It is well-known that entrepreneurs are more likely than the general population to experience twice as much depression and twice as many suicidal thoughts, six times as much ADHD, along with panic attacks and
enormous levels of burnout, anxiety, stress and twice as many hospitalizations for psychiatric ailments. (1)
Unfortunately, only a very small percentage of us report our distress.
Especially now in our current climate of uncertainty, volatility and disruption, and for green entrepreneurs in particular, such distress is also magnified by the feeling that time is running out as ecosystem-collapse accelerates and the sixth mass extinction intensifies.
As much as we entrepreneurs may not like to admit it, current challenges can trigger such challenging states, and their flow-on effects unfortunately reach into all areas of our lives simultaneously.
It naturally follows that it is necessary to have the skills to be the eye in the storm if we are to stay afloat in stormy seas, as well as to reframe and make the impact so necessary now.
Surprisingly, though, we may hold ourselves back from getting the assistance and perspective we need, cutting corners on ourselves, or simply attempting to apply ninja-like organization to our activities from our old habits.
However, in the same way the biosphere has reached an alarming, critical threshold point, we, too, have also reached critical threshold points. Old habits and ways need to be jettisoned. Sustainability for the planet requires completely re-worked mindsets, narratives and paradigms, yes: sustainability for us and in our businesses requires the same.
After all, the failing paradigm ‘out there’ is a reflection of the failing one ‘within’, and we know from deep ecology, living systems theory and physics that everything is connected.
We cannot bring our old selves to the table and try to fix what needs changing. The evolutionary dynamic demands alteration of us all, beginning with each of us personally.
In this sense, we are looking at a more all-parts-connected, holistic approach that informs not only the legacy we will behind, but first and foremost, also informs our own personal approach to all occurring at large.
“Evolve or die”, wrote Eckhart Tolle in ‘A New Earth’. Such evolution requires deep dives into our most cherished ideologies, dogmas and sacred cows to discover what stays and what must be left behind with respect to our
habits and ways of life, as well as being in business.
To be effectively in the eye of the storm now is to be flinchingly honest with oneself as to what is not working so as to become all the more sustainably on-purpose, self-aware, intuitive, agile and resilient. It enables one to have one ear to the ground and the other listening for the future and what it wants.
Here are 3 tips to support such a shift:
Take up a Mindfulness and Heart Coherence Practice
The science-backed research on the benefits of mindfulness is indisputable. The research shows mindfulness lessens anxiety, depression and overwhelm, and increases wellbeing, focus, relaxation, intuition and the creativity for the solutions we need.
Similarly, research on the benefits of heart coherence is also undeniable. Daily bursts of even just a few minutes at a time to deliberately cultivate feelings of appreciation, peace and kindness from within the heart organ itself (or in the midst of a mindfulness meditation) is known to promote increased wellbeing throughout the entire body, boosting both the immune system and also creativity.
Make time for family and social relationships
These have been greatly compromised during covid and the devastating flow-on effects of lockdowns and social distancing are more and more documented. Entrepreneurs tend towards isolation and sacrifice relationships as a generality, and they shut down both creativity and perspective. Staying connected in whatever way possible improves
wellbeing greatly. It increases the levels of oxytocin, the feel-good hormone connected to love, trust, empathy and satisfaction. These feelings help to relieve stress, anxiety and mental health issues. They help crucial work-life integration and increase perspective, creativity, wellbeing and engagement.
See to physical health
To be the eye in the storm right now with a view to the future involves being mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually strong.
Entrepreneurs often disregard their most basic needs, or are trying to cover their and others’ needs simultaneously and thus burn themselves out in the process. Taking care of oneself at the most basic level of nurture makes for circumstances that you can control (in an uncontrollable world), and enables the capacity to deal with challenges
with flexibility, happiness, agility, strong boundaries and creative flow. It’s as simple and vital as eating 3 healthy meals each day, exercising for at least 30 mins 3 times per week, and getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night.
These 3 steps support your self-care and overall health for all the right reasons, along with amplifying your capacity to finetune and meet those important goals, and in alignment you’re your purpose, values and mission.
And no doubt about it, we have an unparalleled opportunity right now to address some of our most pressing issues, in all areas that matter.
Whilst much deeper, transformational practices are also critical in order to truly meet the future and create a new narrative entirely, the above simple steps are powerful bridges to cultivating wellbeing, certainty and empowerment in times of chaotic, radical change.
As we live the sustainability messages holistically for ourselves and thus walk the talk all the more tangibly, the benefits are enormous to not only ourselves as entrepreneurs, but also contribute to the changes we are looking to make right now for planet and people, and for generations to come.
Take care of yourself so you can take care of others.