How I manage a business with depression and anxiety


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Were living at a time when things are played out in public more than ever before. Spend a few minutes on Facebook, then hop over to TechCrunch , and you discover countless examples of your peers killing it, crushing it, or whatever the verb of the week might be. However, theres often a deep gap between media misconception and reality.

The fact is that life is also possible stressful, lonely, and totally depressing at times. Yet these usually arent the adjectives used on Facebook or at cocktail events.

I started a software company after law school for $100. I purposed up selling it for $20 million to Intuit. Ive since constructed another company thats grown into a multi-million-dollar business. Ive got an incredible spouse( and business spouse) and four thoughtful, beautiful, and talented kids. Ive been featured on radio, Tv, and publish. And, except for the times when I forget to bringing the snack for the football squad, I likely look like Ive got things together.

But thats only part of the narrative. Underneath the smile, self-doubt and nervousnes are often running the prove.

I wake up worried that were igniting through money, and that Im going to let my husband down. I worry that sales are soft. I havent done enough, and Ill need to let some employees move. Ive had panic attack where I literally couldnt drive my automobile; one time I fainted on the bathroom flooring. When Im interviewed about my success, part of me feels like a fraud. And when I sold that first business for 20 million? I purposed up sensation hollow and empty like okay, what the hell am I supposed to do now ?

I dont say any of this to gain compassion or build the instance that a CEOs life is harder than anyone elses. Rather, Id like to underscore that we are all humans and as such, we all have fights, whether theyre visible or not. I used to believe that CEOs had everything together or at the least every Ceo but me. I now realize that we all have our own luggage and shit to deal with. We just tend not to talk about it in the corporate world.

So, how do I oversee my nervousnes and depression while operating a business? Here are a few things Ive learned in this journey:

You are not your business

For more than a decade, I allowed myself to be defined by my businesss performance its revenue, profit, client ratings, and employee comfort. The difficulty here is that every failing( and there are always failings) was a crushing jolt to my self worth. When you discover each little mistake as hurting your value as a human being, decisions become scarier and scarier to build to the point where simple things become downright agonizing.

You are NOT your business. Your business comes from your fervour, imagination, and hard work. But its just one face of you its not whom you. If you have children, you may have realized that your kids have psyches and the identity cards of their own. While your children may indicate parts of you, they are not you and you are not your children. Its the same with your business.

Build a balanced life that espouses all the other parts of your identity your values, household, pals, hobbies, side projects, and other interests. Its important were told that you matter outside of work. Your self worth should never be defined by your business worth( or your net worth, for that are important ).

Take care of yourself physically

Stressed out entrepreneurs often build themselves less emotionally resilient by forgetting their physical health. You know what Im talking about. Your diet sucks. You dont get enough sleep. You sleep with your smartphone by your side. Youre too busy to go to the gym. But when you mistreat your body, your mood and emotional health suffer.

After realise the link between my own stress, fatigue, and panic attack, I started adopting simple rituals like aromatherapy, green tea, and meditation. Im at the gym for a fitness or dance class each morning( its as big a priority as any other appointment in my calendar ).

Ive also learned to change my mindset when it comes to work and time off of work. Smartphones, be included with ego, create an over-inflated sense of urgency where you start thinking that every email, text, and voicemail requires your immediate response. But, guess what the world wont go crashing down if I dont check my email every night.

Set your schedule

People are attracted to entrepreneurship in order to have more control over their career and life. However, current realities is often quite the opposite: youll soon find yourself pulled in a hundred other direction, needing to answer to clients, customers, investors, media, partners, employees, etc. When youre pulled in all these different directions, its easy to become grouchy and lose sight of “the worlds biggest” picture.

As a CEO and entrepreneur, its important to determine your agenda and take charge of how you spend your time. You cant please everyone( this is another big lesson Im still trying to learn ). Youll need to focus on the things that are a priority for you and the business. You can still say yes to things, but just be sure to frame your participation in terms of whats realistic for you.

Talk about it

Being CEO can be a lonely experience. And, the loneliness is worsened when you feel the need to mask your emotions and play along with the fake it until you make it mantra.

Start to share your true feelings and dreads with others with your spouse, your best friend, your colleagues and employees. If youre fight with something, tell person. Its downright scaring at first but trust me, this will be a game changer. When you are able to open yourself up and be emotionally honest, you can finally connect more deep with everyone around you.

It has been freeing be recognised that my company has ups and downs. By letting run of the illusion that everything is perfect, I can build smarter decisions for the business. Im no longer driven by fear or shame.

Get professional subsistence

Most importantly, dont be afraid to ask for help: discover a healer or other mental health professional “if youre having” significant nervousnes or depression. In all franknes, I think everyone whether they have symptoms of nervousnes or depression can benefit from a weekly or monthly check-in. Therapy can help you navigate specific issues, as well as give you much-needed time to reflect and develop. Regular conferences with a good healer can be one of the best investments you make for yourself as private individuals and business leader.

I dont want to discourage anyone from starting a business. Even with the struggles, I wouldnt want to choose any other path. Hopefully, some parts of my experience can help you with your own journey. And, if things are tough, theres no shame. It isnt easy for any of us.

For more resources on how to seek professional assist, visit the American Psychological Association’s website. For international resources, this list is a good place to start. If you need urgent assistance, text the Crisis Text Line at 741 -7 41.

Nellie Akalp is an entrepreneur, business expert, talker, writer, spouse, and mother to four. She is the founder& CEO of, an online legal document filing service, where she helps entrepreneurs incorporate, sort LLCs, file DBAs and keep their businesses in compliance .

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