So May is mental health awareness month. And, coincidentally (or not) I’ve been struggling myself these past few weeks. I wouldn’t compare what I’m going through to someone with serious depression, it’s more of just a significant lapse in motivation, creativity, and self-confidence. So when I thought “how can I get out of this slump?” Sharing it seemed like the best solution!
I’ve seen some beautiful, vulnerable posts from people sharing their own mental health struggles, and it’s got me thinking a lot about the connection between our mental health and entrepreneurship.
I talk a lot about mindset & self-care, which really is the basis of stable mental health and it’s so important for everyone (especially entrepreneurs). However, sometimes just taking a long bath, going for a walk, or taking a day off to pamper yourself isn’t enough. Sometimes the slump lasts longer than you’re used to, or affects you more than you can handle.
AND WE STILL HAVE A BUSINESS TO RUN!
There seems to be this common cycle: We notice that we’re unmotivated, unproductive, or whatever it is. . . Then we give ourselves a hard time, or if we’re kind enough to ourselves we practice self- care, but that can set us back further from our goals and make us feel even less productive. Then we are trying so hard to stay “high vibes” and not manifest more darkness, that we mask what’s really going on and hide it from our clients, followers, even friends and family. Again, this just pushes us farther into darkness. Before you know it, weeks have gone by and your business is at a stand-still, while you’re still paralyzed with doubt and indecision about how to move forward. I know because I have been in this place several times during my 8+ years of self-employment.
So how do we climb out of the darkness?
Identifying what’s really going on is key. Sometimes you need to talk to a professional to figure that out. And of course, a coach is NOT a substitute for a therapist or counselor, but if/ when you find that your struggles are grounded mainly in indecisiveness, lack of focus, or flailing self-confidence, a coach can be invaluable. Whether it’s a business coach or life coach, we are the people that can help you sort out your thoughts, align your action with your intentions, and keep you “on track” and accountable as you begin taking action towards your goals.
Being honest with people you can trust. That may not look like sharing your darkness with everyone on Instagram, but at least confiding in someone can be hugely helpful. I find that in addition to working with a coach, being friends with other entrepreneurs, and joining groups for entrepreneurs is helpful as well. We all go through highs and lows, and have similar fears around growing our business, making money, sharing ourselves through our marketing, etc. and support is important.
Things like shadow work, mindfulness and inner-child work can also help create huge shifts within us. Today I feel like I am starting to crawl out of my funk. Part of that is writing this post, sharing a video on Instagram, and another part is my mindfulness practice as well as inner-child work. For me, I utilize this tool when I feel a negative emotion arise that I know is connected to a situation or “story” I had when I was younger. The feeling of not being good enough, not being liked, or being afraid to be authentic is a common one for entrepreneurs. I can connect that feeling directly to a few moments from childhood when I felt the same. So I sit with that feeling and that memory for a while- let it wash over me, re-live it. Then I step in as my adult self and tell the younger version of me that it’s ok, and she belongs. I offer love and gratitude to my younger self and assure her that I’ve got things from here. This usually alleviates the negative feelings and gives me a sense of closure around it.
If you’re going through a significant slump in your business, and need someone to talk to, or to walk with you through the uncertainty and doubt to the other side: contact me for a free consultation, or just to say “hi”!