Running a company can be very personal. Often the business you start and run is an extension of yourself, to the degree that the business might literally live and die with you.
While we often discuss topics such as business development, marketing, products, finances, innovation and the like, we rarely talk about depression and other mental illnesses. As a matter of fact, I don’t think that I have ever read an article that discusses the topic in terms of business leadership and ownership.
But it is a reality. Even with companies that are successful. Even when things seem to be going okay. Even when there seems to be no justification for it. Unchecked, mental illness can be destructive.
A number of our clients have had to manage a number of different challenges. We’ve seen one person in a restaurant who had serious (dangerous) anger issues. A number of other business owners have had various levels of depression. I’ve seen people with manic, bi-polar, narcissistic, co-dependency, borderline personality and addictive disorders. Those who dealt with it have been able to be successful. Those who haven’t tend to struggle.
What is important, what is significant, is that if you are suffering, you need to do something about it. Sometimes, these conditions are temporary and may only need short term treatment, perhaps medication or counseling. Ideally, you will come out on the other side wiser, better able to identify triggers and ready to take the world by storm.
Other times, however, the condition is permanent and may simply come in waves; sometimes it presents itself and other times all is good in the world. It tends to recur over and over again. This type may require longer term treatment along with planning to be able to continue to keep the Company moving forward. This may look like – in additional to professional treatment – confiding in a key partner or employee to support you when necessary or finding ways to cope that will allow the Company to continue.
Keep in mind that your customers and staff do not wish to and frankly don’t deserve to be impacted by the challenge you are facing. You, if you are suffering, don’t deserve to have to suffer in silence. There is help that you can and should take advantage of. Know that you can feel better. It may not be over night. It may be a difficult journey. At the end of the day, if you can be honest and open and address your situation, you will likely be better off as a result.
Rick Meekins is the Managing Consultant at Aepiphanni, the trusted advisor for business leaders who are seeking forward-thinking solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth. Our entrepreneurial multidisciplinary team works with clients to develop differentiating solutions and provide direction focused on lasting, strategic results. We exist to help our clients CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD extraordinary businesses.
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