On Wednesday, February 3rd, 2021, Food System 6 brought together a group of industry leaders to talk about the importance of mental health and well being for entrepreneurs. Below is a summary of the conversation and some key takeaways for anyone looking to prioritize their own health, the well being of their teams, and the longevity of their success. Scroll to the bottom to watch the full event recording.
One of the key takeaways from this conversation emerged early on in the conversation. FS6 Therapist-in-Residence, Rishi Nijhon, brought up the idea that mental health and healthcare are not two separate entities - it’s all just healthcare!
“This idea that our mental health is a separate entity and is not related to our overall well being is false and it leads to a lot of stigma.” - Rishi Nijhon
You do not need to be at a breaking point or in a state of crisis to seek mental health support. Preventative medicine is optimal - whether we are talking about mental health or physical health.
As entrepreneurs and innovators, we are all too familiar with the glamorization of burnout culture - in fact, many of us have fallen prey to the idea that hyperproductivity is a badge of honor that is worth the cost. However, “when an entrepreneur buys into this old narrative that we need to grind hard and push through to be successful,” it takes a toll “not only on the entrepreneur but on their business,” says Pam Chaloult, executive coach and FS6 mentor.
“It is courageous and brave to stand in clarity that we must take care of ourselves.” - Pam Chaloult
Wellbeing in the Time of COVID-19
Being nearly a year into this pandemic, it can feel like the urgency of our discomfort has shifted - that we should “get used to it” or that we no longer have an excuse to be struggling with the changes brought on by this crisis. However, the prevalence of this prolonged stressor across our lives - in work, family, friends, and private life - is leading to a rise in anxiety and a drop in focus.
“If you are having a hard time focusing, staying on task, motivating, and following through,” says Rishi Nijhon, “you are having a natural human response to an extreme environmental condition. It is not because you are lazy, or you lack discipline, or you are not good enough.”
All three of our speakers dug into the idea that we need to continue to extend compassion to ourselves and others and that “it’s okay to not be 100% everyday.”
“COVID has helped us to [see that] we really need to take a stance of understanding - with our management, our employees, their families. It has opened the door to having more open conversations.” - James Serlin, founder of Revel Meat Co.
FS6 is a nonprofit based in the San Francisco Bay Area whose mission is to support impact-driven entrepreneurs as they transform how we grow, produce, and distribute food. The organization runs a comprehensive accelerator program that mentors entrepreneurs by coaching them through a wide range of business and organizational needs. FS6 also works to educate stakeholders on the unique capital needs as it relates to redefining the food system.