Technology startups can only be successful under the oversight of a strong leader. But how do you become a strong leader? And how can you stay sane and effective in this role? One option is to attend regular therapy sessions. Keep reading to learn how therapy is effective for startup leaders and how you can get the most out of your sessions.
How Therapy Can Help You as a Leader
For most startup entrepreneurs, therapy is worth the time and money. If you have a good health insurance policy and individual therapy sessions are only going to cost you a small copay, you should at least give therapy a try.
There are many different types of therapy and psychiatric help available, but we’re using the term generally here. In most therapy approaches, you’ll eventually see benefits like the following:
One of the greatest benefits of attending regular therapy sessions is the ability to regulate your own emotions. Instead of making rash decisions based on an intense emotion or having your entire day ruined by a single problematic incident, you’ll feel more control over your emotions and the actions you take in response to them.
This isn’t something that happens overnight. Instead, you’ll develop a series of recognition and processing skills that allow you to witness your emotions unfolding in real time and seize control before they dominate your decision-making. If you can stay calm under pressure, you can effectively lead your team during even the most difficult crises. You’ll also inspire your team to remain calmer and clearer in most situations.
Therapy also plays a role in reducing your stress — and there’s certainly no shortage of stress as a startup entrepreneur. You’ll probably be working long hours in tough circumstances, and income volatility may weigh heavily on your mind. But when you have a neutral third party who’s willing to listen to you and your feelings, the pressure is often significantly lessened.
Are you feeling unsure about a new acquisition? Are you regretting your latest hire? A therapist can be a useful, neutral listening ear. They’re not going to tell you what to do, nor are they going to evaluate your decisions. But they will guide you in asking the right introspective questions to help you find the answers you’re looking for. Even if you feel like you have everything sorted out, a good therapist can help you explore your mind in new ways.
With the help of therapy, you can put your relationships in a better context. You can more appropriately manage your feelings and work with the emotions of others. That’s going to lead you to form and maintain better relationships at work. You’ll form closer bonds with your partners and colleagues. You’ll treat your subordinates better and create a better environment for them. You may even get along with your clients better.
Relationship improvements don’t stop at the office; regularly attending therapy can also lead to better relationships at home. Obviously, your personal relationships don’t have much direct influence on the development of your startup, but if you have a supportive environment to come home to, the stress of managing a startup will easily melt away at the end of the day.
Recognition of Crisis Points
Startups are especially prone to volatility. No matter how hard you work or how much you plan, you’re eventually going to run into a major crisis. How do you deal with this stress? How do you stay sane during these tumultuous times? Therapy doesn’t have all the answers, but it can make this type of crisis much easier to handle. Regular sessions can equip you with the tools you need to work more effectively through any ordeal and avoid burnout.
Better Coping Skills
Similarly, therapy sessions can equip you with improved coping skills. Whenever you experience rejection, failure, or seemingly insurmountable obstacles, you can remain strong and push through adversity. Even if you’re already mentally tough, you shouldn’t turn down a potentially helpful boost.
Superior Communication Abilities
Going to therapy is associated with better communication skills as well. Your therapist will guide you with leading questions, helping you articulate your thoughts and feelings in a more clear and concise way. And by learning from the clarifying way your therapist phrases certain statements, you can talk to your employees and clients more effectively. You’ll also gain more emotional intelligence, which can assist you even further.
Higher Self-Esteem and Confidence
Whether you’re gearing up for your busy season or are dealing with a new competitive threat, entrepreneurs are constantly forced to make hard choices. The more confident you feel, the easier those choices are going to be — and the more respect you’ll win from your employees and partners. After several therapy sessions, you’ll almost certainly feel a confidence boost that will stick with you indefinitely.
Fine-Tuned Emotional Intelligence
Higher emotional intelligence means you’ll be able to more easily recognize emotions in other people and respond to those emotions appropriately. You’ll also have an easier time recognizing and controlling emotions within yourself. It’s an excellent recipe for healthier workplace interactions.
Specific Issue Resolution
If you’re struggling with a specific behavioral or psychological issue, therapy can guide you through it. For example, if you regularly struggle with depression or if you have anxiety associated with specific types of interactions, your therapist can work with you to help resolve these issues. This is beneficial in the workplace because unresolved issues won’t affect interactions or decision-making at inappropriate times.
If your therapist is unable to provide you with the help or support you need, they can guide you to more appropriate resources, such as support groups or other specialists. In some cases, psychiatrists may be able to prescribe medication to alleviate some of your mental health symptoms. Whether it’s antidepressants, mood-stabilizers, or anti-anxiety medication, it’s important to get the help you need if you’re struggling with your mental health.
Many people who attend regular therapy sessions demonstrate higher productivity, thanks to all the above benefits and other effects. When you’re more confident, more in control of your emotions, and you develop healthier relationships with others — productivity is a natural byproduct. As for you and your team, you can focus on what matters most at work because your mental health is well-managed.
Getting the Most Out of Therapy
Therapy has many benefits, but it’s not a solution for everything. Before you try therapy in your own life, keep the following in mind:
Therapy isn’t a magic pill.
Don’t go into therapy thinking it’s immediately going to “fix you” or make you a better person. There’s no magic switch you or a therapist can flip to make your life better.
Therapy requires work.
In line with this, you need to understand that therapy requires work on your part. You need to actively engage with your therapist in your regular sessions and practice the techniques and habits recommended to you by your therapist in your daily life. Only through effort and consistency will you see results.
It may take time to find the right therapist and approach.
Therapy is an art as much as it is a science. You may not click with your first therapist, and it may take some time before you find a combination of therapeutic strategies and techniques that work for you. Try to remain patient during this time and be open to trying new approaches.
Therapists can’t solve everything.
Your therapist isn’t going to help your pitch your startup idea to investors, nor will they be able to make hiring decisions for you. While therapists can be enormously helpful in regard to your mental and emotional health, they aren’t going to offer much advice to help you run your business.
With the help of therapy, any startup entrepreneur can conceivably become more effective, more confident, and less stressed. Just make sure you set proper expectations before you schedule your first session so you can get the most value out of the experience.
Featured Image: Karolina Grabowska; Pexels.com. Thank you!