Entrepreneurship is rewarding, but it comes with its own challenges. When you’re a leader, it can feel like everyone is depending on you as you hold numerous responsibilities, from keeping your employees happy to meeting payroll. This kind of pressure can begin to wear a person down. If you’ve ever felt burnt out, take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. There is a recent mental health crisis in entrepreneurship; in fact, a 2015 study found that entrepreneurs are 50 percent more likely to suffer from mental health issues. In addition, they’re also twice as likely to experience depression and three times as likely to suffer from substance abuse.
It’s important to take care of your mental health, especially when you feel that many people, from your investors to your family, are relying on you. Here are a few tips for protecting your mental health and avoiding burnout.
Create Non-Negotiable Personal Time
It pays to keep a work-life balance. Focusing too much on work can lead to work responsibilities taking over to catastrophic proportions. Whatever you value outside of work deserves your time. Just like in investing, it’s good to have a diversified portfolio, so you too should diversify your time investments in something other than just work. This way, if work doesn’t go as you had planned, you don’t lose sight of who you are outside of your business.
Ask For Help
As a leader, you probably feel like you should know everything. If you’re running a company, you should have all the answers, right? It’s a good idea to set a limit on how much time you invest before asking for help. For example, start by spending an hour brainstorming. If you get stuck, try to do your research from a different perspective, and then reach out to a colleague or mentor to test out your ideas. It’s easy to keep a facade of confidence when you don’t have all the right answers, but it’s okay to admit that you don’t know everything. The first idea you come up with is seldom the only way, or even the best way, to do things.
One thing all entrepreneurial leaders should do is feel confident in determining what kind of behavior you will accept from employees. Even though you should keep a stiff spine, it is still vital to be compassionate. This means giving some grace to your employees who may be struggling with challenges outside of work. If employees push the limits of acceptable behavior, it warrants a conversation about what needs to be done during these trying times. You want to show the same kindness you’d expect if you were struggling, but you can still issue reminders about the standard of performance that needs to be maintained.
Ultimately, the key to preventing burnout is knowing how and when to set boundaries. This means taking time for yourself and your commitments outside of the workplace and knowing what your threshold is so that you don’t end up needlessly suffering. Compassion goes two ways, for yourself and for others. Give your employees the same compassion you’d like to receive, but you can still set a limit for acceptable behavior.