‘Although the truth is not always pleasant… it offers the recipient of that information the chance to change the outcome’ ~Grace Choi
Last week at Global Entrepreneurship Community , I learnt ‘startup depression’ is a common problem among startup founders and team members. We were in a circle, candid and open, our hearts swelled and poured on to the open floor. That discussion released many of us, and we gained strength from each other.
Depression is not a problem. It is a mental illness that needs serious attention. I was depressed few times in my life, and I know exactly how it affects.
When it happens to people in startups, it becomes ‘startup depression’. Developed countries are good at coining terms for just about everything. One good thing about this attention to detail is, it gets the attention it deserves. But of course, too much emphasis is not good either. Let’s strike a balance. Let’s get to the basics. Let’s deconstruct.
1. Startups get enormous attention, but it is nothing but a new small business.
Anybody heard ‘small and medium enterprises?”. Well startup is a one. Startups get tons of hype because of silicon valley glamour. It gives a false impression that startup is a guaranteed success, a pass to stardom. Reality is tough: 90% of startups die. So just stay cool. You are a SME, just that you are starting up in a hyped bubble.
2. Take care of yourself. World is just fine with out you.
Running a business takes lot of toll. Personal life also becomes work, and suddenly the success and failure of the business becomes personal. It is a bubble that we create inside our selves, and it is harmful. Going on thinking like that for many months is dangerous.
If you don’t agree with me. Take a week off. I mean it. Take a week off and see if anything major happens. It is us, who think that things cannot move with out us.
Once I took a 12 day meditation retreat with no phone and internet access. No connection to the world outside. It was the best thing to happen to me and my team.
3. Depression is not a taboo. It happens to many good people. There are compassionate people who have guts to share it.
Deepika Padukone took the mic and spoke her heart out. She has started a foundation to help people with depression.
There are now many people sharing about depression. Here’s the deal. They could have easily taken the therapy, the medication and go on with their lives. But they did not. To come out and share your story requires enormous guts. I know because I’ve been there. I was so blessed to have a wife , a boss, and a team who understood me for what I am. Also credit to me, I was candid about it and was more open about it as life moved on. Yet, early in the journey I was a closed book, because I could not figure out what was going on.
Sadly many don’t get peers, bosses and families who understand them. That’s why discussion, sharing and engagement is so important to help each other.
Each person is different on how they perceive challenges. So what worked for me, may not work for someone else. In the modern world, where everything is desired ultra fast, anyone can succumb to depression.
That is why I wrote this. I feel good. Cheers !
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