This story is my personal story as well as stories spoken to many that have fallen and many that thrived while being at the edge of the cliff. This article came about the inspiration from a recent read — Khailee Ng the founder of Say.com that’s been acquired by Catcha Group and GroupsMore that has been acquired by Groupon who became the initial voice of this awareness touched an underlying issue related to this topic.
Entrepreneurship comes with a price — it comes with a pride of not talking about the taboos or showing your vulnerabilities. An unspoken rule where the showing of progress is respected compared to the underlying failures, pain, depression, anxiety, thoughts, and worries. Stories of those who thrived are looked upon as inspiration while those who fell apart has never been heard off.
So What Causes The Breaking Point?
In the start of every journey, we all tend to have this vision — although realistically we know that this road is going to be horrendous but we still have an optimistic vision when we take on this journey. We imagine a great team, steady growth, impact, and gaining — we also have a vision on how we overcome challenges.
Often time that image is a portrayal of who we want to be and not of who we are. That motivation is what drives us about 3 years into our journey.
However, this is when the real challenge starts.
We notice things becoming routine, we notice certain stagnation, we notice the fire that was once burning is slowly shrinking. We make mistakes and we become too hard on ourselves. Our once friend who became the co-founder is now waiting to take you down, you feel distant from your friends and family because they can’t seem to understand you. Sometimes your feel hiding your problems serves you better than sharing them.
When we meet friends in the same circle the hour goes by with us talking about progress and improvement. The focus is definitely and mostly on the bright side — it’s rare that someone voices out their actual state of mind to their mentors, friends who could be potential assets, partners, colleagues or investors.
It’s an unopened Pandora’s box waiting to blow up.
In my point of view, it’s an accumulation of emotions and the trigger is just one question — How is it going?
This trigger question leads to the unicorn answer — quoting it from the recent article ´I am killing it; my company is growing 800 percent month-on-month, and so on’. The typical answer which leads to a series of inner voices. Loud noises in the head inexpressible — making you run for cover as if dozens of meteors shooting from the sky.
A little dramatic- maybe.
However, those are the thoughts many have. Those are the thoughts I have sometimes. A voice screaming for relief in my head because I know even with great support some things I can’t share — it’s human nature to be private.
However, the question is how to evade the cliff? How do leap over in instead of into it? How do we look forward?
So I wanted to give a few tips that I end up practicing myself to keep on going. To keep on pumping the juice of motivation.
Breathe at any moment — When you feel suffocated.
The feeling of being trapped in your thoughts, voices, problems and emotions is the similar feeling to being suffocated. You feel short of breath. You want to scream and cry but there’s no more energy. So eventually you let the emotions pile up.
The one thing I’ve tried recently is to breathe. To just take a deep breath and hold it as long as possible. I close my eyes and let the oxygen sink in — I observe what my body is feeling and I observe how I’m reacting to it.
It’s a form of short meditation. A way to center my thoughts at that very moment. It’s something simple but often ignored.
Try Crying — Try letting your tears out.
Most times we assume that we need a reason to cry. We need a reason to wail our tears out. However, that isn’t the truth. Sometimes I’ve found compared to laughter — tears make for a better remedy too.
Your body senses when you’re mounting pressure and expectations. Your neck feels stiff and sleep becomes harder to enjoy. You rarely fall into the REM state and often wake up in cold sweats thinking of probabilities and possibilities.
At this point, you need to channel it out. In any way possible. I find crying to being extremely effective . Personally, I can’t cry with ease — I’ve been in survival mode and it’s become harder and harder for me to cry.
So I tend to induce my tears — by watching heartwarming movies, Thai advertisements. I tend to watch videos regarding animals and pets that are heartwarming and tear jerking.
I can’t help but have a soft spot for animals — so find something that triggers your soft spot too.
Take Time Off Your Day or Week For Four Things
1. Take Time Off To Be Alone- 1 Hour A Day
Being alone with your thoughts is terrifying. It’s observing all your thoughts at once. Your wants, needs, frustrations, expectations and loves.
However, confronting it will be in your best interest. Every day reflection will give you a new perspective, allowing you to eliminate the unnecessary distraction and allowing you to structure your upcoming plans with ease.
Being with yourself an hour a day without distraction will develop a form of self-love hence increasing your confidence and positive mindset.
2. Take Time Off Anytime In The Week For A Hobby That Enriches You
Pick a hobby, any hobby.
It could be reading, writing, playing games, cooking, gardening or just sitting in your park. When you live in a world where sometimes your career consumes your time especially if you’re in the building stage.
A hobby helps increase your concentration and refreshes your brain. For me, cooking helps me oxidize my stress. For you, it can be anything else — something therapeutic that would consume your whole attention for a certain time span.
3.Take Time Off To Exercise
Exercise is the cherry on top of a sundae called life.
It converts all your negative energy into positive release and increases your serotonin and dopamine levels. Both your happiness hormones and motivation hormones when elevated — gives you a refreshing feeling. You no longer feel foggy or lost.
Personally, I choose aggressive sports to release my anger and frustration and help me brainstorm however the nature of your exercise should come from your own personality.
Sometimes you feel like Yoga, Acrobatics, Kickboxing, Dancing or Running. Choose a sport according to your preference instead of popular recommendation and you’ll look forward to it.
Plus exercise helps you maintain a healthy BMI, skin, and stamina. There are many stories when Entrepreneurs let themselves go after being consumed with a hectic lifestyle. This indirectly influences your self-esteem and the way you feel about yourself.
One doesn’t have to try to fit in but everyone has their ideal body type they’re both healthy and confident in — exercise helps you maintain that.
4.Take Weekends To Be With Nature Or People You Care About
Spending time with nature or friends and family can be something relaxing. You can just absorb the scenery, do some hikes or sit on the grass.
Plus asking your friends and family about their week or their day allows fresh stories. Clears the head space and creates a circle of trust.
At your loneliest moments, you’ll find this support necessary to keep your head up high.
Focus On A Balanced ‘Cook It Yourself’ Meal — 3 Meals Per-Day
This is one of the most important points I would say.
I’ve always held on to the principle ‘ You Are What Your Eat’.
Cooking a balanced meal three times a day — It definitely is hard to run to the kitchen every now and then making food, therefore, I would suggest weekly meal planning.
You can cook them and store them in Tupperware and leave them in your fridge. All you have to do next is pop them in the oven for a few minutes before eating them.
I’ve been practicing meal prep for about 1 year. It’s made life easier as I can look forward to eating a proper meal ignoring takeaways and sad looking oily food. However, you can also choose other options such as ordering from companies such as Blue Apron or something similar for a healthier take out.
When your meals are right — it increases your focus, creates the ‘Reward’ perspective in your mind and increases your efficiency.
P:S: You can create a working culture of communal eating. Increasing team morale even in the toughest situation and also allowing you to be able to lean or depend on them when the time comes.
A great team dependency among CEO’s and Colleagues — vulnerabilities becomes an easier situation to express.
Reduce Alcohol Consumption
If you think Alcohol is an Anti-Depressant — THINK AGAIN.
It’s actually a depressant. It makes a person who’s depressed even more depressed. Multiplying their symptoms — including suicidal thoughts.
You’ll feel extra of everything — fatigue, guilt, worthlessness, helplessness; difficulty in concentrating , remembering and making decisions; you feel hopeless and become a pessimist ; Insomnia or excessive sleeping becomes your best friend; You hate life and you’re restless; You eat too much or eat too little and your body starts hurting everywhere it possibly can .
Personally, a glass of beer or a glass of fine red wine helps after a long day.
However, when we are overwhelmed that glass multiplies itself to a few bottles — it’s expected but when it effects wears off it takes us down a topsy-turvy road.
WHY IS THAT?
It lowers serotonin and Norepinephrine levels in your body which helps regulate your mood.When you’re naturally feeling depressed both your serotonin and norepinephrine levels are lower and when you consume alcohol it lowers your levels even more. Hence, throwing your mood of charts.
The alcoholic happiness is the only temporary — it pauses the effects of stress hormones for a small period of time.
Since it acts as a depressant — it depresses your brain and nervous system at the same time.
Finally, it destroys your sleep process and alters your thought process. Hence, creating confusion and judgmental errors.
So when you’re feeling on the blue — opt for something else instead. Choose anything but Alcohol.
A Diary Of Negativity
This something I used to practice myself and still do. For a singular focus — to have the psychological strength I need to build my unicorn.
In my negativity, I write down all my negative thoughts. My hopelessness, my helplessness, and my thoughts when I want to end my journey. I have been in the situation where I jumped off my cliff but I somehow survived it — so the fear of not wanting to go back there is strong and prominent.
However, A Diary of Negativity is different from a normal journal. I never look back to it. It’s a sealed book with a new page each day. I continue writing it until I slowly have nothing negative to write about.
When you have written down your negativity — your brain automatically finds a way to counter it. After some time (min 1 month) of practice — you start generating a positive counter every time you’re stuck in a rut.
So try it out.
Adopt A Pet — There Are Pets Which Are Hectic Life Friendly
My first pet was adopted at the start of my journey. She saved me when I saved her. I look forward to seeing her every day because of the unconditional love.
Pet’s are the best remedy for depression — they give you companionship, admiration, love and care without many expectations. Plus they don’t ask you questions when you would just like to block everything off.
Some may argue — how can you care for when work is consuming too much of your time?
One of the pets that would fit an entrepreneurs lifestyle would be cats. They are happy being indoors as long as they’ve got food, water, and a cat box.
However. if circumstance doesn’t allow it — you can always volunteer your time at shelters.
An hour a month — Keeps Stress Away.
Ask For Help, Own Up, Acknowledge
Sometimes it’s hard to say ‘I Need Help’ or ‘I’m Tired’ or ‘I’m Stuck’ or even ‘I’m Sorry’. These words may seem the simplest form of English Vocabulary but it’s the hardest to utter or express in any language.
Pride, Guilt, Responsibilities, Self-Esteem and Ego blocks you from ever saying those words.
So NEVER be afraid to ask for help — when one rejects someone else will always help you. It’s not a sin to ask for help. Humans are built to understand one another so your colleagues will definitely be open to help you.
OWN UP to your mistakes. If you made the wrong call, wrong judgment or messed up an opportunity. OWN UP to it. It will lift a burden and the unnecessary backlash of your conscience. OWN IT UP to yourself and to those who’ve put their faith in you. It’s normal to make mistakes but when you own up to it — you gain trust, you show leadership and you show companionship. (Speaking From Experience)
Finally, ACKNOWLEDGE — Start by acknowledging yourself. Then acknowledge your family and friends (parents, wife, children etc) and finally acknowledge your colleagues. The bad air with your Co-founder, the negativity among your company or the stress of leaking clients will slowly start to disappear.
Instead on focusing on what’s going wrong this positive morale will boost yourself up and you’ll notice the people around you following too. Hand in hand any problem will slowly but surely reach a solution.
Most of what I said here were based on my observation, experience, and contemplation’s. It’s a difficult process but taking it one step at a time helps make things better. It may not turn overnight — the bad won’t be good with just a flip of a coin,
Your brain when it’s in the right mindset will find alternative solutions for everything that will just make things better . Grit your teeth and know there are no questions without answers it’s just hidden within the mazes of wrong answers.
Our brains are like phoenixes — Every time it’s burnt it rises up higher again.
Hope it helped. For FoodPlan Advice, you can always contact us at
FoodToHeal — Corporate Initiatives.