On Mental Health and Avoiding Burnout

Images via BOSSFIGHT

And an Overview of My Commitments as a Leader

Building a company is really, really, really hard. I’ve said it so many times before and I’m not sorry that I continue to bang that drum incessantly. I’ll admit it: I do it because it’s one part self-therapy and two parts level-setting, at least psychologically since it reminds me that the emotions that I feel are all consistent with what is to be expected.

And even though I’ve done this before I can still get caught off-guard on how quickly my emotions move from one spectrum to the other — even over the course of a single day! I may wake up feeling like an unbelievable conqueror and by the end of the day I’m curled up in a ball waiting for the chemistry to kick in (supplemental melatonin works).

One benefit that I do have, though, after a handful of ventures under my belt is this: A bit more self-awareness which allows me to see more clearly the negative signals that tell me it’s time for (small) break.

In common business parlance we call this “avoiding burnout” — and don’t think for one moment that that’s not a real thing.

Honest conversations are hard. Trust takes time to build.

Thankfully, there’s now a ton of content out there on the web about founder burnout and the power of being more self-aware and strategies / tactics for taking breaks — it’s all just a “Google Search” away!

This has, as a natural consequence, created a greater cultural awareness around burnout and mental health and it’s becoming less of a faux paux or taboo to discuss it openly.

This has been a major boon for everyone, especially those that do actively struggle with mental illness (like me!) on the regular since an honest conversation with your coworkers, staff, and team is no longer as difficult as it once was.

But it wasn’t always this way and I have spent most of my professional life trying to hide the parts of my life that weren’t so pretty; I spent an enormous amount of energy sharing only part of who I really was.

And everyone loses in those situations.

We succeed (or fail) as a team.

As we continue to build out our team and grow an organization that I’m super-proud of, one built upon trust and not suspicion and has health as one of the core values, I want to be intentional and explicit about things like mental health, burnout, and the struggles that we all face collectively as a team.

I want to outline the following things so that there’s absolutely no question about where I stand on these matters:

  1. Your mental health matters and I want you to feel comfortable talking about it as freely as you discuss your favorite coffee or celebratory drink. I’m committed to have a culture that allows this to happen.
  2. But, I know that it can be difficult to talk about, especially with those that you work with. As such, we will financially support any effort to get help outside of work with mental health professionals and counselors.
  3. I will, as a leader in the organization, actively model good mental health practices and provide resources for the staff and team on a consistent basis. I will bring it up in 1:1’s, staff meetings, and talk freely about my own challenges without any expectation that you do the same.

My motivation is very, very simple: I want to be the healthiest possible person for my family, my team, our customers, and our financial supporters and stakeholders. Consequently, I also want the very same thing for you, my teammate and friend.

I hope you can help me build an organization that cultivates, invests, and grows the healthiest of people, personally and professionally. If not, then what are we really building (and why)?

(If you have any questions or thoughts or comments you can always feel free to ping me directly: john@eve.io)

At EVE we’re building technology that frees up more time for humans to do things that only humans can do. This is our story on how we get there. Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our email newsletter.