You’re an entrepreneur. You’ve committed your heart, life and soul to a business that you are sure will be a smashing success. It doesn’t leave time for you to breathe, eat a normal meal, sleep more than a few unrestful hours a night and you are magnetically focused on it, to the exclusion of family and friends. But, you are sure it is worth it and you just need to hang in a bit longer to hear the applause from everyone in your field.
What are you heading for? Angela Henderson, an author, entrepreneur, small business consultant and mental health technician has a pretty good idea. And it doesn’t look pretty.
Along her road to business consulting Angela has traveled down numerous paths and sees that there are some essential things that need to be put in place in order to prevent stress, burnout and mental sickness in entrepreneurs.
The first is to make sure to schedule play into your day – stimulate joy and laughter. Whether it is tennis, reading a book (not work related), painting, biking, whatever – let yourself enjoy down time.
Another critical element is sleep. Going with too little sleep for an extended period of time will wear down the person, physically, mentally and emotionally.
Connecting with nature. Get out and feel the sunshine on your face. Go for a walk. Sit on a park bench and listen to the birds chirp to each other. Don’t isolate yourself. Connect with positive people and make sure to drop the toxic relationships.
Angela worked full time in mental health for seven years before she left to the business world. Having witnessed unethical behavior in her place of employment, Angela felt that she needed to stand up for what she believed in. Money which had been appropriated to help those suffering from mental health had been pocketed by members of the management.
“I got bullied when I spoke up about things I felt were unethical and I didn’t want to be part of. A lawyer warned me that this would lead to being a pariah in my field and that is what happened. I naturally am a vibrant person who loves color and sees the world as a rainbow. The bullying affected me so badly that I had to take leave because of depression and anxiety. I just saw black and couldn’t see the rainbow. With time, therapy and medication the colors came back.”
She chose to look at this difficult episode as a lesson which helped her be who she is today. “It made me stronger, and an even bigger advocate for mental health. To help people stand up for themselves. I spoke up for people who needed help and about the funding that was being taken away from these people.
“If my story can help even one or two people it will have been worth everything. Don’t be afraid to stand up for something that you believe in and are passionate about. You can have people who will bully you, shame you, and try to bring you down, but know that every voice matters.
“Things have changed since I left that position. Management and structures have changed and how they interact with families. There is tighter monitoring of funds. Change came because of what I did and I will always smile when I think back on it.”
While Angela was still working in the mental health field she had started an online business selling childrens’ toys that would spark imagination, nourish creativity and create childhood memories through play. When she left the mental health field she had this e-commerce business to fall back on. She also became one of the top parenting bloggers.
Having had such success in her business and blogging people would want to pick her brain.
“One day I looked at my planner and saw that 14 people wanted to meet with me to talk about their business ideas. That’s when I had that Aha! moment and realized that I could be charging each of those people for my time and expertise. I would be traveling half an hour to meet with them, and then spend an hour talking with them and then another half hour home. That was two hours of my time multiplied by fourteen in the span of just two months. That is when I began my business consulting.”
When meeting with potential clients Angela will discuss their plans and ideas and then throw some things at them to see how they react. “What would you do if you lost all your money?” “What would your reaction be if some key workers left?” Their reactions tell a great deal about whether the person is suited for entrepreneurship.
“If a person can’t imagine that they would be able to cope under adverse circumstances, entrepreneurship may not be the way to go for them. There are some key things that point to mental health issues among adults. If they have problems in all three areas then I advise them to go to their general practitioner and discuss what is happening. If there are negative things going on in a person’s business or day job, home and community this is a red flag that they need some sort of help. For a child it would be experiencing trouble at school, home and the community.”
Angela lists some warning signs for full blown depression:
Ongoing difficulty concentrating on tasks when it wasn’t so previously.
Constantly feeling fatigued or tired.
Being tearful during the day about not serious issues.
Can be super angry, or super frustrated very easily and not able to be calmed down.
Drinking copious amounts of alcohol.
Dabbling in recreational drugs.
Finding it difficult to make decisions – constantly questioning a decision.
Avoiding social situations.
A person does not need to experience all of these signs, but if they are having difficulties in all three fronts of work, home and community, it is time to make an appointment with their doctor.
Angela is passionate about helping people in the business world and especially women who have younger children (under 10). She runs a 4 day, 3 night event called Finding Balance in Business. It is a group of 50 women who get a chance to experience connectiveness, refocusing, learning and growing. There are creative sessions, walks on the beach, good food, and a chance to form relationships.
Feel free to connect with Angela through her Facebook community- Australian Business Community or directly on her website, angelahenderson.com.au.
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