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William Thomas, Managing Partner & Expansion Director
July 16, 2019

I am one of the crazy ones that make up almost 8% of the global population, who have devoted their lives to entrepreneurship. When I was in second grade, I started selling homemade origami and individual pieces of candy (Warheads to be exact) to my fellow classmates.  Here we are 25 years later, and I’m still in the entrepreneurship space. While entrepreneurship can be incredibly rewarding, it can easily take a toll on your mental health. The startup world ain’t easy. It’s demanding work, and statistically, most startups fail. 

That’s why I wasn’t too surprised to learn about some results Dr. Michael Freeman, a psychology professor focused on mental health in entrepreneurship, uncovered in a recent study. He found that almost half  (49%) of entrepreneurs have reported one or more lifetime mental health conditions. The entrepreneurs were also significantly more likely to report a lifetime history of depression (30%), ADHD (29%), substance use conditions (12%) and bipolar diagnosis (11%) than were comparison participants. 

This has been an important topic to myself, and have focused on growing in this area more recently. It was important not only for my own mental well-being, but also to help positively contribute to this organization we are building and those also building out their dreams. While MORTAR was doing very well and surpassing personal and organizational dreams, the amount of stress, worry, and anxiety has also increased. To stay mentally healthy, I’ve had to make some shifts over the years.

Here are some of my tips on maintaining good mental health in entrepreneurship:

  1. Travel and create space for your brain. I have found it to be incredibly helpful to step away to help me get fully back into the work on the ground, and to also serve as a source of additional inspiration.
  2. Seek out a mental health specialist. Do your research and seek out the right person to help talk through opportunities and develop healthy practices with you.
  3. Learn to say “no.” It’s okay and actually quite liberating. More opportunities and people will present themselves.
  4. Practice meditation & gratitude. Make it a lifestyle, starting from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep. 
  5. Build a community of support. There is power in having a community to call upon to support each other. 

The world needs you! If we don’t take care of ourselves first, then our ability to dream bigger and realize those efforts will be much more difficult. I see this as maintenance for your spirit, and an opportunity to find more balance in this beautiful, crazy life. You’ve got it.