Mental Health Awareness Should Be Higher Than Ever
2020 has caused unrivalled levels of anxiety, dread and depression for millions of people on a scale we’ll hopefully never experience again in our lifetimes. If there are any positives to come off the back of the God awful year we’ve all suffered together, I would certainly hope one of those is that as a society, as people, we have all developed a better understanding and appreciation of what it means to be mentally healthy.
For those lucky enough to have not yet experienced their own mental health challenges, it is more than likely that some of the major events of 2020, from the COVID-19 pandemic to the various racial tensions and of course the economic and financial downturns, have unfortunately lead to some kind of internal struggles which would give you some insight into how those with severe or ongoing mental health challenges feel on a regular basis. It’s awful to think that so many people have likely suffered this year in various ways but I’m trying to pour a little glitter on it and see the ‘silver lining’ as it were.
The Life of a Business Owner and Entrepreneur
I’ve never considered myself an entrepreneur and I know my business partner doesn’t either. We’re business owners and marketing leaders. But the same rule applies to both. It can be and often is, quite a lonely job to own or run a business, regardless of its size.
There is a great deal of pressure and expectation on you as an employer to offer secure, rewarding employment to your team. You are their source of income, their role with you is their livelihood. The security of their employment is based on how well the business performs and how well it is managed. That is a huge amount of responsibility for any person to take on, and one all business owners with a work force will know the weight of. That pressure and responsibility exists every day, every time you lose a sale, lose a client, have a bad month of sales, get hit with an unexpected bill.
The reality, which is often lost, is that the same business responsible for employing those people is the same source of livelihood for its owners. Like us, many business owners take the role of employer very seriously and genuinely feel obligations to their team. We would always take pay cuts ourselves before allowing any business downturn to cause us to let staff go. And I know many other business owners who feel very much the same. But what is often unappreciated, is that those business owners have their own lives and families to take care of, there will come a point at which they need to protect and provide their loved ones at the cost of potentially cutting staff from the business.
COVID-19 Reality Hit Hard
With all of the above taken into account, imagine the immense dread and guilt of the business owners who have been unable to keep their businesses entirely afloat and as a result, have had to let staff go and downsize their operations.
For many small businesses, this has been the harsh reality that the global pandemic has brought with it. It isn’t that the business owners don’t care, it isn’t that the business has been managed badly. It’s because the circumstances are extreme. No business prepares for such intense shock changes in the economy and behaviour of consumers. There’s just no way.
Just remember, there are some huge brands who have gone entirely under as a result of the chaos COVID has caused; airlines, cinema chains, giant high street retailers with global locations. Now not all businesses have been above board and we know a few examples ourselves, but we’d like to hope those are few and far between versus those genuinely struggling. So remember, business owners and CEOs are humans too and are likely doing their absolute best to ensure their business and its employees are looking after and their jobs are secure. Keep supporting small and local businesses where you can, it’s likely that the job of someone you know depends on it.
Let’s get through 2020 and come out the other side stronger.