Navigating Entrepreneurial Stress

Entrepreneurship is often an emotional rollercoaster, marked by the exhilarating highs of success and the challenging lows of setbacks. This constant fluctuation can significantly impact mental health. This special crossover of The Complete Entrepreneur and Serial Entrepreneur: Secrets Revealed session led by entrepreneurs Michael Gilmour and Colin C. Campbell highlighted this issue, referencing a Wall Street Journal article about Elon Musk’s stress coping methods. While Musk’s situation may be unique, it reflects a broader trend: research indicates that 72% of entrepreneurs struggle with mental health issues, a rate notably higher than in the general population.

While the journey of entrepreneurship is inherently filled with ups and downs, safeguarding mental health is key to enduring and thriving in this dynamic environment.

The root of these mental health challenges lies in the nature of entrepreneurship. Startups embody an “emotional rollercoaster,” exposing founders to high stress, risk, and uncertainty, often leading to a skewed work-life balance. Entrepreneurs tend to intertwine their identity and self-worth with their business success, which can lead to mental health spirals during tough times. However, there are strategies to mitigate these risks. Building a strong support network of fellow entrepreneurs and mentors can provide both emotional support and practical advice. Achieving a work-life balance is crucial; hobbies, family, and friends should not be neglected. Professional help from therapists or coaches can offer effective coping strategies, and maintaining physical health through exercise, nutrition, and adequate sleep is essential for mental resilience. It’s also important to acknowledge and embrace neurodiversity among entrepreneurs!

While the journey of entrepreneurship is inherently filled with ups and downs, safeguarding mental health is key to enduring and thriving in this dynamic environment. Entrepreneurs can navigate these challenges successfully by cultivating resilience, seeking support, and balancing their professional and personal lives. With determination and the right strategies, the entrepreneurial rollercoaster can be a ride of growth and fulfillment.

Listen to the full conversation with Colin and Michael above! 

  • Read the Transcript

    Today’s Serial Entrepreneur Secrets Revealed episode is a special feature from The Complete Entrepreneur, hosted by Michael Gilmour every Thursday at 5 p. m. Eastern on Clubhouse. This special crossover session brings together the insights and energy of both podcasts, offering a unique perspective on the entrepreneurial journey.

    Get ready for an inspiring blend of stories and strategies to enhance your own path to success.

    You’re listening to the complete entrepreneur and if you’re listening to this in replay or on podcast We do this show every Thursday at 5 o’clock Eastern on Clubhouse on the, on the club called Startup Club. Today’s topic is all about Elon Musk. Creativity, mental health, and substance abuse. This is an interesting topic because this is something that Um, we’ve seen, talked a lot about in entrepreneurship, and it’s a topic that I, I really took on in the book, Start, Scale, Exit, Repeat.

    But before we get into that, um, we have Michael Gilmour, who is our host of this show. Believe it or not, I am not the main host. It is Michael Gilmour. I am simply a co host. And we have Michele Van Tilborg, my, uh, co host. Uh, who Michele and I, we run a show every Friday at two o’clock Eastern called, uh, start, scale, exit, repeat, serial entrepreneur secrets revealed.

    And in that particular show, uh, we go into the formula of what it takes to make a startup successful. But this is a different show. But is it so different, Michael? It does take a good mental health. It does take a balance. It does take, it does, it is a skill to learn how to live the emotional side of a rollercoaster.

    Right, Michael? You’re the moderator. I’m just sort of teeing up the room as you come into the room here. And I did say, Michael, that this is going to be, uh, one of the shows that we syndicate and podcast through our, um, through our, our, our podcast network on, um, on our show, Serial Entrepreneur Secrets Revealed.

    Uh, so this will be syndicated, uh, What do you think, Michael? Sure, sure. Look, it’s, can I just say, Colin, it’s great to be here. And, uh, it looks like my app is behaving correctly this week. I, I updated it once again, um, just before we started. So, it’s, last week we had a few hassles, but, um, the app seems, seems to be behaving, uh, which is wonderful.

    But, um, yeah, I think, Colin, you’re exactly right. Like, we’re, um, one of the purposes of this show. Is to look at not just the business side of entrepreneurship, but look at the human side of entrepreneurship and the human toll that, that, that quite often is like the, the emotions, the rollercoaster you go up and down on is can be quite phenomenal.

    Like you’ve got a deal one day, you find out you’ve lost a deal. The next, um, you thought you had a, an employee who was going to be continuing with you and suddenly the next day, Oh. That employee has now decided to resign. You know, it’s, it’s a huge rollercoaster as an entrepreneur and it can be emotionally exhausting.

    And I don’t know many people who try to or, or books or, or whatever you, you look up, um, like Harvard or Harvard Business Review or some, some of these great institutions. And they, 99 percent of the material is, is really dealing with. The P and L cashflow, supply chain management, all this sort of stuff.

    But not many of them asked a simple question. How are you going? How are you going? Yeah. And it was, um, if I can just relate a story, I’ve had a bit of a roller coaster in one of my businesses recently. And, uh, one of my, um, accountants. Um, the, who’s outsourced the cabinet is he called me up and he said, Michael, how are you going?

    I know that the process you’re going through, um, is quite a rollercoaster. So, and we just talked for about 20 minutes and he asked that simple question. How are you going? And it meant so, so much to me, Colin and Michele, it really did. In fact, I saw him, um, it was a day before yesterday and I, and I spent a few minutes with him just talking about how much that meant.

    When someone genuinely just asked, how are you going? And that’s what the complete entrepreneur is all about. And I know that the topic of this is like Elon Musk, creativity, mental health, and substance abuse. Um, and it’s, it’s an interesting one. You look at Elon Musk, um, Colin, and no one can deny he’s probably one of the most phenomenal entrepreneurs the world has ever seen.

    But also no one can deny, if you’ve read any of these books, whether it be the Walter Isaacs one, Isaacson one, or any of the other Myriad books written on him, that he has another side to himself, which is like, um, not quite good. Yeah. And it’s, it’s obviously it takes an emotional toll on him, but I just want to flip across to yourself, Michele, Michele, is this a big issue that we’re about to discuss here?

    Or is this, or is this is something that, um, yeah, look, just push it aside. And really the important thing is just all about business. Yeah, I mean, this is a great, it does take an emotional toll and it is not all about business because I don’t know about you. Well, I, I, I probably do, but most of us here is the lines between business and personal life are blurred and, um, you know, we spend most of our, many of us spend most of our waking hours working and hopefully we love it.

    So it does matter. Absolutely. It certainly does, that’s for sure. But, um, for you in the audience right now, you may have some incredible stories about what your rollercoaster journey has been like and how you handled it. Or, say, you could be struggling through something right now. Put your hand up. We’d love to hear from you on the stage.

    And let’s just, let’s be a real community that’s supportive of each other. As we, um, unpack this incredibly, I think it’s incredibly important topic because there’s no such thing as entrepreneurship without the entrepreneur. And, uh, what’s the point of a business is if the founder of the business collapses.

    Um, due to stresses and strains and so forth like that. So, there’s, there’s obviously many ways where entrepreneurs as individuals can go and handle, um, some of the stresses and strains of what it means to run a bit, run their businesses. So, I, we’d love to hear from you. Put your hand up and we’ll get you up on stage here.

    And it’d be wonderful to hear from you. But Colin, and you really sort of set the tone for this at the beginning of the, the session. Um, Elon Musk, he, um, he’s an interesting character. Yeah. Uh, full of creativity and so forth. And it’s recently come out in the wall street journal that he’s got this other side to him, doesn’t he, Colin?

    Yes. And this is going to meet a very interesting conversation today. So the wall street journal, a headline that came out front page of wall street journal the other day. The inspiration for this show is Elon Musk has used illegal drugs, worrying leaders at Tesla and SpaceX. And this show is not going to be, and I know, Michael, you had some reservations about this show, cause, uh, I think, uh, he is your, one of your top heroes, and by the way, he’s mine as well, just so you know.

    Um, and I think he’s absolutely amazing, uh, you know, I think Steve Jobs was amazing. I think, uh, Tony Hsieh was amazing. Tony Hsieh started Zappos. Um, and this article talks a lot about the intensity of a startup and the founder and the entrepreneur. And it resonated well with me, this article, because in the book, Start, Scale, Exit, Repeat, which if you haven’t already heard, it became a number one bestseller on Amazon in six separate categories and continues to, uh, do very, very well on the bestselling charts.

    We did a chapter called the Toll of the Entrepreneurial Life, and in this chapter we talk about Tony Hsieh, which is interesting because the article in the Wall Street Journal talks about it as well. So we’re going to talk, I’m going to start off here a little bit with the negative side of founders personalities, but I don’t want this conversation to be dominated simply by that, because the negative side The stuff we’re going to talk about, uh, is also their superpower.

    So in the article in the Wall Street Journal, Elon Musk talks a lot about three conditions he self admits to. Asperger’s, which we know, it’s pretty clear. A couple, interestingly enough, I did not know this, he claims he’s bipolar. And he also claims he has depression in the, in the, in the article, it’s documented.

    But let me just share something, and this is where it came from, from the book. We set out on this journey to crack the code of what it takes to start, scale, exit, repeat. And I do believe the book, by the way, does cover a number of those things. What we haven’t talked about, though, is something most startup books never take the time to address.

    The toll of the entrepreneur life, we tend to be so company focused that we don’t talk about the physical and mental rigors faced by the entrepreneur as an individual or the impact, by the way, on relationships on your family and what that startup founder endures. I earlier complimented Zappos for putting together one of the best cultures of any company in recent memory.

    Like everyone, I was saddened to hear that Zappos founder Tony Hsieh had died in a fire. As of the writing of this book, the situation is still under investigation, but it is being suggested by some that sources, that drug use could have played a role in that part. We don’t know exactly, even the Wall Street Journal did not confirm this, but we do know that he was heavily, he had left the company due to drug use.

    He was heavily, um, into drugs at the time that he died. Uh, we’re not going to make any assumptions today about Elon Musk or Tony Hsieh or anyone. The fact of the matter is he did get heavily into drugs. He did die inside a fire that was caused by himself. Um, and I just, I’m going to quote this report. So I’m Michael A.

    Freeman out of the University of Berkeley. And, um, it shows that self reported mental health concerns were present, present in 72 percent of entrepreneurs. Okay? A proportion that was significantly higher than non entrepreneurs. 49%, that’s half of entrepreneurs, um, admit to one or more lifetime issues.

    Here’s an interesting thing. Because this is good, this lines up very well with the article. The entrepreneurs were significantly more likely to report a lifetime history of depression. Which oh my gosh, every entrepreneur is the most successful and they’re all amazing and they’re all successful and there’s no such thing as depression listen 30 percent of founders report depression 29 percent Support adhd and by the way that I think that’s a superpower 12 percent reports substance abuse and 11 percent report bipolar diagnosis listen, um Entrepreneurship is a drug.

    There are the good sides and the bad sides. And we’ve seen what happens when even someone like Elon Musk, there is some reports in this article that he actually made the tweets. And it’s not confirmed. And the article says it’s not confirmed. To take, uh, Tesla private. He had not slept for days. And by the way, that’s another issue.

    Insomnia. We have not even added that to the list. And by the way, there probably isn’t a founder that doesn’t have insomnia. I had it three times this week. I was up at three o’clock in the morning, three times this week, over a company that’s in our incubator, that thankfully Michele has now become CEO of.

    Um, but it’s it’s a challenge. Now that’s the negative and I’m gonna I’m only delivering the thesis here for the audience. And I’m hoping if you’re in the audience, you do resonate with this. Please come on board and tell us about the physical mental challenges that you’ve had. Okay. And the second side of this is neurodiversity.

    And this is a new area, and I’ve learned about this. Excuse me. I did a presentation on this one a few weeks ago. And neurodiversity is all about, we’re not normal. You know, we all go to school and they tell us we have to think this way and act this way and talk this way. No, the vast majority of entrepreneurs are not that way.

    Richard Branson is not that way. He had dyslexia. He had other issues. But this neurodiversity is actually the strength. The ADHD is actually what can actually make you a great entrepreneur. The bipolar can make you a great entrepreneur. Now obviously depression and addiction. Those things are not going to help you.

    But there is neurodiversity in the fact that some people who are founders or entrepreneurs, or maybe majority, in this book it’s saying 49%, in the book that we, we published, Chart, Scale, Exit, Repeat. 49 percent have, have some form of mental issue. In some cases, it, so here’s the, here’s the key question, Michael.

    How do you harvest? How do you turn something like bipolar or ADHD Or sleepless nights even into something positive make it positive. How do you do that versus Going the other way into heavy abuse drug abuse death suicide I mean you think about all those bands all those people who died at 27 years old those famous Artists and by the way, there’s not much difference between an artist and entrepreneur.

    Let’s be quite frank here Many many entrepreneurs are artists fewer entrepreneurs are operators We hired the operators. This is not to say that’s a hundred percent of the case, but that is, that is the case, so what is it that we can do to harness our neurodiversity to strengthen our ability as an entrepreneur versus allowing our personality to destroy us?

    Colin, look, you’ve raised an enormous number of things in, uh, in what you were saying just then. And, um, how do we harvest our neurodiversity? I think the, the first thing to do is I’d like everyone to look at the app and scroll upwards. And you can see the different people that are in the room and all that sort of stuff.

    Fifty percent of the people you’re looking at right now, my guess, are probably struggling in some sort of way. Fifty percent. I’m not saying who. Or individuals or anything like that. 50 percent from the stats. You’re quoting them. Um, and that’s an enormous toll on the entrepreneurial community. And one of the great things I think you can do, Colin, is have people hear.

    Others discussing this openly discussing this topic openly that they’re not alone. There’s a, there’s communities like up here, up here in clubhouse and things like that. And there’s people who have gone through, um, some of the highs and lows and all that sort of stuff. Um, and, and, uh, they have great wisdom in how to handle it that handle those sort of times.

    But Michael, Michael, you, you missed? No. You missed a mark here a little bit. Yeah. 50% of this audience have some form of mental condition that is correct, which is 95. 98% of every single person in this audience faces challenges when they launch a startup or they are in a startup or in their life. They face challenges of the stress and how do they deal with that stress they face challenges of the um The enormity of the risk they’re taking and how do they deal with that risk?

    No, there’s a difference between mental health, like experiencing like severe mental health issues versus everybody in this audience. Anyone who started a business has been up at three in the morning. They all have insomnia. This isn’t the case. So I want to distinguish between that. It’s not just 50 percent have insomnia.

    No, you’re a founder. 99 percent have insomnia. Okay. We’re all up at the three o’clock in the morning. How do we all deal with that? The second to that, there is 50 percent of us who have mental issues or mental challenges. And I probably am on that 50 percent side. Okay. And then of that, how do they deal with it and how do they use their neurodiversity?

    To accelerate or improve themselves or take it in a positive direction versus the negative direction. So I do want to clarify it’s a hundred percent. of founders are faced with a lot of challenges. Yeah, I think you’re dead right with that, Colin. Um, and I think that the number one thing is to get people around you who can really support you.

    And sometimes you just need someone you can just talk to. Yeah, to, to offload some of the stress and so forth like that and have that support network. Um, I know you’ve talked many times calling about getting a, a, um, a business coaching and so forth like that. And I think that’s absolutely vitally important that every entrepreneur has someone.

    Or some people that they can talk with. And yeah, it’s for me, when I look at my own life, those people I talk with will not be able to solve my problems that I’m wrestling with, that I’m losing sleep over. They won’t be able to. And I’ll say to them, I said, look, I’m not looking for you to solve my problems.

    I’m looking for, for you just to listen. And that’s one sort of coach. That’s more just a, um, for, for me, I find Colin and Michele that I’ve got to express myself verbally in order to release stress and tension. And, uh, the challenge then is, is if you go along and always do that, say with your significant partner or something like that or whatever, then you’ve got to be very careful you don’t end up destroying that relationship, um, in that process because, because that person will want to do whatever they can to help you, but they have no capability to do so.

    So they’re now bearing all of the stress because they’re living with you, but they have no ability to actually act. So in other words, you’ve given them the responsibility without the agency, yeah, and that can be destructive to a relationship. So, so I’m always very careful how much of my problems say I share with my wife, uh, for me, uh, of that journey.

    And I always, if I ever share about problems, I always share the positive resolution of those problems. And the reason why I do that is otherwise you can leave people with all your problems and you forget to tell them, uh, tell them the good news of they got resolved. Because you’ve moved on as the entrepreneur.

    Yeah. So it’s like, so you’ve got this poor person just carrying problems the whole time and helping to carry your burden. So I would recommend you get someone outside of significant others, Colin. And we’re going to come down to Tara in a second. Love to get your thoughts on this Tara, but I would highly recommend.

    Uh, you get someone, someone, um, which is not a member of your family or a significant others or something like that, for heaven’s sakes, you can, you can go down to your local church and speak to a minister or something like that. Whatever it is, you can get professional help. You can go, there’s so many people who can help entrepreneurs and sometimes all it is, is just someone.

    That you can actually talk to. Hey, Michael, do you want to get a little personal? Yeah, sure, fire away. Like, uh, in the last two years, since we started the show, Michael and I would often have conversations after the show. About our each other’s businesses and our challenges. Absolutely. We do we share them with each other We share them with each other and you know what?

    We help each other and and and we talk to each other off the ledges. I think a couple times as well. Yes, we have No, I mean Yeah, we laugh about it now michael, but it’s true It’s like it pick up like I you know me people i’ve met people on clubhouse I mean obviously you’ve got to get to know the people you mean, you know Like michael and i’ve known each other for about 10 years now And Michele, obviously, so like we feel very comfortable and it’s very secure, very confidential information we share back and forth between each other about our companies and stuff.

    And to me, it’s been enlightening. It’s been a valuable resource for me to do that emotionally and also, quite frankly, profitably because I get a lot of great advice from Michael. And. It works, you know, you need to find those groups of people, the peers that you can connect with, not the naysayers. And by the way, not the naysayers either.

    You don’t want to be connecting with your mom. You know, somebody says yes, yes, yes, all the time. That’s not good either. But you need to find those people, those peers that you have in. There are organizations out there. There are incubators. SCORE has a model where you can get a mentor as well. And, uh, there’s a lot of systems and support out there.

    But, uh, I call personally, I mean, we’ve had a good year or two of just going back and forth and helping each other out. And we, you know, we don’t do anything, we don’t charge them, we don’t have any ownership in each other’s companies, we don’t have any, any agendas, we just help each other out, because we like, we enjoy doing it.

    Can I, can I just say, Colin, um, how much I’ve appreciated that. Myself, um, where you live, like you’ve talked me off the ledge on different decisions and all that sort of stuff. And it’s, it’s, it’s actually, I find it really beneficial talking to another entrepreneur, um, uh, like Colin. And, and make sure if you’re, if you’re a personal audience there and you’re, and you’re thinking, yeah, I’ve got an entrepreneur friend of mine.

    Yeah, really foster those relationships. Foster them and, and treat them with the greatest levels of respect because that person I talking about the relationship between Colin and I, um, is, uh, how can I put it? Um, invaluable, not just as the person, the wisdom that I’ve received from Colin, for instance, about different situations, uh, in my businesses has been invaluable.

    Like it really has. But besides that, there’s something about having an entrepreneur who understands what it means to go on the journey, understands the stresses, understands that, you know what, I just woke up three times last night and very difficult to sleep. They understand that. They’ve been on this journey.

    They understand that they can appreciate that they can appreciate the pain, um, of giving birth to a business or dealing with different situations. And, uh, it’s, it’s been, yeah, it’s. And I think that, uh, just having someone to talk to you like that is absolutely key for an entrepreneurial success. But I just want to come down to Tara here.

    Tara, it’s great to have you on the Complete Entrepreneur, Tara. And, uh, welcome to the stage. And if you’re in the audience and you want to come up and join Tara on the stage, we’d love to have you up here. Just put your hand up if you like. Um, Tara, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Overdue time.

    Yeah. Um, really appreciate this topic. Um, yeah, I saw the notification and then came in a little bit later. Um, because yes, absolutely. Lots of entrepreneurs are neurodivergent and yet a lot of the advice out there and a lot of the norms in the startup world. Are not, um, you know, helpful, and a lot of times they’re more harmful.

    Um, there are a lot of quick fixes, which aren’t going to help people be sustainably happy long enough to get or unhealthy long enough to get a startup off the ground. Um, and there are a lot of people sharing bad advice with each other at their high moments and then just dropping off that, you know, one day.

    They’re this online influencer and this fake it till you make it kind of persona. And then the next day, they’re just nowhere to be found. You know, giving up on their own approach, possibly. You don’t know. Um, maybe sleeping for a week straight. So I co founded a community, um, last July for neurodivergent startup entrepreneurs and operators as well.

    So I put that link in the chat, if anyone’s interested and it’s absolutely important to have a network of people who get it and of people who you can talk about, um, the more personal challenges and the more. Day to day stuff and not just the high level stereotypical startup type challenges. Uh, you know, like a lot of people in our community are saying that they want more specific mentorship.

    Um, and also, you know, from people who understand their neurodiversity specifically. And also there’s a lot of burning out from trying to network the way most people do it, for example, which isn’t necessarily what’s most likely to lead to success. Um, and, you know, I think we really need more space to talk through how to do things in a way that works for us and less of this hustle culture of, well, you got to do this, this way, this much of the time and this other thing and just, um, All these kind of impossible expectations layered on top of each other.

    Um, and I also think that the superpower model of neurodiversity with that people often miss, um, how utilizing any strength comes with a cost. Uh, like there was one coach I was talking to who is sharing, um, how in superhero movies, the superpower, um, Always comes at a cost or trade off the more that they use it, especially, um, so, you know, we really need to take time to recharge and think about how we’re using our strengths and not think that there are this unlimited and exhaustible resource that we can take for granted.

    Uh, so I would love to hear, um, you know, anything. Yeah. First off, let me interrupt here. I’ve got a question for you. Is there, um, is there an aspect of the entrepreneurs like the lone wolf and there it’s almost been a mythology has been developed around that the lone wolf. And the reality is the wolf needs a pack that, uh, a group around them that can really help support them.

    You know, uh, they may be the leader of the pack or some other, they really, and I’m not talking about your team or something like that. It’s, it’s a group of people who can support you emotionally and mentally, um, through the challenges of your entrepreneurial journey. I is, is it, is it changing from the lone wolf to, um, do you think in, in the, in the minds of, um, uh, of many entrepreneurs, they realize and they’re, they’re not a lone wolf anymore.

    They’re actually need the support of people. I think that a lot of entrepreneurs recognize that, you know, if an opportunity for support. Is offered, um, that they’re interested and yet it’s a tough situation, um, when you’re trying to build relationships with other entrepreneurs who’ve come from this stereotype of a lone wolf culture, even if they don’t know.

    Even if they know that that’s not what they want anymore, they might not know what to do differently. They might know at a high level, but not at the granular level, how to build those kind of relationships and nurture them. They might have gotten into a habit of getting real creative and being able to do everything alone when they were younger, if they weren’t accepted.

    Because they were different and but now they’re taking on this big multi dimensional venture in this world That’s changing faster than they can keep up with and they can’t possibly figure everything out themselves And yet, the other people like them, who would make this pack, are also in the same boat, and no one really knows how to build community, um, how to prioritize, not necessarily texting your friends back right away, because then you might not get anything done, but, you know, that if you don’t text back for two months straight.

    You can’t be there on those days when they really need to be talked off the ledge and how to manage all of those relationships. I find managing mentor and peer mentor relationships sometimes as complicated or more as managing client relationships, and that’s just not something that’s talked about much.

    Community is perceived as this sunshine and rainbows Um, and, you know, so a lot of people say they want it, but then to actually create it to kind of guide people into those kind of relationships. It takes a lot of, like, from my perspective as a community builder, it takes a lot of asking them what they need and what works for them.

    And then trying to build that, um, seeing what works and what doesn’t. It seems to me, Tara, that what you’re really talking about there is that it’s a different skill set. That an entrepreneur needs to develop to create that support community, as such, or to engage a support community. Like, um, I’ll jump up to Colin here, and Tara, it’d be great if you could hang around on stage.

    I’d love to be able to bounce some ideas off you as well. Uh, Colin, Colin, you, um, mentioned quite often, EO, uh, entrepreneurial organization, um, and such groups like that. Is, is this what Tara is sort of, sort of talking about as well, that, that entrepreneurs need to realize they aren’t the lone wolf, and then they need to plug themselves into these, these groups.

    And, you know, there could be individuals in those groups you really click with and gel with that, that you can then become a part of your own personal support network. Is that something that is important, Colin? Yes. And, uh, look, it takes a village to raise a startup. Um, this idea that you can start your business in a garage.

    Out of the 80s with Steve Jobs and Wozniak, it’s, it’s not longer, that’s no longer the rule. We’ve learned that incubators and connecting with others and connecting into a community can actually increase your chances of success. On the show that we do, the podcast we do, and this is being syndicated in podcast today, um, but on this show that We’re syndicating it through, uh, we interviewed Bridget Weston.

    Bridget Weston is the CEO of SCORE. She has 10, 000 mentors, volunteers, funded by the SBA, the, um, the U. S. government. Um, I’m driving right now. You’re a little bit background noise. Apologize real quick. Um, but, uh, she made the case that you can increase your chances of succeeding by three times. But I think we’re going deeper than that right now.

    We’re not talking about Increasing your chances of succeeding at a startup. We’re talking about your mental health. I belong to an organization as, as, um, Michael pointed out for 25 years, every month, a group of us. I met today, just just left the meeting a few minutes ago, um, and in that meeting. We talk about the challenges that we have in our personal business.

    Uh, and community, we talk about the challenges that we have and how we can overcome them and we share with each other. And let me tell you this, like it’s, you know, every single founders goes through hell. I’ll be quite frank. They go through hell. It’s a rollercoaster. It’s tough. I’ve done it for 25 years for goodness sakes.

    I mean, Michele, I mean, you’ve gone through a lot in the last three years. From the highs of selling a huge company to the lows of trying to keep a couple of e commerce companies alive. And now you’re coming back. We’re coming back with another company that we’ve been working hard on. But the reality is it’s a rollercoaster.

    If you don’t have people around you, you are alone, but you’re not alone. You can choose to invite people into your life, to allow people to connect with you, to share with them the struggles that you’re going through. It doesn’t need, it shouldn’t, I don’t, in my personal case, it’s not my spouse. I know, Michael, you spend a lot more time telling your spouse what, I can’t do that.

    It affects her too much and the family and the kids. For me, it’s you, Michael. For me, it’s Michele. For me, it’s the community on Clubhouse. I know it sounds strange. Uh, for me, it’s my EO forum and the forum that I meet every month. If for me, it’s not those communities that help me out. And ultimately, you know, I’ve been a lot more successful by the people around me.

    And if we can open ourselves up to others, we can not only deal with those points. Man, there are a point in time when you do hit that low on the roller coaster, where you do want to take that drug, you do want to crawl on your bed like a, and, and, and curl up into a ball, right? You know, whenever I said take that drug, take the, drink the wine, do whatever, I mean, just take away the pain.

    Freaking sucks! It’s horrible. But you know what? We can temper that. Not saying we’re gonna stop it, because I don’t think I can stop it, and all the insanity that I do, and whatever I do, but I’m not saying I go into drugs and shit like that. I know Elon Musk, where we started this, he does talk a lot about that, and how he deals with it through that.

    And it’s just eye opening that he would be doing ketamine, and doing all these drugs, trying to deal with the psychological aspects of, of, of everything he’s going through. And, look, we’re all going to deal with it the way we are going to deal with it, okay? I’m not going to say that’s going to change, but I will say this, is that the fact that I have the people I can talk to, like Michael and Michele, and my forum and the community here, it does temper me.

    I do believe that. I’ve learned techniques. You know, one of the techniques I have when I come home after work is I go into the hot tub. That’s my drug. I go into the hot tub. I cool down for 20 minutes. Cool down, heat up, whatever you say. That’s my drug, you know, but for some of us it’s you know, these extreme personalities deliver extreme results Just deliver extreme wealth it can cause it can be very dangerous.

    So I’ll leave it at that and Tara I mean this idea of neurodiversity. I’m I was hoping that you could add a little bit more. I mean, I brought the con Topic up earlier. You seem to be an expert in it So no one’s ever defined it on the show. We’ve begun now we’re 39 minutes on this show and it’s also being syndicated podcast.

    Could you just go sort of give us a definition of neurodiversity and what the good, what you think the good and the bad is of neurodiversity for startup founders? Sure. So, uh, neurodiversity just off the top of my head, I would define it as, um, The differences in our neurology between everyone and there was even a study that 99 percent of people vary from average on some axis or the other, uh, so, and that no one’s truly quote unquote neurotypical and yet, um, there are some people who are a minority in certain directions like autism, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia, bipolar, et cetera.

    Um, who don’t fit this cog in the machine model of the current corporate world and education world in a way that causes friction and they often end up pushed out into you. Having unconventional lifestyles, even though 20 years ago, um, there was more conformity on superficial dimensions. I felt like, like what I, uh, you know, what kind of clothes to wear yet there wasn’t, um, project management tools at work dictating that you Organize your thoughts in a certain way.

    Um, and paper used to be more flexible. Um, and yeah, I’ve definitely explored, uh, this realm quite a bit. Um, yeah, no, 1’s an expert on all things neurodiversity by any means. Um, in terms of the good and the bad. For entrepreneurs. So there’s the good in having a different perspective, a different lived experience and seeing things that other people might not see, you know, problems in the world that other people might not see, which is the first step to being able to solve for them and also.

    They may have come up with some solutions to solve problems creatively for themselves and then they can either solve similar problems for the world, or they might find that that kind of problem solving approach might also work well for solving other problems. And another benefit is learning very young that people think differently.

    Um, And being able to engage across difference and build for diversity, whether it’s building a company, selling a product, or even building internal team processes. Now this doesn’t apply to everyone. For example, some people have so much privilege that they’re born into that they can pay people I use the metaphor of a football field or, you know, any sports kind of field, um, where they can pay people to meet them in their end zone.

    And they don’t learn the skill of meeting anyone center field versus a lot of people who’ve been more ostracized or maybe didn’t get the support that they want. Um, the downside is, you know, that, that can lead to developing a lot of trauma, which can absolutely be healed later. But, you know, Some people haven’t discovered it yet, haven’t healed it yet.

    But the benefit is developing that flexibility to meet others. Sometimes meeting them in their end zone all the time, which can lead to burnout. But that’s the same skill, which if you dial it back, you can meet people in center field. And yet, um, people like Elon Musk, they’re not doing that. Their strength really is money, if you think about it.

    Um, and you know, Maybe the fact that they’re neurodivergent is the reason that they ended up starting their own companies rather than working at their dad’s, but they’re able to start their own companies without. Having to learn to get along, really, with any kinds of people. And I see a lot of pipelines like this, uh, where there’s a biased group of people who have accumulated a lot of money somehow, and, you know, across generations.

    And then, um, forgotten that skill of being able to meet people partway. And they just develop this tribe of people who are super, super similar to them and fund those people. And those are unfortunately a lot of the neurodivergent people who get a lot of press. Um, and then you get a lot of negative stereotypes about neurodivergent entrepreneurs, like lacking empathy, for example.

    And then when we read books written by those kinds of people, we often miss out on the strengths of how neurodiversity can actually help us build for diverse people. But now, getting to the downsides, um, I was kind of getting there with these groups that I mentioned, but you know, even if you’re not from there, I’ve also seen people who recognize that they’re different.

    And then say things like, I use myself as an example when building a product. Um, even if it’s a neurodiversity product, like there was an EdTech founder who’s autistic and ADHD and said that she, you know, her vision for the world is for learning to be inclusive for everyone. And so she builds with herself as an example, and I’m thinking, well, what about dyslexics?

    What about other autistic ADHD folks? They’re not all the same, which I know as someone with autism and ADHD. Um, and so it’s really, you know, important to recognize that even if you’ve seen diversity, you haven’t seen it all, another downside is being susceptible, you know, just. Being marginalized in any way.

    There are a lot of people out there who claim they’ll help and claim they care. And sometimes they actually do, but they’ve been brainwashed themselves into band aid solutions that don’t work or unsustainable solutions that only work if you have a lot of money or a lot of family support, et cetera. And what there is not a lot of out there.

    Is filtering of out of these solutions, which ones actually worked for the most people, which ones actually worked for the most people with a certain neurology, which is something that we’re working on building another downside, um, is falling prey to imposter syndrome and thinking that you need to do things the way someone with a different neurology would.

    For example, I don’t know how startup networking events ended up the way that they did Where it’s just a bunch of rapid fire intros and pitches and no one’s really connecting and even remembers each other And yet people burn out doing it Um versus there are a lot of other ways to connect with the right people um And yeah, I see both extremes.

    I see some people trying to cater to a social norm more than catering to Actual customers, invent, uh, investors, mentors, et cetera. And then I also see the opposite extreme of I am who I am meet me in my end zone. And then you can’t even get ahold of them to chat about buying their product. Um, so. Yeah, I know that was a lot.

    Um, but yeah, a few trends that I’ve noticed. Yeah, you definitely, definitely there’s a lot you just shared there, Tara, and thank you for doing that. Um, I think the, I think Colin often talks about the entrepreneurship’s like, also like a drug. Um, and that’s definitely so, uh, with myself and I reflect on myself, my own entrepreneurial journey across the last 40 years or so is it’s definitely like a drug.

    Um, and one of the things I know I’ve quite often, um, struggled with was to get, dare I say, deeply personal is switching off is how to actually switch off. And, and, but not only that is how do I switch on to a different type of conversation? So you can end up having conversations, dare I say, even with, with friends and things like that.

    And you’re saying, you’re saying you’ve got this thought going through your head. Oh my gosh, this is so mundane. So boring. Can’t we talk about something which is real serious? Yeah. And it’s, uh, life needs to be serious, but also it needs to have the frivolity of, uh, and joy of just enjoying others company and things like that.

    And. Entrepreneurs, I, I personally can fall into that trap where it’s like, Oh, gee, can we please talk about something more than just the weather or the latest TV show or something like that? Like seriously. And these thoughts encroach on my thinking and not that those are bad things to talk about, but it’s like, um, it’s a drug.

    It definitely is a drug. I get to the weekends and. And I definitely try to turn off like I’m sitting down there today having breakfast and, uh, with my wife and suddenly she’s looked at me and I just froze and she said, you’re okay. And I said, I finally got it. I understand that this particular problem I’d been working on.

    It was like, bang, there it was. There was the answer. And, uh, I said, I need to write that down. Yeah. And it’s, it’s always with you that, that the business sort of is always with you. All those problems, all those challenges, all those opportunities and that sort of stuff. And it, in it’s. It’s like drip feeding you a bit of dopamine, dopamine or something like that continuously.

    Um, well, hopefully it’s not cortisol or continuously, um, which can be quite a challenge. But yeah, it’s, it’s a really, uh, it’s an interesting thing I find anyway, but Colin, do you find the same sort of thing is that, uh, you want to have. You know, even just good conversations with friends and stuff like that versus some of the, the mundaneness you feel like, do you ever have that crossover, that sort of line as such?

    And like, please, I don’t care about what happened on this particular TV show. Can we talk about something that which is real? Or, or whatever. Yeah, i’m michael, of course, I mean You know exactly who I am. I mean, you’ve you’ve spent a weekend at the beach house With myself and my wife and the founder of reebok.

    Yeah, right. That was fantastic. That was great And he like he’s 88 years old and we’re sitting and talking about business and like it’s hard to um, it’s hard to do that But but to me that’s hard You know You know, you traveled for three weeks, you came back, you killed a lot of meat, yeah, you come home, you go, yeah, yeah, you’re a big thing, yeah, blah, blah, blah.

    Oh, did you know that, um, Harlan Coben has a new TV series out? And it’s all about, like, your brain can’t even, but I think that’s a problem. Your brain explodes, you see, you’ve a problem, I do think, I do think. No, but we, no, but, but, but I’ve been criticized. Look, I, I, I had an intervention done in, In 2017, 2018, in my forum, they said I was a, um, I was a workaholic.

    My whole identity was based on business and whatnot. And I had to find, I had to begin to learn to realize that. Yeah, I do need to have a life balance and figuring that out is challenging. You know, it’s funny listening to the Elon Musk documentary and how he went to Vancouver to meet his girlfriend and he’s supposed to meet the parents of the girlfriend.

    But instead he decides to stay up all night, doesn’t do it, stays up all night long, at five o’clock in the morning he sends out a tweet, he’s going to buy Twitter. I mean this guy, I mean, I’m telling you, I know we started with Elon Musk. He’s playing computer games. He’s playing computer games all the time.

    He ignored his girlfriend’s parents. Yeah, he’s just, there’s no balance there. But he’s the most successful, richest guy in the world. But you know what? There’s some, there’s some problems. And, and, and you can be. The most successful person and still have problems you can be myself and still have problems You can be michael Gilmour.

    You can be tara. By the way, tara. I’m following you Hope everybody here in the audience is following you. I’ve already followed you tar You’re very welcome to come back every thursday at five o’clock Uh eastern and and and and be a co host and share with the community your thoughts because we really really value You and and your thought just come on whenever you want to come on.

    We’ll we’ll bring in We’ll we’ll make you a a moderator and and I just really feel that You contribute a lot to this show and really do appreciate that because this is a show that this is a side of entrepreneurship This is what we talked about in the book, Start, Scale, Exit, Repeat. This is what we did.

    We went into these sides of entrepreneurship. Don’t get me wrong. We covered the formula. We covered the basics. And it’s pretty cool. That’s, that’s what the book is famous for. That’s why it’s the number one bestseller. Don’t get me wrong. But we also covered parts of entrepreneurship that we, no one ever talks about.

    And it’s those mental challenges. The mental challenge from starting a business. The negativity, the fear of failure scaling again. We don’t want to mess up what we already have that fear, but also the stress of having to fire or eliminate half your staff and replace them with other people who can help you scale your business to exiting.

    You lose your identity. Like the whole book does talk about the human side of entrepreneurship and, and, and. I really believe that that is part of the formula. Because you can figure out the business. You can get, you can read a book. But you can’t figure out EQ. You can’t figure out that you are neurodiverse.

    And that neurodiversity is your strength. The fact that you’re ADHD makes you a superhero. Or that you’re bipolar. Yes, I know there’s negative consequences to all of these conditions. But there are also positive consequences. And we’ve seen that in history over and over again. Including with Elon Musk.

    Who in the Wall Street Journal article, we started this show, who talked about three conditions. He talked about being Asperger’s, which is another talent. He talked about, um, he talked about, uh, bipolar, which can be a talent if it’s harnessed correctly. He did talk about depression, which surprised me. I don’t know how the richest man in the world is taking drugs, ketamine, in low doses.

    To deal with depression that surprises me. I I know but don’t get me wrong like I don’t know the most Okay, tara the most that actually that actually doesn’t that actually doesn’t surprise me colin. Um, I i’ve read Uh, elon musk biography by walter isaacson by the other one by ashley vance another one by tim hegan’s by by eric Eric Berger, another one.

    I’ve read a lot of his biographies, uh, different biographies by different authors to get different insights into who Elon Musk is. And it doesn’t surprise me that he suffers with depression at times. Um, because the amount of, of flack he, he attracts. A lot of it is self, sort of self making in many respects is just phenomenal.

    Um, everyone wants to be Elon Musk and they believe to be Elon Musk, they’ve got to pull Elon Musk back down. Um, and as I said to a guy one time I was doing, I was sailing with, I used to do racing with sailing boats and stuff. And he’s always been pulling me down and I said to him you do not have to make you look better by making me look worse.

    You win. You’re better at sailing than me. Yeah, it was just, it was an incredible experience. Anyway, let’s just jump down to Santosh. Uh, great to hear from you, Santosh. Uh, first of all, uh, can you hear me properly? Yes, we can hear you. All right, beautiful. You know what, I really like this topic you guys are talking right now.

    Uh, as an entrepreneur, but, uh, there is no comparison between, you know, the big name in the world and this Alan Moss, you know, Mark Zuckerberg, and, you know, uh, I’m a small entrepreneur, but the thing is, like, you know, I’m an MBA. I did my MBA in nearly. I’m a sociologist as well, so social marketing is my thing.

    And, uh, what I believe, what I believe, what I think is, uh, Yeah, to be rich is very good, right? To become a landmark is good. You know, Bill Gates is good. Uh, this, uh, you know, Apple, Apple, these cheap jobs is good. Everything is good, fine, fantastic, because you got money, you got reputation. People know you, they remember for years and years.

    And you make, uh, you change the world and all these things. But, uh, me, I put it a little bit differently, like, uh, I put myself on the center first, doing, uh, doing other than doing other so many things in life, right? Um, uh, as an MBA, as a marketing guy, like, you know, I can see a lot of potential around here and there in my own business, other business.

    Here and they’re different skills. You can make more money and maybe I’m in the wrong industry. I know other industry. They make good money. These are all of the things. There are a lot of variant, right? And we, we are in the open world. Now, everyone access everything. Uh, that’s why, like, what I believe is the once we put yourself into the center.

    And you do the thing. I think that is a wonderful idea. That’s why El Mo as an entrepreneur, he’s an idol for me as a, as a complete entrepreneur. He’s not my idol. Right? The thing is my, I, I consider them as idol that, uh, they live their life in a holistic approach. Like they have a time for their family, they have a time for their health.

    To fulfill their hobby, of course, money without money, you can’t do anything. That’s why I, I am in the business nearly 20 years now, but here in Australia, last 10 years, I’m in a flower industry. I have a couple of stores and I used to, I, um, I started my restaurant business in 2017, up to 2023 for food.

    Just recently, I. Um, you know, sold the business because not, uh, getting that much of a return. Uh You’re very quiet now, Santosh, you may want to turn towards the microphone. Yeah. Okay, can you hear me now? Yeah, yeah, you have to make sure you speak up loud there. That’s all, that’s all. Yeah, yeah, I think that’s why, like, you know, once you put yourself into the central, and then after, uh, what benefits you?

    Yeah, of course, more money is always the more, um, you know, liberty, right? The more money you have. You can travel the world. You can drive a nice car. You live in the beautiful house. You consume all the gadgets. You got a foundation. All, all, all, all these things, you’ll get it with the money, right? But the thing is, is that a money is, um, only the element you have.

    I think so. You just, you just dropped that. So it could be, you crossed a, a zone with your phone. I do entrepreneur that they, they, many of their time in terms of all this. Good idea. I think so. That’s my, my, my take here. Thank you. Thank you very much for your thoughts on that, Santosh. I do appreciate it.

    We’re going to jump across to Carmen. We’ll be finishing with you, Carmen. So love to hear from you. Are you there, Carmen? It looks like. Yes, I’m here. Hi, guys. Such a cool, such a cool subject today. for talking about this. I think it becomes almost a taboo, right? Especially for men. And so this is great that you’re, you’re talking about this.

    Um, I’d like to share a real, um, a story, a short story that really exemplifies for me what we’re talking about. So I, I’m married to this guy who has, um, who never talks about anything interesting. He makes very silly jokes. Okay. His jokes are like, oh my God, they’re not smart. It’s not smart conversation at all.

    But when I look at him from this perspective, he served in the, in the Navy for 24 years, honorable, and when he was at the top of his career, they asked him, you know, for him to stay longer so he could continue to go up. And he said, no, and they, they thought he was crazy. Why, why wouldn’t you not, um, you know, continue and, and reap the rewards of all those years?

    And he said, no, because I want to take my, my daughters to school in the morning. And if I enroll, if I stay in the Navy, I will not be able to do that. And that’s all. That’s, that was his number one goal, was to be able to take the girls to school in the morning. And we have ten kids. And I tell you, Colin and Michael, they, all the kids adore him.

    They love him so much. And I think of him, you know, is he a successful person? Can we put the word successful to him? And I say yes. He’s a very successful person because he, He has a very successful career, and at the same time, he has a very successful life. And he’s very healthy. He works out every single day.

    He doesn’t have the millions of dollars, but the millions of dollars could not add to his happiness. So I think we have to have a, I don’t know, like a balance on understanding what success is. I think success means happiness and joy. And just Uh, not defined by only the things that we have. Um, there’s a lot of people that have too much that they don’t need.

    And so I just, I just always, when, when I, as an entrepreneur with my startup, when I get frustrated about things like this, I remember him. I think of what makes him happy. He’ll sit down and watch a silly movie with one of our daughters. Uh, that I would never sit down and watch because I think they’re dumb.

    But they adore him and they love him and they adore those times that he has sat down to do this, that we, we call silly things. So I just wanted to share that and, um, and, and just, it always brings me back to reality, I think. So I wanted to share that with you guys. Do appreciate that. Carmen, thank you very, very much for sharing that.

    It really is. It given perspective that entrepreneurship and those around us, you know, they may say silly jokes or, or, or something like that, but you know what, we’re all on a very much an individual journey. We really are. And, um, and those individual journeys are definitions of success and what it means to be successful can be very different as well.

    And that’s one of the great things about living your life. And it’s something that I know I find very precious. That’s for sure. But so thank you very much, Tara and Santosh and also Carmen. For your fabulous input for Michele, who had to step out already, uh, my fellow moderator and Colin. It’s always wonderful having you here, Colin.

    It really is. You’ve been listening to the complete entrepreneur to show this part of, of startup. club that runs at 5 PM Eastern time, every single week. And really looking forward to next week. I think that next week’s topic, Colin, is the importance of focus. I think it’s going to be that one or dealing with a sinking ship.

    Either of those two topics will be taking a look at, because I know this one jumped in there, so be really, really good to be able to see you all here next week and Colin, I don’t know whether you want to just close out with what’s going on with Startupload Club. Well, I think we should go with the deal of the sinking ship.

    I don’t know. I’ve been dealing with a lot of sinking ships. Yeah, the sinking ship sounds good. They’re both really good. They both sound so good. But yeah, let’s do the sinking ship. That sounds good. Carmen’s coming. She’s coming. She says she’s coming. By the way, I followed you, Carmen. Everybody comes on stage.

    I love, I love, I love what you’re talking about. I love to follow you. And, uh, if you haven’t already done so go to startup. club and sign up to our email list. We have some, had some incredible speakers on this show on the startup club, almost a million members, by the way, if you’re not following it, obviously follow it on clubhouse.

    Uh, but please sign up to that mailing list. Cause then you get to know what, who’s coming out because often we will get a speaker. Like we’ve had Mr. Wonderful on, we’ve had the founder of Reebok on, we’ve had the. Um, Jeffrey Moore, who wrote Inside the Tornado and Crossing the Chasm. We’ve had him on Burn Harnish.

    We’ve had so many great authors and speakers on this show, but you wouldn’t know about it unless you sign up to that email list. And just go to www. startup. club, sign up to that list, and if you haven’t already done so, pick up a copy of Start, Scale, Exit, Repeat, number one bestseller in six categories. We will do a show tomorrow.

    Tomorrow we’re talking about AI startups. This is a topic that I’ve been writing for Forbes. Uh, we’re publishing an article in Forbes next month on this topic, and we’re going to use that session and the community to develop material. Not only for the podcast that it’s syndicated, uh, from, but also, uh, for the article for Forbes.

    And it’s all about how to start a business using AI. That’s the topic. Tomorrow at two o’clock. That’s a great topic there, Colin. See y’all next, next, uh, Thursday at five o’clock or tomorrow at two o’clock. guys. See you then. Keep safe, everyone. God bless. Bye.

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