The dark side of success

Everyone’s guilty of putting too much pressure on themselves, but nobody does it more so than entrepreneurs.

‘Good’ is not in our vocabulary – we want astronomical success, and anything less means we’re a failure. But there’s incredible danger in having such lofty ambitions, and the desire to constantly chase the high of a new sale, acquisition, or media appearance, becomes a drug to many that eventually cripples them. Think about your own life. Do you constantly tell yourself you can do better? Do you feel frustrated and sad about where you currently are? Do you believe you deserve more? If you’re an entrepreneur, you can probably recognise a lot of these feelings, but they can be very dangerous ones to have.

Entrepreneurs often feel like they’re drowning in work 

According to a study by Dr. Michael Freeman, a clinical professor at the University of California, 30% of all entrepreneurs experience depression. That’s a large number, but it’s not surprising when you consider the pressure we put ourselves under. And unfortunately, for many entrepreneurs it’s too much. Since 1999, there’s been a 30% rise in suicide in America and sadly, it’s how many high-profile entrepreneurs like Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain, Aaron Schwartz, and Jody Sherman, have recently died. One of the biggest reasons entrepreneurs suffer from depression is the connection between the high expectations we set and reality. The greater the difference between the two, the more stressed we feel. Temporary stress is normal and can actually be healthy, but chronic stress can be extremely dangerous – it’s chronic stress that leads to depression, substance abuse, social withdrawal, insomnia, suicidal thoughts, and more.

Stop what you’re doing and breathe

So, how can you stop yourself from falling into a downward spiral? First off, it’s important to stop putting so much pressure on yourself – remind yourself that doing so will only result in you feeling less motivated and focused and therefore, less likely to succeed. Next, seek professional help if you need it. There’s no shame in admitting you need support. Most people suffer from mental health problems, and the sooner you get help, the quicker you’ll be able to positively move forward. It’s also vital that you take care of your body. Try and get more sleep – seven to nine hours is the recommended amount per night – and do more exercise. Finally, start a gratitude journal or make a mental note of at least one thing you’re thankful for every day. All of these actions will help you decrease the pressure you put yourself under, and the negative feelings they bring.

I hope this article helps if you’re struggling with success and encourages you to start putting your mental and physical health first over your business. Let me know if this is something you’ve experienced, and any other tips you can share in the comments below!

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