Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Entrepreneurship: Best Thing for Your Health

Hopefully tropical storm Hermine didn’t disrupt your Labor Day weekend plans. Based on the volume of emails I received over the long weekend, I know many of you were catching up on work last weekend and it wasn’t just because you were cooped up inside riding out the weather. Kudos for your dedication. Shame on you for not giving yourself a mental break.

Most of you reading this post are successful business/practice owners. You’ve long known that long hours, unpredictability, high stress and marital strain are part of the entrepreneurial lifestyle. And while that may sound like a recipe for poor health, you might be surprised to learn that entrepreneurs WAY FEWER sick days than their corporate paycheck cashing neighbors. How can that be?

Health of entrepreneurs vs. employees

According to the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, entrepreneurs have what workologists call “active jobs” and may benefit from positive health consequences. The research compared entrepreneurs' health with employees' health in a national representative sample studying mental disorders, blood pressure, well-being (life-satisfaction) and behavioral health indicators such as sick days, physician visits, etc. Researchers found that entrepreneurs showed significantly lower overall somatic and mental morbidity, lower blood pressure, lower prevalence rates of hypertension, and somatoform disorders, as well as higher well-being and more favorable behavioral health indicators.
Entrepreneurship is not easy, but we control our own destiny. “Being one’s own boss means almost unlimited decision autonomy, freedom of choice in the tasks we take on, schedule flexibility, and the utilization and development of skills,” researchers concluded. And in today’s corporate world, you have almost the same amount of stress, uncertainty and anxiety as you do in the entrepreneurial world, without the autonomy, pride and sense of fulfillment. Consider these stats:

  • 41 percent of American employees didn’t take a single vacation day in 2015, according to a Skift survey
  • 55 percent of American employees didn’t use all of their vacation days in 2015, according to a recent Project Time Off study.
  • More than one-third of employers require employees to work on Thanksgiving, according to a 2015 Bloomberg BNA survey
  • Nearly two in five organizations (39%) will require some employees to work Christmas or New Year's, BNA reports.
  • 41 percent of employers will have some staff working on Labor Day.

  • About a quarter of Americans feel that corporate budget cuts/corporate restructuring will limit their job growth potential over the next five years, according to a Labor Day Job Growth Survey published this year.

All this for the “security” of a steady paycheck in a world in which the vast majority of American workers are “at will” employees who can be terminated with or without cause (i.e. for just about any damn reason your employer stats) on two-weeks’ notice? Now that’s a risky career path!


You may have been toiling at your desk on Labor Day, but at the end of the day you chose to do so—you weren’t been forced to do so. BIG DIFFERENCE! It wasn’t so much work as it was growing or maintaining the enterprise you’ve built. Our advice: don’t work for the man—be the man! And never forget to show your grit.

If you’re energy’s sagging a little bit today, that’s to be expected. Don’t reach for another can of RedBull or coffee. Check out Lolly Daskal’s insightful piece for Inc. Magazine recently 10 Things That Mentally Tough People Do.

Our blog and website has more.


TAGS: Lolly Daksal, grit, working on Labor Day, owners don’t take sick days, Skift Survey, Project Time Off

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