In this episode of Lead With Soul, we're talking all about mental health and how it impacts us as entrepreneurs.
I share about my personal journey with mental health, strategies and tools I use to prioritize my mental health and tips for how to effectively navigate mental health when it comes to your business and brand.
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Episode 4: How to navigate mental health as an entrepreneur
Welcome to Lead With Soul — The podcast for spiritual entrepreneurs who are ready to build an impactful and profitable brand, create a thriving and sustainable business that aligns with your values, and experience more freedom, fulfillment and abundance in your life and business — while making a positive difference in the world. If you’re ready to elevate your business and brand to a new level, manifest your vision into reality and embody the leader you know you’re meant to be — this is the podcast for you. I’m your host, Intuitive Brand Strategist & Designer, Kimberly King.
Before we dive into today's episode, I do want to add a disclaimer and let you know that some of the content may be potentially triggering or sensitive since the topic is mental health. I wanted to add this disclaimer so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not you feel comfortable listening to today's episode. That being said, I would absolutely love for you to listen to today's episode. And I hope if you do choose to listen to today's episode, it provides some value for you and helps you feel less alone if you are struggling with your mental health. I also want to acknowledge that some of the suggestions that I've shared in this podcast episode may not be accessible or available to you. So please take what does resonate and leave the rest.
So today I want to talk about a topic that I'm extremely passionate about. It's part of my bigger purpose and mission behind my business. It's something that I have been personally affected and impacted by. And it's something that I don't think is talked about nearly enough in the entrepreneur and business world, and that topic is mental health. So I want to start by sharing a little bit about my own personal experience and journey with mental health. I have struggled with my mental health for as long as I can remember. Something that I haven't really opened up about or really shared with many people is that when I was younger, I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, depression, and obsessive compulsive disorder. I've also had times in my life where I've struggled with feeling suicidal and times in my life where the anxiety and depression has been so bad that I've been unable to work or even function in day-to-day life.
This is extremely difficult for me to talk about and to share, but I know that I'm not the only one. I know that there are so many people out there who are struggling with their mental health. And part of the reason that it's so difficult to talk about is because there's so much stigma around mental health. There can be feelings of shame or embarrassment or being scared to ask for help. So this is just one reason why I want to share this podcast episode and talk about how it impacts us as human beings, as entrepreneurs, as small business owners and as spiritual leaders. So I really want to share some things that I've learned along the way and that have really helped me on my journey.
And I do want to preface this by saying that your experience is unique to you and what works best for you is also unique to you. I'm not going to tell you that I know exactly how you feel, because even if we've had similar experiences or a similar journey, the way that you have experienced it is unique to you. So I'm going to share things that I've worked for me and things that I've experienced on my journey with mental health, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it's going to work for you or be the right thing for you. So I really want to encourage you to check in with yourself and be present with yourself and be gentle with yourself as you figure out what it is that you most need and what works for you. I also want to add a disclaimer that I am not a therapist. I am not a psychologist. I'm not a counselor. I don't have a degree in human psychology. I am a certified coach, but what I'm sharing with you today is based on my own personal experiences and what I've learned along the way.
So something that I want to take a moment to acknowledge and recognize is that when you are struggling with your mental health, sometimes something as seemingly simple as washing the dishes or cooking dinner or going for a walk can feel overwhelming and even impossible. I remember when I was in a really deep depression and some days even just getting out of bed would take all the energy that I had. And I know that when you're already feeling anxious and your nervous system is on overdrive, sometimes even doing small daily tasks feels incredibly overwhelming. So I want you to know that if you are experiencing that right now, or you've experienced that in the past, you are not alone. And if that is something that you're currently experiencing, I really want to encourage you to ask for help. I know asking for help isn't always easy, but sometimes we need a little bit of extra support and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. And it's taken me a really long time to become more comfortable with asking for help and to not feel like I'm a burden or feel ashamed for asking for help. But the more that you practice asking for help when you need it, the easier it becomes.
It's important to remember that everyone's healing and journey looks different and there is no timeline that you're supposed to be on when it comes to healing or your mental health. Even if you've never been diagnosed with something or gone to see a therapist or a psychologist, if you are a human being, you've likely struggled with your mental health at some point in your life, especially when you think about 2020 alone and everything that we experienced as a collective, along with anything you may have been dealing with on a personal level or within your business or your relationships, or with your physical health. There are so many things on a day-to-day basis that can affect and impact our mental wellbeing. On top of the everyday things, when you're also running a business, you probably have a million things that are constantly running through your brain, whether that's business ideas, things you need to get done to move your business forward, messages you need to reply to, content you need to create, client calls, podcast episodes you need to record. And sometimes it can feel like the to-do list never ends. So I want to share a few things that I've learned along the way and ways that I take care of my mental health as an entrepreneur.
Something that I fully believe in and encourage my clients to practice is giving yourself permission to take time off. And this will look different for everybody depending on what your schedule looks like, what you have on your plate, what obligations you have, whether you have kids or a partner or a family. And I completely understand that it's not always simple to just take a day off. So if that feels too unattainable at the moment, how can you give yourself some extra space throughout the day, whether that's an hour or 20 minutes or even five minutes, five minutes for you to do some deep breathing exercises, to do a quick meditation. Whatever feels manageable and achievable for you at this time, start making it a priority. So I really set the intention to create space for myself every single day to take care of my mental health. This doesn't always happen. And it doesn't always look exactly the same every single day. And it's taken me a really long time to get to this point. I've been in the personal development world for about 10 years now and I only recently started being more consistent with creating that space for myself. And there are still plenty of days where I skip my meditation or I don't journal, but I'm a lot more consistent with it than I used to be because I've noticed how much of a positive impact it's had on my mental health and in other areas of my life as well. So the most important thing is to find out what works for you. If you don't like sitting still for a 20 minute meditation, then that's perfectly okay. There are so many different types of meditation and what works for one person may not work for another. And if meditation isn't your thing, that's also perfectly okay. Find the things that work for you that help you to regulate and calm your nervous system. The things that help you have a more positive mindset and the things that you really enjoy it that you feel like you can do consistently. Because when you take care of your mental health, it's going to create a ripple effect and positively impact other areas of your life.
And I know how hard it is sometimes to step away from your business, especially when you love what you do, and you have this bigger purpose and mission behind your business, but you're not going to be able to show up and highest service for yourself for your business, for your clients or for your community, if you aren't taking care of you. So a question I want to share for you to reflect on is, what do I most need right now to take care of my mental health? And that might look like changing timelines for projects, putting a launch on pause, taking the day off social media, maybe that looks like starting to look for a virtual assistant or an online business manager to support you in your business or finding a coach to support you and hold you accountable. Maybe that looks like reaching out to a friend or a family member or booking an appointment with your therapist or starting to look for one if you don't already have one. It could be something as simple as going for a walk around the block for five minutes or taking five minutes to yourself, locking yourself in the bathroom and doing a few deep breathing exercises. I used to struggle with panic attacks quite often and breathing techniques have really helped me to regulate my nervous system and come back into the present moment.
I'm also a huge believer in therapy. I've been going to therapy on and off for the past 20 years or so. And it's been incredibly effective and helping me with my mental health. And I know that therapy isn't something that is accessible to everyone depending on where you are in the world, depending on your economic status, depending on what healthcare is like where you live. So you may have to do some research to find some more accessible options or see if there are some free resources that may be able to help you and provide the support that you need. And the other thing that I want to mention with therapy is that it's really important to find a therapist that is the right fit for you, and who gives you the space that you need to express your thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
So along with creating space to take care of my mental health and working with a therapist, I also prioritize my physical health. I'm not going to pretend that I'm perfect at this. I definitely still have days where I skipped the gym or I don't eat the healthiest foods, but I also know the incredible impact that food and movement can have on mental health. And this is actually how I got started in my coaching journey, because I experienced so many struggles with my physical health growing up. And when I was about 19 or 20, I became really physically sick. And it wasn't until I worked with a naturopathic doctor and discovered the world of holistic health and nutrition. So when it comes to your physical health, are you taking time to prioritize moving your body? Are you being mindful with the food that you're putting in your body and how that's impacting your mental health? So this is a really great place to become more aware and start making small changes that will positively support your mental health.
Something else that I have learned along the way on my journey when it comes to mental health and entrepreneurship is to simplify. As much as you can, simplify. So if you haven't been following me for a while, or don't know me personally, you might not know that in 2020, my partner Matt and I decided to travel in our van full-time for about four months. We had planned to do it for quite a bit longer but with everything happening with COVID, our plans were obviously cut short. But when we decided to move into the van, we sold pretty much everything that we had, which wasn't a lot because I had previously moved out of my apartment and sold all of my things to move into an RV, but that's a story for another day. So when we moved into the van, we got rid of almost everything. I think we had about four storage bins in a storage locker of things that we wanted to keep and everything else was either in the van or we had donated or sold it. And it really opened my eyes to how little we need to live. That's not to say that there's anything wrong with having things or filling your house with things that you love, but consumerism is definitely a part of the society that we live in, at least here in North America. Clutter has a huge impact on our mental health. So if this is resonating with you, I want to invite you to start decluttering your external reality and notice if this has any impact on your mental health.
This is one of my biggest manifestation tips, because when you start to clear that space, you're creating space for more things to flow in whether that's clients or money or relationships or anything that you're working on manifesting. So if you've been feeling stuck and you've been struggling to manifest things, or you feel like things haven't really been flowing, start decluttering and simplifying. This is also something that I would really encourage you to bring into your business. So when you look at your business, do you have 20 different offers? Do you have 30 lead magnets? Do you have 20 different sales pages? Are you on 10 different platforms at once? So take some time to really sit down and look at your business and ask yourself, where and how can I simplify? And simplifying doesn't mean that you're going to have less of an impact or reach less people or make less money. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if you started to reach more people and make more money and create an even bigger impact when you start to simplify.
The last thing that I want to share for now about what I've learned when it comes to mental health and entrepreneurship is the importance of creating a support system. So definitely getting support from a therapist or a psychologist or a counselor if that's the kind of support you most need. But I also believe it's incredibly important to create a solid support system in your day-to-day life. It can make all the difference when you're surrounded by people who care about you and believe in you and who are there to support you when you most need it. And if you don't currently have a support system, I want to encourage you to start reaching out and exploring ways that you can create that support system. And if you can create a support system of other entrepreneurs who are on a similar journey and who really understand what you're going through as an entrepreneur, I honestly cannot recommend that enough. It takes so much courage to become an entrepreneur, to start your own business and to do something different. So having people that not only support you, but also understand the challenges and obstacles you may be experiencing, can make it so much easier to move through them.
So I want to take some time to talk about mental health from the perspective of someone who is working with clients, maybe you're a coach or a healer, and part of your work involves doing the inner work with your clients. So when it comes to your business, when it comes to your messaging, your marketing, your offers, your sales process, pretty much everything in your business, we need to be more mindful and aware of mental health. And I don't think that enough coaches or entrepreneurs in general are investing enough time and energy into consciously creating a business and a brand that supports and encourages the mental wellbeing of your clients and your community. So I want to share a couple experiences that I've personally had as a client that have really helped me become more aware and conscious of how I may have been negatively contributing to how we perceive and handle mental health in the coaching industry and business in general. I am definitely not perfect when it comes to this. I'm sure that I have made mistakes but the beautiful thing about leadership is that you don't have to be perfect. What matters more than being perfect is being willing to make mistakes and being open to receive feedback.
So when it comes to your business and your brand, I want to invite you to audit your messaging, your marketing, your sales process, your offers, how you work with your clients and any other part of your business and your brand that involves working with, or connecting with another human being. Because when we are connecting with other human beings, we are also working with their mental health and potentially trauma that they may have experienced, whether this is the work that you're doing or not. It's still there because at the end of the day, they are human and they have thoughts and feelings and emotions and experiences, and those things don't just disappear or separate themselves from the person that you are connecting with or working with. And this is one of the reasons why I am so incredibly passionate about more coaches and entrepreneurs in general, becoming trauma-informed and trauma-aware. If you are working with clients, with people, being more conscious and aware of how trauma can affect us and how mental health can impact us can make such a huge difference in the depth that you are able to support your clients and the capacity of the space that you are able to hold, which can massively impact the transformation and results that your client is able to experience when working with you. And it will also help you create a safer space for your clients to be able to be their fullest expression and to be seen and heard and feel understood.
So when we're talking about trauma, there's this idea that trauma needs to be something dramatic or horrific or some huge event, and this isn't always the case. Because trauma itself is not an event. Trauma is the result of what happens in our nervous system, in our bodies, as a response to a specific event. So this is one thing to consider when we're talking about mindset work and remembering how important it is to focus, not only on the thoughts that you're thinking and your mindset, but also what's happening in your body and with your nervous system. So if you don't have any education or knowledge around trauma or human psychology, I would definitely encourage you to start exploring this. And it doesn't have to be anything drastic. You don't have to go out and get a PhD to be able to positively impact your clients and your community. So start where you are and start exploring ways that you can expand your knowledge when it comes to trauma and human psychology and start integrating this into your business and your brand.
Something else that I feel is really important to mention that ties into coaching and being more trauma-informed or trauma-aware is consent. This is something that I've personally experienced more than once that I feel needs to be addressed, because I know I'm not the only one who has experienced it and I don't think it's talked about enough. If you are not in a coaching container with someone, if you have not asked permission to share feedback or personal insights on someone's choices or life or business, and if they have not given you consent to coach them on something, then don't do it. I know that your intentions are probably really positive and you just want to help people, and you may intuitively be able to see things that they might not be aware of, but if they have not given you permission or consent to coach them, then please respect that boundary. Coaching can be a really intimate and vulnerable experience. So if you haven't asked for permission to create that container of space, you might end up doing more harm than good. And in my personal opinion, it isn't ethical to coach someone without permission and without creating the appropriate container of space with them, that can support that experience. Just like how most people don't like to receive unsolicited advice, most people also don't like to be coached without consent. And I will be the first to admit that I have probably done this in the past and I've had it happen to me and I know how violating it can feel. So I really do my best to be conscious and aware of this and ask permission if I do feel called to share feedback or coach someone, and to make sure that I've created some container of space that will allow the other person to express themselves and be supported through whatever may come up for them as a result of my feedback or my coaching.
When it comes to your messaging, take some time to reflect on the messages that you're sharing with your community, through your content, and start thinking about the impact that these messages may be having on your clients and your community who may be struggling with their mental health. For example, if your content is talking about hustling and showing up every single day and not making excuses, and while your intentions are probably positive behind this messaging, it might be making your ideal client feel like the work that they're doing isn't enough, and they need to work harder and not take any days off and be constantly working on their business, even if they're sacrificing their mental health in the process. I remember an experience I had early on in my business, working with my business coach at the time, and I was dealing with some personal things, and I remember sharing a little bit with my coach, and I remember them telling me that I needed to keep showing up anyway and to just push through it. And that I could allow myself to feel the feelings or cry or be upset when I finished work for the day. So I was supposed to just turn off my emotions, pretend like everything was great and continue showing up like normal in my business. And that advice might work for some, but for me personally, it made me feel as if my emotions and what I was experiencing wasn't valid, and I needed to suppress it and ignore it, and that it wasn't okay to take a day off in my business. And later on that year, I remember burning myself out because I was working morning till night. I had overbooked myself with clients. I was working on the weekends. I was working every single day and I wasn't taking any time to take care of my mental health. This is just another example and another reason why I am so incredibly passionate about bringing more awareness to mental health and business and prioritizing our mental health as entrepreneurs.
Something else that I've noticed when it comes to messaging is the concept of being low vibe or high vibe. And this idea that if you're in a low vibrational state, then you're not going to manifest your desires and that if you want to manifest and you want to make more money, sign, more clients, have the successful thriving business that you desire, then you just need to raise your vibration. And there are a few reasons why I don't use this messaging and don't resonate with it personally. Because we are humans and we experienced a full range of emotions, and there isn't anything inherently wrong with feeling sad or angry or anxious. We need to stop demonizing emotions or labeling them as negative when they are neutral, just like money. Money is energy. Money is neutral and we get to decide what it means to us. Sometimes these so-called low vibe emotions may be exactly what we need to feel to guide us on the most aligned path. So there's nothing wrong with wanting to be in a higher vibrational state, but when we say things like positive vibes only, it dismisses people's real life, human experiences, feelings, and emotions, and it can downgrade the power of feeling a full range of emotions. And it can sometimes lead to people, avoiding feeling their feelings, which is one of the best ways to move through and process whatever is coming up for you that is causing you to feel that emotion. On the other hand, if you've been feeling those emotions more often than not, and you feel stuck in them and it's impacting your day to day life, then that could be assigned to get support and reach out for help.
The other reason why this can potentially be harmful messaging is because when someone is struggling with their mental health, sometimes it's not easy to just think positive thoughts or raise your vibration. When you're experiencing a trauma response and your nervous system is in a fight or flight or freeze response, it's not always possible to simply change your mindset and think more positively. Which is why when it comes to mindset work, it's really important to also support the body and the nervous system. Once you're able to ground yourself and regulate your nervous system, it's going to be so much easier to change your mindset.
Something else that I want to address when it comes to the language and the words that we use around manifestation is when we say things like, just change your thoughts and you change your reality or that everything you're experiencing right now is a result of your thoughts. And I know that there is so much positive and empowering intention behind these words, but the reality is it's not always that simple. While I do believe it's really important to empower your clients to be more conscious of their thoughts and emotions and how incredibly powerful they are, language like this can potentially be harmful as it dismisses very real experiences, such as racism, oppression, sexism, discrimination, and even abuse, and it can create feelings of shame or guilt or a potentially make someone feel as if they are doing something inherently wrong and that they are at cause for traumatic events that they have experienced in the past. Now I'm not saying that you need to filter absolutely everything you say or do because no matter what you say or do, there are going to be some people who don't agree with your point of view. But I would like to invite you to start looking at your messaging and your marketing and conversations that you're having with your clients or your community or other people in your industry through more of a conscious and trauma-aware lens.
One more example that I want to share is when it comes to your sales process and how you market your services. So when you are offering your services, when you are selling your program, when you are on a sales call with a potential client, or even conversations with your current clients and people in your community, take a closer look at the language that you're using and the message that you're sharing. I don't see this as often nowadays, because I feel like things have really started to shift within the collective on how we approach sales and selling. But I know that fear-based selling still exists and there are still sales strategies being taught that encourage pushing your client’s boundaries, and refusing to take no for an answer, and even shaming someone or making them feel like they're going to fail if they don't invest in your program. And I know if you're listening to this podcast, that's probably not how you do sales and marketing, but I feel like it needs to be said because I was definitely taught these marketing strategies and sales tactics in the beginning of my business and I know that it's still happening within the coaching industry because I've personally experienced it and I've heard from so many other entrepreneurs who have had similar experiences as well. So even if you have a really heart-centered and authentic and genuine sales process, I want to invite you to take a closer look at your sales process and marketing strategy and see if there are any parts of your process that may still be rooted in fear-based sales or marketing. The key is to really start becoming more conscious and aware about how our business and brand may be unintentionally impacting our clients and our community and taking action steps to create a safer space for your clients and your community and start selling and marketing in a way that is more conscious and trauma-aware.
Sometimes there can be deeply rooted fear or even trauma attached to some things we might suggest our clients do. Getting visible was something that was absolutely terrifying for me. I didn't even post a video of myself until two years into my business. And that was only because I was at a business retreat with my mastermind at the time and it was something that we were encouraged to do on our lunch break and I didn't want to come back to the room not having done it. And I probably re-recorded that video over one hundred times. Maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration but it definitely felt like it. And I remember being so nervous and shaking when I decided to publish it. Thankfully I received really positive feedback, but that was something that had a lot of fear attached to it. And what really helped me to move through that fear was having the support from my mastermind and people who held that space for me to move through the anxiety and fear that I was experiencing.
A lot of the same fears came up for me when it came to my podcast. So I probably first had the idea or the vision of having my own podcast maybe four or five years ago. And that stayed as a dream for the next three years or so until I finally bought my microphone. I remember being so excited when I finally got my microphone and I couldn't wait to launch my podcast, but it wouldn't be until two years later that I would actually launch my podcast. And this is because I had so much fear around public speaking and using my voice. So for other people launching their podcast might've been super simple and easy and something that they might've done within a few weeks. But for me, it was definitely a longer process and a longer journey. And during those two years, and even before that, from the first time that I had the idea to start a podcast, I've done a ton of work on my mindset and my confidence, and working with coaches to process a lot of the trauma that was connected with using my voice and being seen and being heard and sharing my message and being vulnerable.
So I wanted to share that personal experience and that story with you, because I know how hard it can be when you see other people out there and they're doing the things that you want to be doing, and they're living the life that you might want to be living. And they might have the thriving multi-million dollar business that you might desire to have. And it can be really discouraging when you feel like you might be struggling more with certain things. The first thing that I want to remind you of is that social media is usually a highlight reel, and even if someone is being more open and sharing some of the struggles that they've experienced, it's still only a tiny glimpse into their life. It's not the whole entire picture. It might seem like certain things are really easy for them, but there may be other things that they're struggling with that come really easy to you. And someone else's timeline and journey is their own, so there's no point in comparing your journey to someone else's because their journey isn't meant for you, your journey and your timeline is meant for you. And it doesn't matter if it takes you two years or five years or even 10 years to launch the business, launch the podcast, create the course, write the book, host the retreat. Whatever the thing is, it's okay for you to take as long as you need to work through and process the fears and the doubts and the beliefs, and potentially the trauma that may be connected to those things that you desire. So get whatever support you most need to start that process. And if you're already on that process and on that journey, I want to acknowledge and celebrate you because it's definitely not easy. And being an entrepreneur, starting your own business, launching the podcast, writing the book, creating the course, all of these things require so much vulnerability and courage. So trust the process, trust your timeline, and remember that everything that is meant for you will always find you.
So if you are struggling with your mental health, I want you to know that you don't have to do it alone. There are so many great accessible resources out there that can help you if you're struggling with your mental health. And I want you to know that no matter what you're going through right now, you are unconditionally loved and supported and you are worthy and deserving of absolutely everything you desire.
Thank you so much for joining me on today's episode of Lead With Soul. I'm so grateful for your support and excited to have you in this community. If you would like to hear more episodes of Lead with Soul and be the first to know when new episodes are released, please subscribe to the podcast and connect with me on social media. If you receive value from today's episode, I would love for you to leave a positive review or share the podcast on your social media channels and tag me so I can connect with you. You can find me on Facebook and Instagram or visit my website here. You can find more episodes of Lead With Soul and show notes here.
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