Entrepreneurship and the importance of building a support system
Entrepreneurship is often a lonely journey — one filled with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. You tend to measure your self-worth with the success of the product you’re building and that path is often riddled with roadblocks, stress around financial and human capital, imposter syndrome, frustration and the never-ending quest for productivity.
It’s no surprise then that over 70% of entrepreneurs are affected either directly or indirectly by mental health challenges as compared to 48% of those who don’t chart the path of entrepreneurship. Amidst this, it’s important entrepreneurs have a support system they can turn to for support and for their well-being. Here are some ways to build a solid support system that’s there for you:
Find other entrepreneurs
In my time as an entrepreneur, I’ve found that often my peers who run their own businesses can relate to the challenges I go through the best. And those who started their entrepreneurial journeys before mine have often experienced the same issue and are able to offer advice and resources. It’s important to cultivate a network where collaboration is key and not competition. Your star employee resigned? Tap into your network to see how to navigate that heartbreak, what reflections you need to do as a leader and whether they have someone who is suited for the position. Reach out to fellow entrepreneurs who can be your sounding board, who you can help and a safe space where you can exchange ideas and the challenges you’re encountering.
I truly believe there is courage in vulnerability and it takes a lot of strength to open up, especially to your colleagues. By sharing the human side of yourself with your team, they’ll learn about the challenges you face and can step up where needed, they will realize it’s OK for them to share what they’re going through and you will build a stronger, more empathetic bond with your employees. A good leader is one who is honest, can admit when things don’t go as planned and can reach out for help when required.
Your work doesn’t define you
In the era of perfectly curated social media feeds, it’s important to remind yourself that you are more than your work and your achievements. Look at what you like to do outside of work and find time during the week to do that. How do you Re:Set? For some it’s pottery classes or hiking on Friday mornings, for others, it’s intense workouts or simply spending time with loved ones. Not only does this give you much-needed downtime, but it also serves as a reminder that regardless of what happens at work, there is a life outside of it and these moments can offer much-needed perspective particularly when our problems seem magnified.
Find your tribe
These are people who know you outside of work and love you regardless of what has happened during the workday. Sometimes the best thing you can do as an entrepreneur is to take a step back and let a situation be. And in moments like these, you need friends and family who can join you in eating your favourite takeout or play video games with you or can simply help take your mind off the situation. Sometimes our loved ones are the people who can gently encourage us to start therapy or go on that much-needed vacation with us and it’s important to have people who cut through the clutter. Cultivate a support system of family and friends who don’t define you through your success at work and can approach a situation holistically.
Re:Set is an online resource of tools and stories around education, parenting, gender, inclusivity, mental health and well-being. Collaborating with thought-leaders, government officials, parents, educators, counsellors and corporate ninjas, Re:Set provides an in-depth and trusted resource where people can connect, get inspired and learn from one another. Promising a safe, inclusive space that encourages dialogue on issues that matter and inspire change, Re:Set starts conversations via insightful storytelling, proposes solutions, and encourages education around these tough subjects, whilst aiming to dispel misconceptions and stigma surrounding such topics as mental health.