I have previously written about my own struggles with depression and the particular struggles that entrepreneurs have with depression based on my experience of coaching many of them. but once you realize that you might actually struggle with depression yourself then what next?

So how do you actually go about dealing with it? Let me try to give you some practical ideas, but first a few caveats:

I am far from an expert in the area of depression, I have read a total of one book on the subject and while enlightening, it was short on how to deal with it.

Second, and I am really struggling with how to explain this without coming across as arrogant or elitist but these ideas aren't meant to be a solution for everyone-- this isn't a "one size fits all" approach in dealing with depression. I am writing this to entrepreneurs, people who don't just passively take what life gives them but actively goes out and creates what life didn't hand them, People who not only can see something that doesn't exist, but can then mold the world around them to match that idea. people who don't whine and complain but make things happen, people who have a history of self-motivation, of moving men and mountains. I don't say all that just to flatter you, but to acknowledge that you look at life differently than most, you're one of the crazy ones, the dreamers that Apple talks about in its commercial, the ones who think different. this is written for you.

Admit to yourself and others that you are depressed.
There have been times in my life where this one thing has turned the corner on different times of struggling with depressed thinking. I will tell you that mine hasn't been a continual struggle with depression, but more dealing with periods-- be they weeks or months or years-- when I spiraled downward in my thinking and decisions and had to acknowledge the fact that I was actually struggling with depressed thinking and needed to turn my thinking around. Admittedly, I wasn't so far down the path that I could just stop myself in my tracks and realize I was on the wrong path mentally and find the right path again. so really for anyone seriously struggling, this is only a first step but for me sometimes this one step has change the trajectory of my thinking and was the key for moving past my feelings of depression.

Realize you are believing some lies and keep track of the lies that you believe.
This may sound strange when I say "lies that you believe" because it doesn't make sense that if you know something is a lie that you would continue believing it, right? Well, maybe I am the weird one here, because if you asked me I could at any time give you a list of some of the lies that I currently believe. Because "believe" is more than just a mental thing, it's an emotional thing that moves us, motivates us, determines how we act and react in this crazy illogical thing we call life. I believe things about the way others think about me that there is no way I can know whether they are true or not and when I think about I am pretty sure they are false but that doesn't stop me from responding to them based on the lies that I keep telling myself.

No one else could tell you what those lies are in your life, but I can guarantee you that you have them and that you respond to the world around you based on your belief in those lies, some of them you may not yet realize are lies but I am pretty sure that if you think about it, you will be able to point out assumptions that you are basing your life on that you can't definitely tell are true no matter how strongly you feel them and in some cases if you are honest with yourself you can tell that they are most likely false. yet you still believe them and your self-talk is constantly reinforcing this lie causing you to live them out.

What are these lies in your life? List and track them as they enter into your mental conversation. If you are anything like me, you won't be able to immediately change the way you respond to the world based on this, but over time keeping track of the lies we tell ourselves can go a long way toward changing our thinking and through changing our thinking, changing the way we respond to the world.

Change what's going into your head:
Old Programmers maxim, if the output is different than what you expect, check your inputs.
If you don't like the what's coming out of your head and your life, then check on what's going into it.

What's going into your head?
What are you reading?
What are you listening to?
What are you watching?

What's going into your body?
What are you eating?
What are you drinking?
What kind of sleep are you getting?

You can't change all these things at once, I doubt you have the consciousness, willpower and stamina to change all these things at once but if I know you at all I know you have the ability to chose one or two of these inputs and live consciously enough to deliberately change them for the better. Take a look at the inputs in your life and decide which of them need to change.

Radically change things, change your perspective, change your environment.
In the movie Dead Poet's Society, Robin Williams' character got his students to do the strange thing of standing on their desks in order to just gain a new perspective of the role that they were in.
Move your office - either temporarily or permanently - go work at a coffee shop
Clean your office - I call this clearing the decks for action, remove every scrap of paper, knickknack or not absolutely essential item off of any surface in your office or work area. even if it just gets piled into a drawer
Mess with your routine - take a vacation, take a trip, go to work early, leave work early, go for a walk, go for a swim, allow yourself to take a nap, I don't know what but change something, your currently in a mental rut so change your routine

Will changing your environment change your thinking? Not necessarily. But sometimes it is just what is needed in order for you to start to see things differently

Bring someone else into the picture:
AA knows that in order to make significant change you need to involve someone else in your life as someone to be transparent with, to help when your struggling and to hold you accountable. Find someone with an outside perspective, someone who is willing to tell you the truth and who you can be truthful and transparent with.

Look I know you can beat this, you know you can beat this but that doesn't mean you don't need any help whether that be being honest with yourself, self awareness of your thinking, changing the inputs in your life or just plain changing things or involving other people,  This may not be all that you need but it's my attempt to give you a starting point to deal with it.
What happens when your business depends on you being a motivated driving force, but you don't feel that motivation?
When the fact that you are your own boss and have to kick yourself in the butt isn't working because you just plain don't feel like it?
When your long-term success depends on you focusing on a long term project that is hard but you are having a hard time seeing that far down the road?
When you need to be focusing on the hard projects that don't have a short-term positive impact but you would rather tackle the quick-fix items on your list that have negligible long-term value but give you that short-term feeling of accomplishment?
Or even just drop the task list and play a video game with its constant feeling of accomplishing something but really accomplishing nothing?
What do you do when no one is going to tell you to get out of bed in the morning and get to work and you just don't feel like it?
When you used to thrive on 6 hours of sleep a night and woke up brimming with potential ideas and thrilled with a new day but now you seem to need at least 8 hours and wake up frustrated with all the undone stuff you put off yesterday and still need to do today.
You've stopped yearning to fill your mind with good information from books and lectures and instead want to occupy your mind with trivialities and movies.

At some point, you realize you just might be struggling with depression.

Depression... I can't be struggling with depression. I'm the eternal optimist, I'm the self-motivated one, I'm the one who not only keeps myself motivated but motivates those around me, I'm the one everyone looks too to make sure everything is okay, I'm the leader, the driver, the one others look to for direction and inspiration.

I can't possibly be depressed... can I?

Isn't depression is something experienced by those sad souls who have no ambition in life and just go to work and come home and sit on the couch in front of the TV and live for the weekend or those who don't even have a job or direction in life? That's not me... how can I be depressed?

No one would ever look at me and say, "there goes someone who is depressed", they point to me as a motivated high-achiever. I remember a story where someone working with a successful litigator came to the realization that this lawyer was drunk a large portion of the time and when he questioned him about it, the lawyer called himself a high-functioning drunk. I think I am a high-functioning depressed business owner.

I know that Depression is something that a large portion of the population struggle with, some have struggle with it for periods lasting months or years and others struggle with it at some level their entire life. But that can't be me, right? Depression is for other people and if I am to be brutally honest in the back of my very judgmental mind, depression is an excuse used by those weak people unable to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. How could I be struggling with depression?

Yet the more I want to deny it, the more it looks and acts like depression, then maybe it really is depression.

So where do I go from here... I mean, this is kind of embarrassing, this isn't me, I'm not supposed to be this person. Yet I can see myself making bad decisions, not big ones or even noticeable ones, yet, but bad decisions all the same and I'm starting to see one bad decision leading to another and another in a cascading effect that may not be apparent on the surface just yet but if left unchecked will lead to larger, more impactful decisions. Yet the strange phenomena of the personal embarrassment and guilt feelings of watching myself make bad choices causes me to feel even worse, cycling me further down the path.

Never having struggled with alcoholism myself, I have still learned so much by talking to those people who are in AA alcoholics anonymous. the principles behind that organization are so sound and so in tune with our fallen nature as people, our need of God and our potential as image bearers and children of God. the First step is admitting that you are an alcoholic made famous by the statement "Hi, I'm _______ and I am an alcoholic"

Part of what gives depression its power is the shame -- and the need to conceal those feelings to give off the aura that everything is awesome, business is great and I'm doing fantastic.

Well, here goes: "Hi, I'm Seth, and I'm depressed."

It's a usual writing pattern to start out with a question and then take the reader down the path of looking at the different sides of the issue before the author finally gives the reader the answer. Lets change that up a little bit.

If by "teaching," you mean the traditional idea that education is the process of taking young skulls full of mush and cramming them full of facts, figures, principles and processes that they can later regurgitate on a nicely gradable form of test, then no, I don't think that it's possible to teach entrepreneurialism.

But let's move past that limited thinking and look at whether we can effectively teach a generation to venture out into this area of entrepreneurship. 

I believe that most people naturally have a creative and entrepreneurial spirit, and many of them have great ideas, but what they don’t have are:

1. A practice environment, a place where they have the opportunity to voice their ideas without fear of someone who has never tried to make something themselves squashing their idea out of a warped sense of justifying their own metiority. but have the idea criticized and honed by others who because they are creating themselves aren't threatened by the success of others. An environment where they are allowed to fail without judgement 

2. Someone who teaches them the practical technical skills needed in order to take this idea and actually make it into reality. The basic skills needed to run startup a venture, the skills needed to run a business. This isn't teaching them entrepreneurship, but it is teaching them the skills needed to make sure that their innate entrepreneurial spirit doesn’t get wasted

3. Show them how to look at the world. Sure, you can teach them the skills needed to run a business, but can you teach someone to recognize ‘entrepreneurial opportunity’ - the step before entrepreneurial action?

Simply get students thinking in an entrepreneurial way — get them looking for problems and searching for ways to solve them.

Having that mindset will help them regardless of whether they start their own company, become an employee of an existing company, or even in solving, say, social problems in their communities, No matter what career they choose, it’s important for young people to look at the world through the lens of an entrepreneur.

4. Practice, Practice, Practice. 
The old ways of teaching entrepreneurship with war stories of successful entrepreneurs and a mindset and theories taught in a straight line from the practice of large, existing organizations is dying

I don't think we can teach entrepreneurialism through the traditional model of education, but I do believe that we can facilitate this learning through experiential pedagogy by allowing them to take action and try things out.  teach entrepreneurship with a focus on bringing action and ‘doing’ into the classroom.

We can give them an environment to allow it and the skills to make the most of it but we also have to have a way for those seeds to be planted such that the teaching someone to be ‘entrepreneurial’ becomes about them teaching and learning on their own through ‘doing.’ 

Ever tried teaching how to ride a bicycle in a classroom? It really doesn't matter how much or how well you can teach the theory of why and how a bicycle stays upright, far better to get them outside on a bicycle, trying it, falling down, wobbling and then finally succeeding, then bring them into the classroom and explain to them the physics principles involved in riding a bike. 

Through traditional education you can give them some of the tools needed to succeed, but you also have to get them to see the world differently. It’s both about teaching individuals to build ventures but also teaching them to think and act in an entrepreneurial way. Thinking entrepreneurially is something that everyone can do, but most don't. We need to get people to engage their creative spirit and and then build something that doesn't currently exist except in their imagination. 

This believe and dream for helping people unlock the potential of their creative and entrepreneurial capabilities is why I love working with programs like the Entrepreneurial Program at Hope College This program is the vision of Steve Vanderveen who has been creating a environment of allowing students to learn and grow not through sitting through lectures but by taking their ideas out into the real world and testing them out, to get them to not just engage the idea but to engage the community, to work with mentors and coaches who have experience who will guide them on their way. Steve's Program has launched numerous successful ventures started by students while still in college.

Entrepreneurship education must move beyond the classroom. 

It needs to be brought into the world where business happens. In an academic setting, students will learn, sure, but I don’t know how much they’re going to be inspired or how much they’ll retain.