When It Feels Like Your Body Is Failing You, It Affects Your Mind and Emotions Too

Before I started my business, I took a small business course at my local community college. At that time, I hadn’t found all the online business “gurus” and only knew about SBDC and local NJ entrepreneurship resources because of my community involvement. This was helpful because I got to understand business foundations and see the value in learning more than just “5 steps to growing your email list”.  At that time, I also didn’t have any intention to start an online business *gasp*. I was going to start a family owned cafe and bakery. I had a great idea for one that I had done research on and saw that there was no-one else in the area with this particular concept. The resources I had located told me to try a business course 1st to see how viable the idea was including, working at a job that would feel similar to the business you want to start…long story short, my lack of resources and my impatience and frustration working in hospitality let me know that the only way I’d own a cafe would be if I was simply the money person.

But let me backtrack. While in the course, the instructor asked us to discuss things like health policies. We all chuckled when those who had already ran businesses, (some brick and mortar) answered “don’t get sick”. I didn’t realize then how much that was no laughing matter.  But even more importantly, I didn’t realize what that type of answer would reveal about the culture of many businesses – from micro businesses like virtual assistance and online business management , to corporations including the incorporated nonprofit.

Our culture has an unspoken rule that illness is taboo. 

Even articles that I read about wellness programs are essentially saying ‘hurry up and be well so you can be a productive, highly engaged workhorse…err we mean workforce for our money making machine’. Ok I’m over exaggerating, but I’m not that far off. Because after being around and listening to the narratives of people who are chronically ill, who have had doctors that were so inclined to be the expert that they stop listening to their plea for care when they’ve told doctors that despite a clean bill of healthy “something isn’t right here”.  Or I’ve listened to those who have disabilities, some seen, others unseen, (like people with heart conditions) and I’ve heard how people treat them because they aren’t the right kind of sick. I’ve learned that mainstream doesn’t have a contingency plan for those who aren’t deemed contributors even when they really are…just not at the moment, or not in a way that fits contemporary expectations.

And truth be told, you have to have a radical self-love practice for your body to contend with the fact that illness is not tolerated for the long-haul and even attacked. 

And yes, this…rejection of your…being messes with your mind. It’s a close encounter with trauma. It’s traumatic to be you and be hated for no other reason than being yourself. And trauma was one of the causes for mental health disorder that came up in the research for my book on mental health and entrepreneurship over and over again. So, advocates like myself combat the trauma of being ostracized while also at the same time proactively encouraging and extending resources for healing.

This is why StigmaFighters exists. This is why large advocacy groups exists. And also why smaller grassroots who address the needs of people often left out in the bid for healthcare reform exists. This is why RadicalWell exists. And even why Love Yourself Love Your Business exists. Why do we have to be advocates even when we’re not mental health professionals? To decrease stigma yes, but really it’s about creating a shift in culture.

Wellness policies that reach beyond bringing in a personal trainer or “an app for that” (though those are important too) but also include health risk assessments, peer advocacy and support for leaders that offer up compassionate resources that say you don’t need to deny your illness and disease/illness management could go a long way. I think this concept of wellness at work is applicable for small business and micro business owners who may or may not be a 1 person shop just as much as it is for the big companies.

“Don’t get sick” is not a health care plan.

It denies our basic humanity and encourages mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. But really it encourages a culture that shames, stigmatizes and traumatizes our human experience. And quite frankly, we can do better than this.

Until Next Time…Peace, Love, and Wellness!

Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.

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Suicide Prevention where Money and Mental Health Issues Collide

suicidepreventionawareness-badge

One of the main reasons I was motivated to begin working on my book (still in the works) is that I wanted to advocate for mental wellness amongst women in business so to prevent further entrepreneur suicides. Whenever I thought about business owners, CEO’s and entrepreneurs I will be the 1st to admit I assumed “go-getter”, “super strong”, “ultra productive”, and “has it all together”. That was until I became a business owner myself. I quickly learned that whatever load you’re carrying around in your life comes right along with you into whatever business venture you’re embarking on in some form or another. And that included mental health issues. So while yes, we can be (and are) most of those descriptions (I don’t think anyone has it ALL together) we could also be depressed, experience chronic disease, have anxiety, addictive behaviors etc. And I wanted to better understand why.

One of the categories of ‘why’ I plan to explore more of in the book was revisited after recently accompanying my awesome client, Amanda Abella to FinCon 2016. When we hear of people in business bearing the load of money problems, and money mindset issues we typically hear about business failure. As a result, resources like Business Development Centers formed to offer support. There are also women like Melinda Emerson who dedicated Foundations to igniting a movement to end small business failure. What I don’t find too often however, are open and candid discussions about how money problems in business could also play a huge role in suicidal ideation and attempted suicide.

I was originally going to touch on this category very briefly only because I wanted to focus on the “why” of entrepreneurs who had great financial success yet still battled mental health disorders, but I’ve since been convinced otherwise.

After Michelle Jackson coaxed me out of my comfort zone by offering me an opportunity to live podcast right alongside herself and a panel of amazing women thought leaders, I was able to talk about my mental health advocacy work. As a result, I met some other awesome “money nerds” who happened to also be mental health advocates. FinCon panel

Through fellow panelist Kate Dore’s blog post I learned more about The Link Between Mental Illness and Money Problems and was introduced to an organization called Money and Mental Health Policy Institute. According to their research, if you have had a “major financial crisis” within the past six months, you are nearly eight times more likely to experience suicidal thoughts. I imagine a Startup Founder who has literally given their blood, sweat, tears, and very last dollar in the hopes of getting noticed by an investor experiences financial crisis more often than not until they “make it”. I know from personal experience that my own company, A & D Media was formed with less than $200 and dream which was pretty much the last bit of money in our pockets.

I then learned that Kate’s post was in collaboration with Melanie Lockert of Dear Debt who encouraged colleagues to join the blog tour project for World Suicide Prevention Day which was September 10th. While the date for this year has come and gone, all of September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

I applaud these women for stepping up to publicly advocate for mental health and suicide prevention on their professional business blogs. In the business and entrepreneurial world there is huge stigma around mental illness and illness in general. I feel this is even more pronounced for microbusiness owners such as virtual service providers who have to constantly battle for workplace wellness fairness. I plan to link up with these two lovelies and a few others awesome ladies I met at FinCon to better explore the money/mental health correlation for my upcoming book set to publish during mental health month in 2017.

If you or someone you know is contemplating Suicide and/or in an emergency, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately.

Until Next Time…Peace!

Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.

Sign up here for a free copy of The ABC Method to Managing Your Mental Health While Running a Business.

Be The Change Series Interviews- Featuring: Fabian Brown

The 2016 Be The Change Interview Series

Week 4 – Featuring: Fabian Brown, Hunger Relief Champion, Jazz Musician, and Entrepreneur

If the video didn’t show up here’s the direct link: https://youtu.be/QuWsDXC5TgQ

About
fabianbrownFabian Brown brings professionalism with everything he does. “I’m nobody special. The secret to my success is finding the best person in any particular industry and studying their moves. I am a life learner, so each day my goal is to be better than I was yesterday. A better husband, a better father, a better musician, a better entrepreneur. I have just humbled myself and networked with people who are better than me so I can learn from the best.” Throughout Fabian’s career he has demonstrated success in the music industry, education, and business. He has also participated in various campaigns and volunteers frequently to charitable organizations. “There is a lot of go-getters out there, so I took on the possibility of being a go-giver. It’s important to support and give back to people and organizations who do not have the means and sometimes just simply need a little help. The result is seeing my children following in the same foot steps and taking on volunteering as a part of their lives.”

How You Can Help

Help Fabian pay it forward by supporting hunger relief through Project Feeding Kids.

Resources Mentioned

Heights in Progress
Student of the Year Campaign
The Tony Robins Podcast
Cause Marketing

Until Next Time…Peace!

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Be The Change Series Interviews- Featuring: Stephanie Lampkin

The 2016 Be The Change Interview Series

Week 3 – Featuring: Stephanie Lampkin, Entrepreneur, Tech Innovator and Engineer

If the video didn’t show up here’s the direct link: https://youtu.be/XkqL2KQ8Fn0

About
stephanielampkin
Stephanie Lampkin is the founder & CEO of Blendoor, merit-based matching, a mobile job matching app that uses a blind recruiting strategy to circumvent unconscious bias and thus facilitate diversity. With a 13 year career in tech spanning companies like Lockheed, Deloitte, Microsoft, and TripAdvisor, she is all too familiar with the difficulties faced when one doesn’t look like the prototypical engineer. Through technology and data, her mission is to reduce bias and challenge the assumption that homogeneous environments are a meritocracy. Stephanie holds a BS in Management Science & Engineering from Stanford University and an MBA from MIT Sloan.

Stephanie has been honored and featured in numerous publications including Forbes, NPR, NY Times, Tech Crunch, Huffington Post, Tech.Co and Black Enterprise. She has spoken publicly on a myriad of topics from the future of work to hacking unconscious bias at MIT Media Lab, Dreamforce, SXSW, and more. Most recently Stephanie graduated from Stanford StartX (a top 5 startup accelerator); the first Black woman founder/CEO accelerant in the program’s 5 year history. In response to the discovery that there are only 13 Black female startup founders in the world that have raised $1M or more in venture capital, Stephanie organized an elite cohort of Black female founders with high-growth ventures. Stephanie’s mission is to effectively demonstrate that investing in diversity yields positive returns socially, financially, and technologically.

How You Can Help

Help break down unconscious bias one swype at a time… Become a Beta user at http://www.blendoor.com/

You can also connect with Stephanie via social media

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephanienlampkin
Twitter: https://twitter.com/blendoor

Resources Mentioned

Slack team communications
Women Who Tech
Bonus Resource: What is STEM?

Until Next Time…Peace!

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Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.

Be The Change Series Interviews- Featuring: Jardana Peacock

The 2016 Be The Change Interview Series

Week 2 – Featuring: Jardana Peacock, Author, Leadership Consultant and Activist

If the video didn’t show up here’s the direct link: https://youtu.be/dKGKVAUQd3A

About
Jardana PeacockJardana Peacock is a leadership consultant, author and trainer working at the intersection of healing, leadership and social justice. Her research has uncovered that when we center wellness as foundational for how we live and work, change work becomes more effective and sustainable.

She is based in the Southeast and has been featured in the Huffington Post, Feminist Wire and other online publications. She has studied traditional yoga and holistic healing for over fifteen years and worked with hundreds of change makers and organizations around the world. She facilitates an online community and platform to bring together new healing methodologies, change making, creativity and art at Radical Well. Stay connected at http://www.jardanapeacock.com.

How You Can Help
Jardana is all about EMBODYING AND ENACTING HEALING FOR CHANGE.
Join her and her fellow change makers at their virtual meeting space, Radical Well where they explore the intersections of social justice, wellness and leadership.

Resources Mentioned

Article on the Elephant Journal about showing up for racial justice http://www.elephantjournal.com/2016/07/how-white-folks-can-show-up-for-racial-justice/

The hashtag stream to Practice Show Up #PracticeShowingup

Businesses with Social Change Models Mentioned in Interview

Thistle Farms
Betty’s Daughter Arts Collaborative

Until Next Time…Peace!

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Oh! By the way, if you want to learn more about the blogger of this post feel free to check out my about page.