A while ago, Pete Brown shared this personal article about mental health.
Mental health is something I’ve been thinking with for a while, and something – as a small brewer who was (and still is, if I can get Emmanuales back off the ground), wanting to grow a business in a vast sea of beer with much bigger ships afloat – I’ve struggled with.
It’s so easy to look on Instagram at the brewery down the street (and in Sheffield, they seem to be around every corner!) and assume everybody else is smashing it and having a great time collaborating together, while you’re a nervous wreck trying to keep it all going, fretting over cash flow issues, plate spinning, and staring into space whilst mashing in thinking, ‘What am I doing here?!’.
And whilst you’re desperately trying to keep up with appearances on social media, behind the X-Pro and Valencia filters, putting up the personal facade that you’re in craft beer and having a whale of a time, you wake up and wade through everyday with a low level hum of anxiety that you cannot shake, and ride that wave until you either crash into bed exhausted or it’s beer o’clock, which – these days – is more often than not.
In a vicious circle, you feel too overwhelmed so you take to Instagram to kill a few brain cells and numb the anxiety for a while. But, unfortunately, social media acts as a fuel that fans the flames, often feeding the depression with the sense that, ‘I’m not enough’, ‘I don’t measure up’, ‘I’m not as good as [insert other businesses here]’, or basically, ‘They’re doing much better than me; I suck!’.
In turn, rather than resolving to make a plan and put it into action, this leaves you with feelings of inertia, like a rabbit in the headlights not knowing which way to turn or what to do to be right. Rather than doing something, you end up doing nothing, and the circle is complete, putting asunder any pro-activity that would help to grow your business and reinfocing that inner dialogue.
Like Pete Brown and many other who attest to it or even swear by it, in having professional counselling, I discovered how keeping yourself mentally fit and healthy is vital for both our personal well being and that of our business, as physically is.
I still sometime lose the plot in my head and play the same old tapes, which get me the same results. But I’ve learned to say this to myself:
You can change the funking record!
Chapter One of Steven Covey’s book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People – Being Proactive – carries so much wisdom and insight on the issue of mental health. In short, how you view it and the language you use defines how you do it.
So, if that means talking it through with a professional counsellor, invest the time and money; it’s worth every penny. You wouldn’t hesitate in spending that money on a pump that wasn’t working properly or replacing that keg faucet that won’t stop dripping.
How much more valuable to your family, your friends and your business is your well being?