Trauma and Entrepreneurship

entrepreneurship trauma Apr 25, 2023

Entrepreneurship can be a fulfilling and rewarding career path for those who have a passion for creating and building something from scratch. However, it can also be an incredibly challenging journey, especially for those who have experienced trauma in their lives. Trauma is defined as a deeply distressing or disturbing experience that can have long-lasting effects on an individual's mental, emotional, and physical well-being. In this blog post, we will explore how trauma shows up in entrepreneurship and how it can impact an entrepreneur's mindset, behaviour, and success.

Scarcity Mindset

One of the ways that trauma shows up in entrepreneurship is through a scarcity mindset. A scarcity mindset is a belief system that there is never enough of something, whether it be money, time, or resources. This mindset can be especially prevalent among individuals who have experienced trauma, as they may have grown up in environments where resources were limited, and they had to fight for everything they needed. This can lead to a constant sense of anxiety and a feeling of never being able to relax, even when things are going well.

In entrepreneurship, a scarcity mindset can lead to a fear of taking risks or making investments in one's business. Entrepreneurs with a scarcity mindset may believe that they need to hoard their resources and not spend money on anything that isn't absolutely necessary. This can lead to missed opportunities for growth and expansion, as well as a lack of investment in the entrepreneur's own well-being, such as hiring support staff or taking time off.


Another way that trauma can show up in entrepreneurship is through overworking. Many individuals who have experienced trauma may feel like they need to constantly stay busy or work harder than anyone else to prove their worth. This can lead to a cycle of overworking and burnout, where the entrepreneur is unable to find a balance between their work and personal life.

Overworking can also be a coping mechanism for dealing with the symptoms of trauma, such as anxiety or depression. By staying busy and focused on work, the entrepreneur may be able to avoid dealing with the underlying emotional pain of their trauma.


Entrepreneurs who have experienced trauma may also struggle with undercharging for their products or services. This can be a result of a lack of self-worth, where the entrepreneur doesn't believe that they are deserving of charging what they are worth. It can also be a way of trying to please others, where the entrepreneur feels like they need to offer lower prices to make their products or services more accessible to others.

Undercharging can have serious consequences for an entrepreneur's business, as it can lead to a lack of profitability and a sense of resentment towards clients or customers. It can also perpetuate the belief that the entrepreneur is not worthy of success, leading to a cycle of self-sabotage and limiting beliefs.

Disordered Attachment

Trauma can also impact an entrepreneur's ability to form healthy attachments and relationships, both in their personal and professional lives. Disordered attachment is a term used to describe patterns of insecure attachment that can develop as a result of trauma. This can manifest in various ways, including difficulty trusting others, fear of abandonment, and a tendency to push people away.

In entrepreneurship, disordered attachment can lead to difficulty forming partnerships or collaborations with others. An entrepreneur may struggle to trust others or may be afraid of being vulnerable with their business partners or team members. This can limit the entrepreneur's ability to delegate tasks and responsibilities, leading to burnout and a lack of growth.

Fear of Loss

Entrepreneurs who have experienced trauma may also struggle with a fear of loss. This can manifest as a fear of failure or a fear of losing everything that they have worked for. This fear can be so strong that it prevents the entrepreneur from taking risks or making bold moves in their business, as they are constantly focused on avoiding loss rather than achieving success.

Fear of loss can also lead to a lack of resilience and an inability to bounce back from setbacks or failures. This can be particularly challenging in entrepreneurship, where failure is often seen as a necessary part of the learning process. Entrepreneurs who are unable to overcome their fear of loss may struggle to adapt to changing market conditions or pivot their business strategy when necessary.


Finally, trauma can also show up in entrepreneurship through perfectionism. Perfectionism is a belief system that one must always strive for flawlessness and avoid making mistakes at all costs. For entrepreneurs who have experienced trauma, perfectionism may be a coping mechanism for dealing with the fear of failure or the need for control.

Perfectionism can have serious consequences for an entrepreneur's business, as it can lead to a lack of innovation and a fear of taking risks. It can also lead to burnout and a lack of productivity, as the entrepreneur may spend an excessive amount of time trying to perfect every aspect of their business rather than focusing on what is most important.

What Can Entrepreneurs Do to Overcome the Impact of Trauma?

While trauma can have a significant impact on an entrepreneur's mindset and behavior, it is possible to overcome these challenges and achieve success in entrepreneurship. Here are a few strategies that entrepreneurs can use to address the impact of trauma:

Seek Support
One of the most important things that entrepreneurs can do is to seek support from others. This can include working with a therapist or coach to address the underlying emotional pain of their trauma, as well as seeking out mentors or other entrepreneurs who have overcome similar challenges.

Practice Self-Care
Entrepreneurs who have experienced trauma may be prone to neglecting their own well-being in favour of their business. However, it is important to prioritize self-care and make time for activities that promote physical and emotional health, such as exercise, meditation, and spending time with loved ones.

Challenge Limiting Beliefs
Entrepreneurs who have experienced trauma may have limiting beliefs about their worthiness or ability to succeed. It is important to challenge these beliefs and develop a growth mindset that allows for learning and experimentation.

Build Resilience
Building resilience is an important part of overcoming the impact of trauma in entrepreneurship. This can include developing a support network of trusted colleagues and friends, as well as practicing mindfulness and other resilience-building activities.

Set Realistic Goals
Entrepreneurs who have experienced trauma may be prone to setting unrealistic goals for themselves, which can lead to feelings of failure and frustration. It is important to set realistic goals that are achievable and to celebrate small successes along the way.

Entrepreneurship can be an incredibly rewarding career path, but it can also be a challenging journey, particularly for those who have experienced trauma. Trauma can show up in a variety of ways in entrepreneurship, including through a scarcity mindset, overworking, undercharging, disordered attachment, fear of loss, and perfectionism. However, it is possible to overcome these challenges by seeking support, practicing self-care, challenging limiting beliefs, building resilience, and setting realistic goals. With these strategies in place, entrepreneurs can achieve success in entrepreneurship while also maintaining their mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

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