The Number One Factor that Makes You Look, Feel, and Perform Better in Your Business

Mental health and your business

Put on your thinking cap.

Have any idea what that all-important “number one factor” is?

If you’re coming up empty, here’s a hint: There was once a BIG stigma attached to this factor, draped in a cloak of shame and embarrassment.

People never used to talk about it — as if the subject were taboo. Bring it up at a dinner party or business meeting and you were repelled like a bad odor.

What a sad shame. 

Nobody wanted to engage in a discussion about something so vital to your life and livelihood.  People preferred to ignore it, avoid it, or sweep it under the rug.

Thank goodness those days are gone!

Still no clue what this factor is that makes you look, feel, and perform better in your business?

Then it’s time to inject a little story.

When I was a kid, I loved roller coasters.  I didn’t care about any of the other rides at amusements parks, especially any dizzying rides that went around in circles.  Those made me nauseated.  I wanted to spend the day as a thrill-seeking speed junkie!

Running your own business is a very different kind of roller coaster ride.  The ups are great and the downs are … well … not so great. 

I want to address the downs – as in feeling down.

As a small business owner, you likely have many competing demands on your time, sleepless nights, frustrations, and debt.  Not to mention doubts – which lower the needle on your self-confidence meter.  

Add the stress of deadlines, responsibilities to your family and pets, unexpected household, car, or medical expenses, and those impossible clients from hell and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a nervous breakdown.

And the more you try to mask these demons, the uglier and the meaner they get.

Nothing is as critical as your state of mind and overall well being.  It plays into every aspect of your life, including your role as entrepreneur. 

Your “mental health” is that “number one factor” in maintaining a vibrant and fruitful business.

If you don’t keep tabs on your mental and emotional well being, your business will go down the crapper.

Here’s some food for thought, taken from an article on Inc.com, “The Psychological Price of Entrepreneurship”:

“Successful entrepreneurs achieve hero status in our culture. We idolize the Mark Zuckerbergs and the Elon Musks. And we celebrate the blazingly fast growth of the Inc. 500 companies. But many of those entrepreneurs, like Smith, harbor secret demons: Before they made it big, they struggled through moments of near-debilitating anxiety and despair–times when it seemed everything might crumble.”

[Bradley Smith is the CEO of Rescue One Financial in Irvine, California]

Take it from one who knows (that would be me): Internal struggles can cause external troubles.  The least of which is insomnia and weight gain. Been there. Done that.

The solution is simple. Share your feelings with others.  Really.  Just do it and see what happens.

And don’t discount the healing power of humor.

I assure you the stigma surrounding mental health issues and the ban on the battle has been lifted.  Amen!

My go-to counselors and confidantes are my fellow blogging buddies in the Word Carnivals group. If something is bugging me, they listen. Without question, these folks are some of the busiest, most creative, and hardest-working professionals on the planet. 

Yet they consistently and willingly take the time to lend support, laced in love and virtual hugs.  It’s something we do for one another and it’s beautiful. 

My entrepreneurial life would be garbage without them.

By the way, today’s post is part of our monthly Word Carnivals. Treat yourself and your soul with the opportunity to meet some of these sanity savers by catching their take on “Mental Health and Your Business”. You’re worth it!

  • I think I need to check out your group. I love my work, but yeah, sometimes you just need a sounding board and to know you’re not the only one!

    • I’ll put in a good word for you, Alisa. Would love to have you in our Word Carnival group. It’s the tiniest and yet mightiest group on the net! (Just my humble opinion) 😉

      ” … sometimes you just need a sounding board” I couldn’t agree with you more. I jokingly refer to myself as an outgoing introvert (probably an oxymoron in there somewhere – LOL). I’m one of those fiercely independent solopreneurs — someone who sure could use a shoulder to cry on once in a while, someone to brainstorm with, and another human being to bounce ideas off.

      Heading over to read your “Message in a Bottle” piece. Sounds intriguing! Thanks for the visit today. 🙂

  • It is incredibly powerful to acknowledge how you are feeling and how that might be affecting everything you do. In the darkest moments, it is helpful to look back at all of the goals you have achieved (rather than the ones that you haven’t) and to give yourself and your business credit for how much you have been able to accomplish. The next step is to make a plan to achieve the next set of goals, or to modify them into something that you can actually do if they were too ambitious.

    • Thanks for your input, Celeste. Very sweet of you to stop by and join the conversation.

      I agree — recognizing and applauding your accomplishments is good for the soul! 🙂

  • Melanie I love the advice to simply share your troubles. I can’t count the number of times I’ve felt lighter simply by talking about a problem. And absolutely the carnies are a go to place for me. For everyone who reads this find or develop a place where you can safely share, kibitz, and grow as a small business owner. It pays for itself.

    I’ve noticed that sharing followed by humor is the best recipe to feel better.

    • Thanks a heap for weighing in, Nicole!

      ” … find or develop a place where you can safely share, kibitz, and grow as a small business owner. It pays for itself.” Yes! Bingo!! FOR SURE!!!

      And for someone who has a recording of her laugh on her website …
      I know you understand and believe in the power of humor. 😉

  • The healing power of humour and staying positive and having a mentor group, all of them attributes we should aspire to Mel.

    It is sometimes so hard to find humour when you’re black, but recently watching a young couple who are under duress resorting to black humour and laughing uproariously at their jokes, I saw first hand how it can work to open the spirit to a lighter side. Some self development guru, can’t remember who also said that if you smile you move muscles that release endorphins and that even if you don’t feel you can smile, you just have too because endorphins make us feel good. And I think the same person said that just saying, ‘I’m happy’ like a mantra can trigger the same response.

    But if that is not easy to do, then turning to a group who have shared together over a period of time is gold. I am with so with you on that. Thanks Mel for your wisdom on this subject.

    • Let’s consider this the TRIPLE WHAMMY of maintaining good mental health …
      “The healing power of humour and staying positive and having a mentor group.” 🙂

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Sandy, and you’re right about endorphins. Both laughter and smiling cause the release of these wonderful “feel-good” hormones. I’ve said it a hundred times and I’ll say it a hundred more … a sense of humor will take you a long way in life. It makes a difference in every kind of relationship in life, including relationships in business.

      On a personal note …
      I just can’t tolerate being around people who are sticks in the mud. You know … those who never smile and can’t find the humor in anything. It’s really hard to imagine working with a business partner or client who’s dry, dull, and dismal. I wouldn’t last a day!

      I’m so grateful you’re part of the Word Carnivals group. I especially love the “Australian” phrases and customs you share. 😉

  • Take it from someone who frequently uses the emotional generosity of the carnival group to vent it all out… it works! Sometimes I just go in there and spout it out and feel better immediately because I know someone is there listening. It’s so great to have that kind of group and all you wonderful people. Love your take on this!

    • Know what’s really amazing, Carol Lynn? To my knowledge, members of our group have never met in person, face to face. And yet we’ve developed relationships with one another that are absolutely unsurpassed. It’s a wonderfully secure feeling to be able to count on such rock solid support. 🙂

      Thanks for dropping in!

      • That is pretty amazing, isn’t it? I’m so grateful for this group.

        • Ditto that!!

          • Imagine the day we do meet face to face!

            • I think about it all the time, Sandy.

              It’s not often a group on the internet clicks the way we do. Makes me smile. I think one key factor is the “size” of our group. I’m convinced that’s why we’re close-knit.

  • Damn straight about humor.

    There have been so many times when humor has saved my butt; whether it was dealing with a difficult client or facing near total pennilessness… humor was the thing that helped me turn it all around.

    Sharing how you’re feeling – even if it’s just to one other person – can most definitely change your perspective. I have a really hard time with this sometimes, especially if the topic is sensitive or related to an interpersonal dispute. I almost always run things having to do with my business past my wife, whose perspective is totally different from mine. Even if she disagrees with my handling of something, she’ll give me the perspective I need to be able to refine my argument or even find a better perspective.

    Anyway, yes – virtual hugs for life.

    • Sounds like you and your wife make an awesome team, Nick! It’s really downright helpful when you have someone who can see things through a different window, keep you grounded, and lend rock solid problem-solving advice. 🙂

      Humor. Yes, yes, YES!! Truth be told, I think it’s a person’s greatest asset.

      Virtual hugs for life back at ya! And thanks for weighing in.

  • Nobody should ever have to feel like they’re all alone. Even if we’re surrounded by friends and family, that may not be enough! All small biz owners definitely need a group of peers and colleagues they trust. Great advice, Mel!

    • We definitely need supportive “peers and colleagues we can trust”, Tea …

      And I’m feeling blessed to have several. (That includes YOU) 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Good tip, Melanie – sometimes talking things through is all you need to get perspective. I also agree with the philosophy of focusing on the positive. I can say from personal experience that being positive can become a habit and keeps the downs less frequent and shorter. 🙂

    • Thanks for the visit, Sharon!

      I think we all “get” the power of positive thinking, along with the empowerment that ensues. But it’s not always a cinch to stay in that frame of mind, is it? On our worst days and through our toughest challenges, having a support system is priceless.

      Love this …
      ” … being positive can become a habit.” 🙂

  • I love your philosophy, Cathy, and it works!

    In essence …
    “Breathe in the good and exhale the bad.” 🙂

    Thanks so much for catching my post.

  • Well done, Melanie. I discovered how debilitating stress can be in my corporate days. I firmly believe my survival depended on me finding a different path. Little things, like making my walks a priority or rearranging my schedule to accommodate the needs of my 91-year-old mother have brought me greater peace.

    Sure, I have the stress of the up and down cycle of freelancing, but I always try to remember that low time in my corporate life to put it in perspective. Embrace the positive. Release the negative.

    Thank you for a thoughtful post, Melanie.