10 Ways Mental Health Recovery Develops Great Entrepreneurs
The traits of successful entrepreneurs are closely linked to what I learned in mental health recovery. You see, my life came to a complete standstill in my early 20s when I was first diagnosed with bulimia and schizoaffective disorder. In the throes of my mental illnesses, my life had come crashing down around me. I wasn’t working. I wasn’t going to school. I wasn’t doing anything. The process of mental health recovery gave me a second chance, and psychiatric medication gave me the ability to function again. And in this second chance, I find many of the traits I developed in mental health recovery also develop entrepreneurs.
I found so many options in front of me in mental health recovery. An interest in the visual arts eventually led to a degree in commercial art technology. My life was finally showing some direction. After graduation, I decided to start my own business.
For the past two years, I’ve been meeting with mentors and attending training to learn more about becoming a successful entrepreneur. I’ve realized that many of the traits shared by successful entrepreneurs are also things I’ve learned in mental health recovery.
10 Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs I Gained in Mental Health Recovery
Here are 10 traits of successful entrepreneurs from lists on five popular business websites and how they relate to those in mental health recovery.
Medication gave me the ability to function – to focus and explore my interests and the things that matter to me. I learned so much in recovery, such as my likes and dislikes and the things that make me tick. I learned about things that make me, me. I am very passionate about art, and my passion led me to start a creative business.
2. Ability to Work Hard
Investopedia says entrepreneurs must have an “intense focus on and faith in their idea.”1 Anyone in mental health recovery knows it’s hard work. You must focus on getting and staying well and you must have faith that you’ll get to that point. If you want change, you’ll have to work for it.
Business Insider states an entrepreneur must have “a spirit of determination coupled with a high pain tolerance” as well as “willingness and ability to learn from mistakes.”2 This sign of a successful entrepreneur definitely resonates with those in mental health recovery. Recovery reveals strength and endurance you never knew you had. The website continues by saying an entrepreneur “gets knocked down repeatedly, gets up, dusts herself off, and moves forward with renewed motivation."
“Flexibility” is a trait from Business Insider. The site states, “Folks who stay on their feet are the ones who stay flexible and adjust to new information and changing circumstances.” The same is true in mental health recovery.
5. Life Balance
Balance, also listed on Business Insider, is extremely important to anyone’s wellbeing. Mental health recovery is about the whole person and family, not just your medication. All elements are important.
6. Willingness to Fail
This trait was listed on the website of the Minority Business Development Agency.3 Willingness to fail is so important to both entrepreneurs and those in mental health recovery. Recovery is not a straight line. There are lots of ups and downs and almost inevitable relapses. Symptoms return. The first medication you try doesn’t always work. Failure is sometimes a big part of mental health recovery, but it is often necessary to reach success.
“Drive” is a trait listed on the Bplans website.4 Being labeled with a mental health diagnosis only makes me want success more. I want to prove myself as an entrepreneur and the memories of my mental health struggles keep me motivated and driven.
Both successful entrepreneurs and many of us in mental health recovery excel in creativity. This can come in handy, as an entrepreneur and in mental health recovery, to think outside the box in problem-solving.
According to the website Growth Hackers, entrepreneurs have “limited resources including time” and are “masters at stretching money.”5 Many in mental health recovery share this trait as so many mental health consumers live on a limited income and need to make the most of every dollar.
This trait is also from Growth Hackers. Building a successful business requires commitment and so does mental health recovery. Both take tons of work and there will be times where you feel discouraged. It’s important to remain steadfast and committed to your goals.
Entrepreneurship and My Mental Health
I can’t say for certain that I’ll be a successful entrepreneur but my gut tells me I’m on the right path. Mental health recovery is a life-changing experience and the lessons I’ve learned will always play a huge role in everything I do.
- Seth, Shobhit. 10 Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs. Investopedia. December 15, 2017
- Price, Jim. 10 Personality Traits Every Successful Entrepreneur Has. Business Insider. February 15, 2013.
- Minority Business Development Agency. 8 Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs - Do You Have What It Takes? July 10, 2010.
- Gurnett, Kelly. 5 Key Traits of Successful Entrepreneurs. Bplans. Accessed April 14, 2018.
- Growth Hackers. 34 Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs. Accessed April 14, 2018.
Rahm, M. (2018, April 18). 10 Ways Mental Health Recovery Develops Great Entrepreneurs, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, July 17 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/recoveringfrommentalillness/2018/04/10-traits-of-successful-entrepreneurs-i-gained-in-recovery