Entrepreneurship has always been challenging, exhilarating, and an adventure with multiple risks; that’s not news. However, what’s different here and now is the context in which one must undertake it. As I’ve expressed in other articles, we have witnessed and experienced in our own lives how the pandemic catalyzed various aspects and situations, both in our general lives and our specific context. And that pre-pandemic VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous) world has undoubtedly transformed into a BANI world. That is, Brittle, Anxious, Non-linear, and Incomprehensible, as described by American author Jamais Cascio. This is then the context in which one will have to embark.
Those who embark are often idealized as “rockstars,” someone brilliant, courageous, always highly motivated and enthusiastic, strong, with a clear vision. Thus, the expectations of others grow, but worse than that, often our own expectations grow disproportionately. In psychoanalytic terms, our Superego (the psychic instance that censors, criticizes, demands, etc.) makes us compare ourselves to a Superhero; to that ideal “entrepreneurial self.” So, the complexity of the BANI context is compounded by this internal, insatiable demand.
Faced with such external and internal demands, fears of failure can arise—not just economic failure, but emotional failure as well. The fear of not achieving the success that is “expected” or anticipated, limiting beliefs (I’m not good at this, everything goes wrong for me, it’s not worth continuing to try, this has to go well for me, if it doesn’t work, I’m worthless), guilt for leaving the comfort zone and security, perhaps investing everything one had, involving others in this quixotic adventure, intolerance for mistakes, impatience, anxiety, stress, etc.
And, of course, none of this comes without costs to our mental health, and consequently, not to our physical and social health either, impacting our bodies, relationships, and many other aspects of daily life. Our identity feels threatened, our self-esteem is chipped away, and this will limit creativity and innovation—crucial elements for entrepreneurship.
For all these reasons, caring for the mental health of entrepreneurs is essential. Prevention, awareness of the implications of entrepreneurship, but also questioning whether spending our lives doing something that doesn’t fulfill us or make us happy doesn’t represent an even greater risk.
Nicolás Uribe Posada – Psychologist.
“This text is not written by artificial intelligence.”
In upcoming articles, we will address aspects related to caring for mental health while undertaking entrepreneurship.