We don’t tend to think of ourselves as athletes. And yet, that’s what all entrepreneurs are. Mental athletes. Entrepreneurs use their minds to make decisions, design and build systems and communicate to others. They are mental athletes.
If you take the “mental athlete” concept to heart, it becomes immediately clear why mental health is so important for entrepreneurs. Elite physical athletes spend an inordinate amount of time making sure their bodies are primed for performance. Basketball superstar LeBron James spends upwards of $1.5M dollars a year on his body. He hires personal chefs, nutritionists, physical therapists, and strength and conditioning coaches to make sure that he can stay healthy and his body can perform at an elite level.
Entrepreneurs should be thinking in a similar manner. If your job is dependent on your mind, isn’t it in your best interest to make sure your mind is as healthy and performant as possible?
Additionally, entrepreneurs have been found to report incidences of mental health illnesses at even higher rates than the general population.
So how can you address your mental health and reap the rewards of smarter decision-making and a calmer demeanor?
1. Make it a priority
LeBron puts over a million dollars a year into his body. You don’t need to spend quite that much but you should make your mental health a priority. Devote consistent time and money to your mental health. This could mean working with a therapist, making time to exercise, regularly meditating, or even spending time outside in nature.
2. Work with an executive-focused mental health professional
The working life of an entrepreneur is different from most regular jobs. There’s a lot more chaos, a lot more uncertainty, and potentially a lot more stress. When working with a mental health professional you want to make sure that the individual you’re working with has some knowledge of what it means to be an entrepreneur/founder. This will allow them to relate to your experience and administer therapy in a way that fits with your life.
3. Exercise, exercise, exercise.
We tend to think of mental and physical health as two separate buckets, but the reality is they are closely linked. After all, your brain is a part of your body. Understand that staying physically fit is one of the best ways to keep your mental health strong. Often it might seem like your business doesn’t give you the time to work out, but the reality is that exercising can be the most valuable thing you do for your business.