Mental Health And Running A Business

Posted by Todd Balsley on

So you clicked this blog because you're wondering what the heck a leather crafter has to say about mental health, right? Hi, I’m Todd the founder and chief knucklehead of Clever Supply Co., I make all your Camera Straps and can provide you with worst Dad jokes at any time.

I know it’s probably a weird topic to associate business with, and maybe that’s the point. I do not see many conversations like this in the maker community, and I wonder why. Maybe it’s because we all have our sh*t together? Or perhaps the immediate community I’m connected to is predominately male, and talking about mental health is synonymous with admitting weakness? Or maybe it’s being talked about in this community, but not publicly, which is definitely fine. Or perhaps I’m just missing it all and should shut up! 😉

For me, I have experienced real depression and anxiety while running this business. Sometimes it’s felt closely linked to the business, other times that’s not been the case. I’ve thought about quitting this thing multiple times, and have been plagued with “imposter syndrome” thoughts, like how I’ll never be the best at my craft in any category.

I've wondered if there is anyone else that feels that way or similar at times? If you want in on a little secret, I'm not the only one. But maybe you’re nodding your head thinking “I’ve been there” or even “That sounds like me now!”.

If so, maybe this can be the reminder we all need at times, that you’re not alone out there.

I don’t have the answers, but I have found I’m more likely to get closer to clarity when I’m in a relationship with people in my life. I’m grateful for my wife, family, and great friends that make this beautiful messy life what it is, a gift.

While I think we need more conversations like this in all public environments, I realize that not everyone wants or needs it. This I guess is just an attempt to push against the tyranny and pressure of the curated life that is far too often just smoke and mirrors. A step towards me accepting something I’m not exactly proud of, and hoping it can encourage someone else to do the same.

At this stage of my life, I’ve received both professional support and support from friends and family who I’ve shared these things with. If you want help, it is possible and I’m a testament to the fact that it is worth taking that step. Reach out to me if I can be a listening ear. Share with someone you trust, and consider taking a step to getting professional support. 

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  • Hey Todd, I really love this. I’m so honored that you put it on your site. If this past year has taught us anything, it’s that we’ve all must struggle with certain realities of ourselves, our strengths or weaknesses, our fears. I’m a psychologist in the Los Angeles area and I work for a public mental health government agency. I see myself reflected back to me almost everyday in clients. I have been into photography my entire life. For me, photography is my way of maintaining emotional stability. When I go into nature or a travel or just walk around Los Angeles and I look into my view finder and point my camera, I see things that move me that I can turn into something beautiful for myself. Photography is my metaphor for life and survival. What I choose to focus on in my life, emotionally, physically or spiritually, often determines the outcome of my happiness. We’re all interconnected do do each other in ways we don’t even realize. Thank you for doing what you do.

    David Crain on
  • I’ve worked in mental health all of my adult life and totally support this openess about personal mental health issues.Would be great if society at large was more supportive of this type of sharing. Kudos for speaking out. It’s the part of being human many have experienced, but few fell OK about sharing.

    robert Walton on

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