Over the last 16+ years of my entrepreneurial journey, I’ve actually experienced a couple mental and emotional breakdowns from stress and anxiety that have led to extended bouts of depression.
My 2 favorites from the highlight reel:
- 2007: right at the front edge of the Great Recession, about midway through what ended up being a 21 bank odyssey to get financing for what would eventually become our office, I was sitting at my computer putting in another really late night, and my vision just went out, a complete blur. I didn’t really know what to do, so I just laid down on the floor for a bit, hoping my vision would come back…and it did.
- The 2nd, 2012..while my business partner Brandon and I were trying to completely rebuild our business model on the fly, feeling like everything was just crumbling down around me…all while my wife and I were expecting our 1st child. I was in my doctors office for my annual checkup, and with one single question, “So how are things?” the wall I had built to keep hold it all in, came crumbling down and I just lost it…tears, crying the whole thing. Not pretty.
Both times, I leaned on my network of friends and peers, many of whom were fellow members of Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) to help me get through it, and in time, the experiences forged me into a better entrepreneur, leader, husband, and father and as a certifiable Type-A Achiever, I’ve also worked really hard over the years to decouple my work from my worth.
And I know nearly all leaders like you have similar stories of your own crucible periods…or as former EO Global Chair, Bubu Andres, put it, “the details may be different, but the spirit…the spirit is the same.”
Why do we continue to put ourselves and our families through these stresses, struggles, and difficult situations?
Because what we do is important. What we do matters.
We drive innovation. We create jobs and support families. When others sit on the sidelines, willing to just whine and complain. We act. We lead the way forward.
I have found leadership to be a lot like oxygen.
I have a lot of friends who are avid scuba divers, and I actually got certified and did some dives off the coast of Spain. If you’ve never done it, it’s a pretty remarkable feeling to be deep under water seeing a whole different world, but still be able to breathe. But do you know when are you most aware of the oxygen in your tank? When it’s starting to run low, when there is a lack of it.
Leadership is much the same.
With great leadership, things just work, and you don’t even notice it. It’s only when there is a lack of leadership, do we all become oh so aware of the situation.
The world is starved for great leaders, heck even for adequate ones. So, keep growing and developing your skills.
Keep leaning into uncomfortable situations to drive progress.
Keep making a difference in your business, in your family, and in your community.
We need you to continue becoming an even greater leader.