Earlier this month, the owner of a well-known business in Bend took to social media to talk about therapy and her experience with it. Anytime someone publicly talks about mental health and seeking help, this breaks down stigma and helps erase that unwritten rule that mental health is something we keep to ourselves.
Her social media post turned my attention to the mental health of business owners, or rather reminded me that this is a topic worth writing about! As a small business owner myself, running Drishti Bend, I have more than an inkling of the demands and pressures that entrepreneurs face. And oftentimes we find our self-worth and identity wrapped up in the success or failures of our business. It’s difficult to extract our person and well-being from the daily pressure of keeping the ship afloat. No matter if you’re running a one-man shop or have a fleet of people on payroll, being a business owner will always pose unique challenges and pressures that can take a toll on mental health.
I won’t waste your time writing out a blog of tips to take care of your mental health as a business owner. Rather, I want to use this space to remind you that you are not your business. And you are not a machine. You are a living, breathing human who experiences emotions. And as a human, sometimes we need help moving through these emotions and experiences. But we have to carve out the time to make ourselves a priority.
Seeking therapy isn’t waving a white flag or surrendering. I like to think of it like doing inventory. Just as a brick and mortar store must do regular appraisals of what’s in their store, we must perform regular check in’s about what’s happening within ourselves. How are we feeling? How are we sleeping? What stress isn’t being alleviated? Do we feel alone?
As leaders and business owners, we go through so many things alone. But taking care of our mental health doesn’t have to be a solo journey. Finding someone to help support us is a gift we all deserve. Finding the right fit for a counselor or therapist is a task that’s worthy of that never-ending to do list. In fact, it’s worthy of being put at the top of the list.
Just in case you need to hear it today: your business does not define your worth or value as a person. And most importantly, you don’t have to go through this journey alone. Beginning therapy is not shining a spotlight on weakness. Rather it’s showing your bravery and strength. To all business owners: we are here when you are ready.