“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
— Helen Keller.”
Regardless of Helen Keller’s ailments, she never maintained a victim attitude but that of a survivor. However, she did not get there herself alone. Although her steadfast stamina and perseverance assisted, she depended and relied on the assistance of key familial parties to uplift and support her to find assistance for her after a fever left her blind and deaf. Her parents and teachers came together to assess and educate everyone on how best to support Helen and others in her condition. She would not have accomplished this had she not had the foundational elements required to get her to a space of success and growth as an author and an advocate for those requiring accessibility supports. Not only were these people her eyes, ears and mouth to communicate, but also the emotional, physical, spiritual and mental support she required throughout her life.
This is what most businesses are striving for in their strategic plans – success and growth; however, if mental health issues are clouding the viewpoint of the entrepreneur, the support system of the personal support partner and the family becomes very prevalent.
In a recent study done by the BDC, from November 2022, to assess what the mental health pulse was in the Canadian Workforce.
- 1 in 5 Canadian are experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder
- 48% of entrepreneurs claimed their main source of stress is work/life balance
- 42% claimed that their personal coping strategy to address their mental health issue is seeking support from friends or family
- 84% surveyed felt family factors were a main source of stress for them
Some of the magnificent perks of being with a founder are the success that comes with the role, either immediately or eventually; they are very confident and appreciate taking risks (and sharing the experience with whoever is willing to listen) and they tend to be innovative in beyond their business and apply this to every aspect of their daily lives. But when the pressure starts percolating or there is a perception of one losing control, these same attributes can come across as arrogance and mania. Entrepreneurs also hold a certain level of imposter syndrome, as well.
82% of entrepreneurs experience imposter syndrome, according to a study. It was assessed that intelligent, high driven business owners tend to have a high level of self awareness but when this is paired with high cognitive ability and analysis, it tends to accentuate every flaw and potential failure lurking on the horizon of the business owner’s mind. This can create a self-defeating narrative that can inhibit the business owner’s movement forward.
So, what can supportive members around the entrepreneur do to support their partner and family member’s initiatives, while ensuring they are caring for themselves in the process?
Entrepreneurs need to be uplifted. If they receive too many criticisms from partners and family members, they tend to shut down. Even if criticisms are in a joking manner, they can be defeating so it’s best to try and change the narrative into compliment, rather than a criticism. Sometimes these criticisms can evolve into self manifesting prophecies, counterproductive to the momentum the entrepreneur would like to experience.
When individuals know their personal life support partners and family members hold them in high opinion, the individual in question tends to rise up to these expectations, changing the trajectory of the self-fulfilling prophecies. A positive attitude has an opportunity to positively transform the individual not just in their mind, but on a biological cellular level, as well.
Simple expressions of gratitude can go a long way. An entrepreneur can have moments when they feel as though they are not enough. An entrepreneur may get a positive sense of recognition within the identity of their business but may feel as they are inadequate at home with all that they are juggling. When people make a mistake, they tend to know they have errored and do not need a reminder, but if we can show them where they are excelling, even with the smallest and remedial of tasks, it will create a light inside them to do more of that better and more frequently. By showing appreciation, we manifest more of what is positive rather than harping on the negative and we get more of this.
Discover a power phrase together. Create a motivating phrase that acts as a beacon when one is off course can improve one’s mental health and wellness. Sometimes our view gets very cloudy and it’s hard to see the light, but a power phrase pivots a negative attitude when we cannot see clear. The other person triggers a change of attitude simply by saying this non-critical and non-invasive power phrase. Sit down and discuss with each other what motivates you and create a statement that reflects this. Practice saying it together and out loud and create boundaries of when this power phrase is to be used. This can create a renewed perspective moving forward and a sense of intimacy of what you share together. Power phrases can also indirectly improve the relationship with others and boost confidence. One can simply borrow a positive affirmation. There’s many out there that provide inspiration – Like I am strong and can do hard things. Or we put the dream in team.
It’s important to set clear boundaries, avoid favoritism, and fully communicate all expectations for any partner or family member the business owner may be collaborating with. Open communication is key. It is even more beneficial to write these dynamics out somewhere so that they can be reviewed periodically by all parties. Like a contract or a business code of conduct for partners or family members alike.
Ensure to carve out quality time outside of the business and the conversations surrounding it. It is important in maintaining a balance of work and life. Have regular daily, weekly and monthly check to keep in touch with the other. A family/date night once a week. A weekend away every few months or an annual “disconnect” holiday can mitigate any troubling waters clouding a mind or a relationship.
For the next few weeks, we will focus on mental health in the workplace as we know that health and success go hand and hand.
- PowerPoint Presentation (bdc.ca)
- The startup spouse: a view from the other side of bed | Relate by Zendesk
- The importance of family support in the entrepreneurial journey — EO Melbourne
- 72% Of Entrepreneurs Suffer From Mental Health Issues. Here’s Why—And What To Do About It (minutes.co)
- The Benefits And Challenges Of Marrying An Entrepreneur | YFS Magazine
- Power Phrases: What Are They and Why You Need One – Bloom Affirmations