Five Ways that Therapy improved my ventures
After reading ‘The 5 AM Club’ by Robin Sharma, I couldn’t shake the idea that my business will only meet where I am. To be an entrepreneur is to conquer yourself daily so that you can succeed in your venture. As an entrepreneur, you are taking a risk on yourself and choosing to believe in yourself. This means that you cannot afford to be the one getting in your way. I didn’t go to therapy because I wanted to improve my venture but I could see improvements in my ventures.
In ‘15 Secrets about Time Management’, Kevin Kruse states that saying ‘yes’ to one thing is always saying ‘no’ to many other things. When I first went to therapy, it was clear that I had a problem with boundaries. This showed up in many ways in my ventures. For example, I had trouble choosing the correct people to work with because I was always mixing business with friendship. I also struggled with time management. I found myself working all the time on my ventures without taking a break. I, of course, justified this unhealthy behavior with the fact that I was my own boss and owed it to my dreams to keep working. It took a therapist and a mental breakdown to admit that I owe to my business to create work boundaries. In retrospect, it is very easy to sometimes forget that you are also an employee in your venture when you are also the owner. I recently saw a meme that stated ‘If your new job welcomes you by saying ‘Welcome to Our Family, just know there are a few human rights about to be violated’. So how many human rights are you violating on yourself?
My favorite limiting belief would be ‘I am an introverted extrovert. I am not good with people.’ This crippled the way I interacted with people, especially those I needed in my ventures. Networking felt like my own personal hell. We all have these things that we tell ourselves that we are not capable of as fact. I agree that there is a need to be self-aware and admit that we are no good at certain things. However, therapy taught me that I shouldn’t talk about areas that I am not good at as if it will always be like that. I am now intentional to call these areas ‘growing areas’ and not my inabilities. This way of thinking has expanded my desire to learn and my ability to dream. I refuse to believe that my dreams are too big. I even have a policy that if something really scares then I should pursue it. I wish the same for you too. May your dreams always scare you because then they are big enough as stated by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
The first time I thought about therapy and entrepreneurship marrying was when I heard it from founders of SoulCycle, Julie Rice and Elizabeth Cutler, speaking on the podcast ‘How I built this’ by Guy Raz. Julie and Elizabeth had to go to therapy to keep their working relationship healthy. I found this really fascinating and it challenged me to think about how much Julie and Elizabeth valued their venture that they had to invest in a therapist to make sure their relationship never got in the way of the business Going to therapy improved the relationship and this improved how I treated others. I especially had a challenge with expecting too much from myself and in turn others. Learning to unlearn this trait was not only good for me but also for my team. Going to therapy will allow you to unlearn and learn habits that affect your relationships.
Ever had a day that was really bad and you just found yourself lashing out at everyone around you? Well, this is my life story. I would be having an inconvenience in one area and it would rule my whole existence and everyone around me. My problems always became everyone’s problem. Therapy taught me to feel my feelings without inviting second-party partakers. I learned to hold space for myself and contextualize my feelings. This newfound skill not only made me a better person for my team but also a better decision-maker. As an entrepreneur, it is very easy to make emotional decisions without data and insight when you are not in touch with your feelings. Having a handle on your feelings will really take your venture to the next level.
When I was growing up, I was always number one in my class. Being the best became my identity. When I started a business and I failed, it was very easy to shift to thinking that I am a failure. Of course, I didn’t say it aloud but I thought it and I felt it. Therapy taught me to understand that the failure of my business had nothing to me. It was the methods that I used and the market I approached. My therapist taught me to say that I didn’t fail but my methods failed. I had heard the story about Thomas Edison’s failed attempts to make a light bulb but it was until I had failed that I got the amount of mental power that Thomas had. Sometimes you need someone to give you the tools to be able to keep rising. On the other hand, one of the best pieces of advice that I have ever received is that to be a great entrepreneur is also to know when to quit. Sometimes failure is a lesson and redirection and other times it’s just failure and you need to move on. It takes a lot of courage and wisdom to know the difference.
Dear Entrepreneur, I just spent the past more than 1000 words oversharing intimate moments from my therapy sessions trying to encourage you to book your session. I know that you probably think that therapy is too intimate. Maybe you fear that you will be telling someone your deepest fears just for them to give you advice. Perhaps you are afraid of what things you will have to deal with from therapy. I know too well the fear of facing the things that you pretend not to deal with but even better I know the relief that comes from letting go of the grip to have it all under control. Therapy allows you to maximize your human experience which in turn will lead to a better entrepreneur. Book that session!