I’ve often been told that one should limit the amount of personal information that gets shared in a business relationship and conversely, keep your business separate from your personal affairs. Those lines between personal and business get blurred on occasion and vice versa.
For the most part, I’ve tried to keep the two distinct and separate. I‘ve shared limited amounts with both. In my life, the two have been on a collision course for some time. They both have affected one another.
In the case of an Entrepreneur, the two are almost impossible to keep separate because of the natural overlapping that occurs.
In my personal life, I’ve written extensively about youth mental health and depression. I write about youth mental health, not because I’m schooled as a Youth Councillor or Psychiatrist but through personal experiences with my own children. My passion for writing arose because of the tragic loss of my daughter, Maddie, more than five years ago. This led to the formation of The Maddie Project, in large part because of my ex-wife, Nicole German. So much good has come from such a tragic event which has become a well-supported legacy on behalf of my daughter.
My personal writing has been incredibly well received and feel very grateful and humbled for my supportive audience. It’s been suggested on several occasions that I chronicle my storytelling by writing a book. As flattering as that suggestion is, I didn’t want to write about a series of sad events that have happened in my life but instead wanted to do something meaningful.
In my business world, much of my writing has come from mistakes that I made with my first business. I coach entrepreneurs and business owners to avoid the same financial pitfalls as I did and how to avoid a similar fate to their businesses. This was the original intent behind The Finish Line Group.
The other aspect of my life that has been well-chronicled has been my battle with depression over the last 15 years. How I look at things today is through the lens and judgement of mental illness that has come from events stemming from both my personal and business world.
When you look at my world through these three elements; the loss of my daughter, the loss of my first business and my battle with depression, it gives me a unique perspective on things.
Through my exhaustive research over the last number of months and years, I’ve attempted to bio-hack myself into a better, more compassionate, empathic and candid version of my old self. I discovered that Entrepreneurs have a mental illness (depression, anxiety, addiction) at more than twice the rate as the average adult. * Logically, this makes sense. There’s the constant financial and emotional pressures of running the business and the stress of balancing work and home life.
Male entrepreneurs, in particular, are in even more dire straits because many don’t communicate their fears and struggles. Many are left to try to figure things out on their own, and the majority don’t seek any professional help in part due to the stigma associated with mental illness, and also because they feel no one will be able to relate to their situation.
The other aspect which impacts many depressed entrepreneurs is being in a constant state of overwhelm. This overwhelm impacts productivity levels which is generally referred to as ‘brain fog’. Personally, I felt the crippling effects of brain fog which diminished my ability to get things done exponentially. And so, the vicious circle continues.
With so many Entrepreneurs suffering, with many in silence, this is where my unique perspective could prove to be invaluable. This is where my three worlds have collided and led me to today.
Two years ago, while contemplating the future of my life, I was forced to make some harsh decisions; to continue to go on struggling or to do something drastic that could positively affect my life and the life of many others like me. I decided upon the latter.
I’ve decided to focus my attention on four distinct areas:
- Helping business owners (in particular, those with symptoms of situational depression and anxiety) to leverage their businesses to build strong, guaranteed, tax-preferred financial assets. This will help them alleviate a lot of the current financial stress that they are under, give them a secure financial nest egg for their eventual retirement and give them a financing option other than the bank.
- Create an Environment of Mentoring: By creating an exclusive member network of entrepreneurs that they can access to help support and mentor other business owners within the member community to give advice, guidance and encouragement at various points throughout the lifecycle of a business and business leaders’ development. At the very least, having someone on the other end of the phone who can listen and empathize with what they are going through.
- Productivity Enhancement: Suffering from brain fog is debilitating for anyone but especially for entrepreneurs. It cripples your creativity, drive and productivity. This is an area that I’m very passionate about and have done a tremendous amount of research and experimenting with. Things like diet, environment, exercise, light, sleep all have a tremendous effect on our productivity. There are other aspects which also directly impact this aspect of our life. Proper habit forming, task tackling and accountability, all can have a significant influence upon what you can accomplish daily.
- And most importantly, discover how to fall in love with running your business and your life again. The challenge that I experienced was that I felt like a hostage within my business. I became resentful of my business and the control it had upon me. Originally, I went into business for flexibility and ability to conduct business on my terms. It became apparent that the inverse was true, for my business controlled me.
I believe Entrepreneurs are a special breed. When they’re at their best, they have unparalleled passion, purpose and vision. When you lose these characteristics, you’re left in a job that you can’t escape.
If you are an entrepreneur or business owner that has struggled or know of someone who might need a hand or an ear to bend, don’t hesitate to share my information. There’s no doubt that this specialized service speaks to a growing demographic that numbers indicate will only continue to rise. Confidentiality is taken very seriously.
Save Lives. Preserve Passion. Create Greatness. Love Life.
- Going It Alone: The Mental Health and Well Being of Canada’s Entrepreneur by the Canadian Mental Health Association