There’s always a long background story to everything, especially things that are charismatic and bewitching. This is especially true with entrepreneurs. The world may see them shaking hands with a beaming smile on their faces, embracing people, acting normal, and offering pleasantries, but things aren’t always as they seem. These public moments are merely the tip of the iceberg; what stays under the surface is the real story of their largely perceived to be luxurious lives.
And Patrick Parker, one of the most accomplished entrepreneurs in the US, knows of the tragic tales that are mostly untold. It is because he himself had to endure trials and tribulations that are anchored in starting and managing businesses. Entrepreneurs often go through a long stretch of relentless work and sleepless nights at the expense of friendships, relationships, and peace of mind. What’s worse is this toxic, workaholic behavior is later adopted, and consequently, distress and fatigue become the norm.
“Starting a business, either as a solo or co-founder, is all-consuming,” agrees Patrick. “It means late nights, early mornings, letting go of other interests in pursuit of success and financial gain. It means often going without salary, having little time for friends and family, building unhealthy habits around sleep, exercise, and diet – all of which can lead to mental and emotional strains,” he further added.
It’s the sad reality of an entrepreneur’s life that is seldom noticed. However, that’s how it has always been. If we rummage through history’s pages, we’ll discover the world’s top minds had intelligence that was unlike a normal person’s. They had a knack for standing out among the crowd and found honor in it. Most entrepreneurs, even in the present times, are one-of-their-kind, and surprisingly, that is what fuels their engines.
Consider Elon Musk, a star-like figure for young entrepreneurs. Some time ago, in a series of tweets, he admitted that he was suffering from depression and bipolar disorder. And Musk is not the only one suffering strains of entrepreneurship; Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz, in his 2007 blog post, shared that he has a long history of dealing with depression. Unfortunately, according to some reports, that later acted as a catalyst for his suicide in January 2013. Numerous stories manifest the mental and emotional challenges an entrepreneur goes through.
A few scientific pieces of research also validate this predicament. According to a study at UC Berkeley, 72% of entrepreneurs self-reported mental health concerns in 2021. The same study found that 49% of entrepreneurs surveyed were dealing with at least one mental illness such as ADD, ADHD, bipolar disorder, addiction, depression, or anxiety.
Patrick Parker, too, is no exception. However, he has quite a few remedies at hand. He shares a few with us today.
Surround yourself with the right people
It’s natural to expect those near and dear to you to support you in your startup journey. However, that might not always be the case. The reason is obvious; your journey is daunting and a totally different one. So instead of laying any blame on your family, who might often find it difficult to understand you, surround yourself with people who will not be judgmental of you, or would gaslight you. The company you keep should be honest, compassionate, motivating, and a good sounding board.
Build healthy routines into your life
“It’s not easy, but it’s a prerequisite for a work-life balance that is also necessary for a sound entrepreneurial career,” says Patrick. He accentuates exercising, meditating, and spending a part of the day with family for a healthy professional life. It doesn’t matter if you cannot spend hours doing these things, but committing to them and spending even a little bit of time on them creates a huge difference. It is also important to take a few minutes for a break and to dive into your mind to relieve yourself from the stress of the day.
And lastly, family – one should always stick to it. After a full day of work, laying eyes on your kids and your significant other will provide you with much-needed solace to end your busy day with. Leave it all behind and focus on being present. They deserve it.
Reach out to Patrick on Instagram here for more.