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I admire Richard Branson’s spirit and his writing in general, but when I came across his piece today on The Healthy Entrepreneur, it really resonated with me. Of course, it is not the case that only entrepreneurs need to be healthy – everyone wants and needs to be healthy, whether one is a homemaker, a cubicle-dweller or a business owner. But, as an entrepreneur who has been down with a severe cold and feverishness for the last 2 weeks, (not to mention 3 such bouts in the last 6 months), Richard Branson’s words held special meaning for me. The thing about being the founder of a small business is that there are so few resources at hand – at the moment, we are a 2-member core team, and any illness leaves us seriously understaffed.
The curious bit about ill-health is that although we think of it largely as concerning the body, it has such an intimate relationship with our minds – both in where it stems from, and what it leads to. Even where ill-health has direct, specific physical causes, there is still much that we don’t know about how our mental state affects the body. In terms of its results, anyone who’s woken up feeling sick yet forced by a looming deadline to head to work, will attest to the impact it has on the quality as well as quantity of work that we do.
In my own case, as an entrepreneur struggling to build an online community here – I know that the exact same questions, on how to grow this magazine and ensure its viability, bring forth very different answers when I am well and when I am unwell. When I am unwell, everything looks like an uphill task and the outcome looks dodgy. This week, I’ve been feeling revitalized, and things look so positive. Our readership is growing, many of the tech issues we’ve had have been resolved, we’re starting a lovely new travel series that is coming together beautifully (look out for it!), we have wonderful people supporting us in so many ways and I’m getting all these ideas on monetizing the business. Surely, things weren’t very different last week, and yet, all I could feel was that 18 months post launch, I haven’t progressed as well as I wanted to. Like they say, it’s how you look at it.
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Of course, not all of us have personal coaches like Branson does, and not even perhaps, the enthusiasm for fitness that he has. I am certainly happier being a couch potato than exercising in any form. Yet, there is no denying that fitness can have a significant impact on the enthusiasm I bring to my business – and the quality of my work. We do hear about health and fitness all the time, but Branson’s piece has come as a wake-up call for me, that health can make a big difference to how a venture shapes up – or not.
Apart from that, the one other thing I’ve learnt is not to take depression seriously, when one is unwell. Yes, everything looks gloomy when you’re ill, but if there is one thing past experience has shown me – it is that, “this too shall pass”.
Pic credit: Nono Fara (used under a Creative Commons Attribution license)
Founder, Editor of Women's Web, Aparna believes in the power of ideas and conversations
I must read the book now! I am seeing this space for a long time now, but unlike you the maker of this space, I as a reader always feel high about this website. Actually I often open the site when I am tired or frustrated and by the time I close it I see myself smiling and inspired! I don’t think there is any other website which is so sincerely dedicated to thinking Indian women around the whole world. Please keep the good work going.
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