Mental Illness May Plague Entrepreneurs More Than Other People. But there are ways to cope and even power through and above for some folks.
A bipolar brain is by nature difficult to manage. As are startups. Together the intricacies of manic depression can make life running a startup a particularly interesting challenge to say the least.
For example, no pre-revenue founder trembling with mind fogging panic has likely ever hit a lucrative home run with a potential investor on the teetering on the edge.
Nor has a depressed 1st time entrepreneur who recently ghosted a promising Angel’s calls to set up a casual meeting; merely because he couldn’t muster the energy to send a text to reschedule, let alone actually meet in person.
The Bright Side? With just the right amplitude and timbre of mania, a bipolar entrepreneur can get VCs on board, sell a shitload of ice to eskimos, unload a bridge or two, and flip a crappy 3 bedroom timeshare in Naples, Florida. But those scenarios are either painstakingly perfected over the course of years, or the result of one lucky crapshoot.
The general truth is that this illness can not only quash the deal at hand as well as future developments by crippling a professional’s long-term image as an effective, diligent, and consistent leader.
Startup Founders are:
- 2X more likely to suffer from depression
- 6X more likely to suffer from ADHD
- 3X more likely to suffer from substance abuse
- 10X more likely to suffer from bi-polar disorder
- 2X more likely to have psychiatric hospitalization
- 2X more likely to have suicidal thoughts
Jake goes on to make a strong case supporting entrepreneurs with mental illness. He argues convincingly that today’s increasing prevalence of mental illness diagnoses among entrepreneurs is a problem the whole business community should concern itself with…for everyone’s benefit.
“Addressing the ongoing mental health catastrophe in entrepreneurship is a moral imperative, and for wise investors, it should be a function of doing business. Venture capitalists make their living off the blood, sweat and tears of founders. It is through their passion and efforts that we succeed or fail. We can either choose to see founders purely as a means to an end (generating returns) or we can see them as the whole people they are.”