Cory Miller started iThemes back in 2008 as a premium theme company for WordPress. Today he and his company are best known for their Backup Buddy plugin and iThemes security. He’s also the co-author of WordPress All-in-One for Dummies and the current Communications chair of the Oklahoma chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organization. Today he joins WP Elevation to talk about mental health topics such as depression and emotional resilience for entrepreneurs.
You probably recognize Cory Miller because of his company iThemes and their plugin and software offerings for WordPress. However, he’s here on the WP Elevation podcast for another reason.
As part of our mental health awareness campaign, Cory Miller joins us to discuss a few of the topics he boldly shared in a WordCamp talk he gave in Denver recently. If you want to hear that talk in full you can find it in the links below.
The first thing I asked Cory about was the concept of not being responsible for other people’s happiness. Even if you don’t have a boss or co-workers and you work at home solo, this still applies to you and the work you do for your clients.
Cory says this belief and perspective came out of personal experience – he’s been a people pleaser for most of his life and still has those tendencies. But in a team meeting about six years ago he said this same thing to his people: no one is responsible for their happiness but themselves. And when he said this he realized he’s also responsible for his own happiness. That realization freed him in areas of his life where he had previously been held captive.
We also talked about his struggle with depression and the tools he now uses to help himself. Cory believes that entrepreneurship itself is one of the toughest, loneliest jobs a person can take on. He discusses a few strategies that he implements to maintain positive mental health and happiness.
The main thing is to surround yourself with supportive people; he calls them sidekicks. For a long time, Cory didn’t have someone to bounce ideas off of and vent to, but he has found a few key people to do that with now. And his wife is at the top of that list.
His second “sidekick” is his COO Matt. With Matt in this role, Cory knows he can step away from the business for a few days and everything will run smoothly. Matt has been in the job for a few years now and it’s made a big difference in Cory’s overall mental health and state of mind.
Next is Cory’s local entrepreneur group. For the last five years, Cory has met with this group for three hours a month. These are all entrepreneurs and business owners who have reached the $1 million sales revenue mark in their businesses. They all come together to talk about business, life and do so in a confidential way. Cory says these folks have been lifesavers for him.
And the remaining people are Cory’s mentors, including his coach Michael Smith and Cory’s counselor Kyle. Cory says these are all the type of people who rush into his life when other people would rush out. If there’s a crisis of any sort they are there for him and for his family.
Speaking of family, I also asked Cory how his wife holds him accountable to his blind spots. He describes the importance of open communication with his wife as well as their planned day dates and road trips together. And when they have difficult conversations, he knows she is coming from a place of love and not a place of criticism.
We wrap up our conversation by talking about how having kids has changed his mental health landscape, his insights on emotional resilience and why it’s so important in the life of an entrepreneur.
Find out about all of that on today’s edition of the WP Elevation Podcast!