October is Mental Health Month. And mental illness affects every one of us. In fact, statistics show that one in five Australians experience a mental illness in any year. If this isn’t you, it will be someone you know and love.
These statistics got me thinking about the unique position that experts, thought leaders and content creators are in when it comes to supporting their mental health. We often work alone, we’re juggling, fighting overwhelm, worried about our financial security and constantly putting ourselves out into the public eye as we build our personal brand.
So, I wanted to reach out and find out what the experts in my community saw as their biggest challenges when it comes to mental health.
The results aren’t surprising. 30% struggled with imposter syndrome, 28% financial security and another 25% with juggling it all. Comparing themselves with others got another 15%, overwhelm 12% and isolation and loneliness grabbed 5%.
This data resonates with me because while building a personal brand looks easy, but it makes you very vulnerable. And it’s something that I struggled with in the beginning of my own practice.
There are lots of demands on your time, and on your authenticity. It can look glamorous from the outside , but there is a ton of pressure to just keep putting yourself out there, over and over and over again. It’s your face, it’s your name, it’s your story – you’re essentially selling yourself. Many people in this position worry about what they’ll do if something goes wrong. After all there’s nothing else to hide behind.
So, what can we do about these challenges that arise when we’re building our personal brand? Let’s go through them one by one.
How to Have Good Mental Health When You’re Building a Personal Brand
Imposter syndrome is where we struggle with self-doubt. It’s where we feel that we’re not good enough – our content isn’t good enough or we’re not clever or smart enough – and everyone is going to find us out.
Strategies for Beating Imposter Syndrome
- Unpack or create something every day (and always create before you consume). Creating something forces you to realise the value that you have to share and this will help you to grow your confidence.
- Don’t look at your newsletter unsubscribes. Just don’t do it. It’s not helpful, and it won’t give you any clarity on your communications. All it will do is make you feel bad.
- Keep a love file. Peter Cook calls this his acknowledgement file. But regardless of the name, it’s where you keep the good things that come along in your practice – the testimonials, the thanks yous, the wins. Store these away somewhere accessible. Then you can refer back to this when things get tough.
Financial Security and Lumpy Revenue
A lot of experts and thought leaders face big challenges when it comes to cashflow. This can sometimes lead to a sense of desperation around sales meetings, overdue invoices, outgoings and the like.
Strategies for Beating Financial Security Worries
Rather than focusing on your revenue alone, focus on your marketing and keeping your pipeline full. A full pipeline helps you to have an abundance mindset because you have a sense of where and how your money will be flowing in.
Juggling It All
When you’re working on your personal brand, it can be a struggle to balance your business, your family, your client work and your own self-care (and so figure out how to have good mental health). In fact, sometimes it can feel impossible.
Strategies for Juggling it All
The remedy for juggling it all is to have excellent calendar management and to delegate where you can. Figure out what you need for yourself as well, and ensure that you calendar those things in, too. Don’t put yourself last, or you’ll find yourself struggling and facing burn out.
It’s easy to keep comparing yourself to others. Especially when you see others that are out there accomplishing things that you wish you could accomplish, and doing things you wish you could do.
But there’s a reason that Theodore Roosevelt said, ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’. When we compare ourselves to another’s public persona, there’s simply no way to compete. We think they’re perfect, that everything they do is perfect, but in reality they’re just people like us. But people who are a little more established and a little further along their professional journey.
Strategies to Stop Comparing
- Rather than go into comparison, move into inspiration. Look at those people that you wish you were like, and enjoy your admiration of them. Let their success inspire your own success, and their wins inspire your own wins.
- Don’t focus on the ‘gaps’ in your own practice. Instead, look back at how far you’ve come and how much you’ve achieved.
- Move into a growth mindset. A growth mindset thrives on challenge and sees failure as a chance for growth and for stretching your existing abilities.
When you’re building a personal brand there’s a never ending to-do list. Sometimes it can feel like groundhog day, like you’re stuck doing the same thing over and over again, with little or no support. It’s all the more challenging because we’re generally on our own. We don’t have a marketing department, a receptionist or the like. It’s all on us.
Strategies for Combatting Overwhelm
- Start small. Use to-do lists, your calendar and other tools to get control.
- Just keep going. It’s often when people feel overwhelmed that they just stop doing anything saying, ‘I can’t keep going without support’. But if you don’t keep working in your practice, you won’t have a practice.
- Accept that you’ll be slow. When you first start your practice, you’ll be slow. It will take you longer to write content, to complete sales calls and to send out newsletters. Be kind to yourself, and watch your self-talk. 80% of all self-talk is negative, so be extra careful to be on the lookout for those negative vibes that you’re sending yourself.
Isolation, Loneliness and Disconnection
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, one in four Australians were lonely. Though the research isn’t solidly confirmed yet, it seems probable that Australians are even lonelier now due to social-distancing requirements and self-isolation.
Community Mental Health SurveyThis is made worse when you work alone in your practice. Sometimes it can feel like people don’t understand what you do, and it can be a struggle when you don’t have a team. This can really affect your energy and mojo.
Strategies for Combatting Isolation, Loneliness and Disconnection
The best way to combat isolation, loneliness and disconnection is to find your tribe. This is both physical and digital networks with people that you’re actually talking to – not just LinkedIn conversations – but real connections. If you can’t find a group that suits you, then create one. But finding your tribe will help you feel connected.
The Importance of Mental Health
At the end of the day, we all have our mental health challenges, which can be exacerbated when we’re working on building our own personal brand. Winston Churchill famously struggled with what he called his ‘black dog’. He said:
‘I don’t like standing near the edge of a platform when an express train is passing through. I like to stand back and, if possible, get a pillar between me and the train. I don’t like to stand by the side of a ship and look down into the water. A second’s action would end everything. A few drops of desperation.’
Use the strategies here to combat your own black dog and figure out how to have good mental health.
I’d love to hear your thoughts….
Jane Anderson is a strategic communications expert, speaker and the author of seven books including the upcoming Catalyst Content. With over 20 years of experience helping people to communicate confidently, she is obsessed with authentic influence and human connection to drive business growth in a world of disruption and automation. She delivers Content Creation Bootcamps (Virtual and Face to Face), Coaching and Keynotes. To inquire about her working with you or your organisation please contact us here.