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The Biggest Health Hurdles Entrepreneurs Face, and How to Combat Them

The Biggest Health Hurdles Entrepreneurs Face, and How to Combat Them

Take a guess at the most significant health hurdles entrepreneurs face. Common assumptions might be high blood pressure from the ongoing stress of the job, or maybe obesity from being too busy to exercise regularly. However, you might be surprised to hear about the health data researchers have actually uncovered while comparing entrepreneurs with the rest of the population.

We think of being driven, innovative, gutsy, and self-sustaining as typical entrepreneurial traits. We know that it takes a special level of commitment and continuous learning to get a business off the ground and keep it there. So with all of this effort pointed in one direction, it stands to reason that entrepreneurs might have a tendency to neglect their health (along with a variety of other things in life) to pursue the growth and success of their business. However, one poll by Gallup seemed to suggest just the opposite pattern – entrepreneurs tend to be even healthier than other workers – at least in the physical sense.

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study by Louisiana State University revealed an interesting pattern in a town that was heavily populated by small businesses – Summit County, Colorado. They found that as small businesses continued cropping up around town, the health of the community as a whole improved. Obesity, diabetes, and mortality rates all declined steadily, ranking at less than half the national average.

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entrepreneurs health

    While they may have a decent hold over their physical health, multiple studies have suggested that mental health problems are more common for entrepreneurs, and may even run in their families. In particular, self-reported rates of depression, ADHD, and bipolar disorder were significantly higher for entrepreneurs, while anxiety was just slightly higher. Businessman, investor, and successful tv personality, Robert Herjavec admitted to People magazine that he felt suicidal after his divorce, showing how even the richest and most famous business owners were subject to severe mental health issues.

    When considering the fact that entrepreneurs tend to have more freedom and flexibility than the average worker, you can see how they might have more time for exercise and healthy meal planning. Success in business requires a take-charge attitude, which many entrepreneurs seamlessly apply to their workout and dietary habits as well. However, they also tend to have much greater levels of responsibility and have more difficult decisions to make throughout the work week. Thus, the taxing aspects of running a business seem to weigh on the mind more heavily than the body.

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    Bridging the Gap

    What can be done to balance the current gap in mind-body well being? For one, entrepreneurs can lighten their load by simply asking for more help and support. Not only will this relieve stress, but it has also been shown to have a positive impact on the growth of a business. A study by Xero showed that “about one third of successful business owners reported asking mentors or family members for assistance. Meanwhile, among those whose businesses failed, just 14% reported asking for help.” Releasing some of the urge to handle everything and be in control can help entrepreneurs delegate tasks to other employees and develop trust. It will also free up some much-needed time to recoup from work activities.

    Entrepreneurs can also be aware of any obsessive compulsive tendencies like ruminating, overworking, and maintaining extremely high expectations. Ask any entrepreneur if they’ve ever dealt with perfectionism during the course of a project, and you’ll likely see a smile start to form. Such habits were reported as being more common in business owners, who are often self-motivated achievers by nature. Scheduling mandatory breaks at the same time each day can help prevent entrepreneurs from feeling powerless to these ingrained habits. Planning ahead properly and knowing what to expect is a huge stress reliever – keep a calendar or a to-do list to stay productive at work. If employees and managers know their objectives and their work schedule is clearly defined, they have a better chance of success. By directing some of that intense focus toward relaxation, expression, and self-care, entrepreneurs can break the cycle of mental stress and burnout.

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    Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory/Stokpic via stokpic.com

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    Last Updated on March 29, 2021

    5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

    5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

    When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

    What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

    The Dream Type Of Manager

    My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

    I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

    My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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    “Okay…”

    That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

    I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

    The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

    The Bully

    My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

    However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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    The Invisible Boss

    This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

    It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

    The Micro Manager

    The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

    Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

    The Over Promoted Boss

    The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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    You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

    The Credit Stealer

    The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

    Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

    3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

    Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

    1. Keep evidence

    Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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    Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

    Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

    2. Hold regular meetings

    Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

    3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

    Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

    However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

    Good luck!

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