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Updated 29 Sep 2020

Why mental fitness is a competitive strategy you need to implement

We’re so focused on physical fitness, health and maintaining our stress levels that we forget the impact our mental fitness has on our business. Here’s why I’m focusing on my mental fitness to build my business. 

Nicholas Haralambous, Entrepreneur, 26 August 2017  Share  0 comments  Print

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I’m amazed at how many coaches there are in the world right now. You get coaches for sprinting, coaches for strength, coaches for stamina, health coaches, food coaches and every kind of coach in between. There are coaches for every possible type of physical sport that you can think of.

Find yourself a mental coach

There are very few coaches for entrepreneurs. Sure, there are mentors and advisors and there are MBAs who will come in and tell you that they know what they’re doing and can help. I have yet to find an entrepreneur who has a mental coach.

So, I went out and found one. I started seeing a psychologist. This was the first step for me in becoming mentally fit.

Related: NicHarry’s R100 Million business plan

Running a business is no joke and the mental pressure that you experience should not be underestimated. It takes its toll and wears on you over time. If you don’t become mentally fit, seek out coaches and get the help you need, there’s no way you’ll make it out alive.

Speak the Truth

My last business had its ups and downs. In one of the pretty bad periods I met with a close friend and he asked me how I was doing. My immediate, stock standard reaction was to tell him that everything was fine. Fine and dandy.

Meanwhile I had taken a pay cut, we were losing money and things were not going well. I chose to lie to a close friend because of my ego.

I snapped out of it and decided to tell him the truth. It was a big emotional step for me, not hiding behind the lie of ‘everything’s fine.’ What happened next changed things for me. He opened up and told me about his tough time. We both were able to offload the burden of struggling through our tough times.

The lesson? Don’t lie to the people closest to you, tell them how you’re doing honestly. Not only did this help both of us, but we learnt something too — business isn’t easy.

Find a professional to help you

Professional -advice

Your mom may be a good listener but trust me when I say that she can’t help you through your immense mental struggle. Your friends can be supportive and your partner can help you think things through, but the truth is that they are not trained professionals.

The people in your life are part of your anguish and struggle, so it’s hard for you to use them to help you gain perspective.

For this, I finally decided to hire a mental coach. I found a high impact psychologist who specialised in people like me; entrepreneurs, sports people and the like. I spent an hour interviewing him and when I was happy he could help me, we began working together.

I saw him for a few months, worked through my problems and then took a break. I refer to him whenever I’m battling with something that I can’t gain perspective on. He’s a coach and I use him as such.

My only suggestion when looking for a psychologist is to try someone new, outside of your circle. Don’t go to your family psychologist. Find someone who you can start afresh with and build a working relationship that isn’t steeped in personal history.

Look at the world

One of the most cathartic exercises that I undertake is to look at the world around me. I always manage to find something that makes me feel like what I’m going through is not the end of the world. In fact, when I stop and really try to see the world I realise how small and manageable my problems are.

Force yourself to look at the world around you and then talk honestly with the people in it. You’re bound to feel better.

Related: How do you hit the right target market for your business?

Starting and running your own business is scary, overwhelming and incredibly tough. Don’t underestimate it, but don’t make it as big as the entire world you live in. At Nic Harry, what we do matters.

I’m building something of value, but if someone in my business makes a mistake, it’s just a pair of socks or a tie or something small. No one dies if we make mistakes. That helps me process what I experience.

Process what you’re going through

A lot of things can happen in a day when you’re in the trenches of your business. It’s often hard to take it all in, so what we end up doing is ignoring it. We ignore the ups and downs as if they just don’t happen until they become immense and unmanageable.

What I do to process the daily happenings of life is keep a journal. I write in it every day, or as often as I can. There are lots of apps that’ll help you maintain momentum and I’ve tried them all. Right now, I’m using one called Journey.

However you choose to process your thoughts, make sure you’re doing it as often as you can. Put your mental stability right up there at the top of your priority list. If you don’t, only bad things will abound.

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About the author

Nicholas Haralambous, Entrepreneur

Founder of the luxury sock company, , CEO and co-founder of Motribe before the company was successfully acquired by Mxit in August 2012.

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