurship or anything worthwhile for that matter was going to be easy? It is a lot of emotional ups and downs. You are almost always going against the tide so if you don’t truly believe in yourself and your idea you are not going to enjoy the ride. It is almost as if you should have enough passion that it overrides the anxiety and other negative emotions. It has to be that way.

  • Catherine Robson

    Hands up – it’s tough. It makes me cry (double disclosure – I cry) I get frustrated and anxious. You have to dig really deep.

    There is no yellow brick road no matter how many fantastic resources and people there are out there. Don’t believe the images of people skipping along paths of gold. Entrepreneurship is more like wading through thick, viscid mud.

    The great thing about mud? You can paint awesome warrior stripes on your cheeks. Much needed at times.

  • David Hooper

    Isolation is a big issue for a lot of people I know. I think it helps to get connected with other people, whether they’re entrepreneurs or not. I also think it helps to eat well and get physical exercise daily.