I was reading a study of research being done at the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia. This study was about entrepreneurial passion- that which drives entrepreneurs to achieve more.
This study found that entrepreneurs tend to be more worried than employees in similar professions. (That’s not really news, is it?) But what was interesting is that this study suggests that entrepreneurs, especially the successful ones, tend to demonstrate characteristics similar to hypomania.
Hypomania is a mild form of bipolar disorder- a mood disorder in which a person’s mood fluctuates from high to low in a clinicially significant way. In the lay population, you could describe these as severe mood swings- where a person moves from extreme elation, excitement, and joy to depression, anxiety, and worry very rapidly.
It reminds me of this graphic about entrepreneurship:
And we only laugh because it’s true.
This idea of subclinical hypomania among entrepreneurs is supported by John Gartner, a practicing psychologist and the author of The Hypomanic Edge: The Link Between (a Little) Craziness and (a Lot of) Success in America. In this book, Gartner argues that hypomanic tendencies can be responsible for entrepreneurial success and failure.
As a psychologist myself, I’ve seen, first hand, how hard the roller-coaster of entrepreneurship can be. Each of us carries around anxiety and worry about the future. Even when things are going well, we are aware that this could change at any minute. Cash flow is an almost constant worry, and we often have 5,000 things we could spend our money on. We don’t want to get left behind, but we don’t always know how fast to go.
This is why surrounding yourself with a group of trusted allies is incredibly important. A circle of colleagues can listen carefully, advise you well, and keep you from spiraling downward into the pit of shame, despair, or frustration. Think about this in your own life. On a day where you are overwhelmed or stressed, doesn’t talking to your friend or loved one make it better? If they are a good listener, and empathic, it definitely can; talking with this person can make you feel less alone. Now, imagine if you had a group of people who were good listeners, and empathic, and even more than that, knew exactly what you were going through, and had tailored advice that could help you right now? Can you imagine how good that would feel?
Building a business is hard. But a group of allies makes it easier.
When you have a small circle of trusted advisors, you can relax and breathe more deeply. You know that you can ask for help, and it will be given. You know that you can be stretched to move past your limitations and your fears, and that you can become a brighter and better version of yourself.
Our allies and friends polish off the rough edges, and help us become who we are here to be.
If you are looking for a group of supportive and trustworthy allies to grow with next year, then I’d like to invite you to join me in my newest project, The Business Growth Forum, where I, along with my colleague and friend, Dave Lakhani, will be taking a small group of entrepreneurs on a journey towards greater business success and deeper personal fulfillment.
We’re accepting applications now, and we’re excited by the caliber of those who have already applied. We have a seat at our table, waiting for you.
Learn more and join us: