9 Ways For Entrepreneurs To Beat Stress
Starting a business is a tough job, and if you aren’t careful there is a whole mountain of related stress that could come toppling down on you. You’ve got to think about your bottom line every single day, focus constantly on how to improve sales, and provide excellent customer service. I know exactly what you’re dealing with, because I’ve been there myself—and I can tell you that there is never going to be a point where suddenly everything falls together and you can stop worrying about your business. It just doesn’t work like that.
Being a CEO, however, doesn’t give you an excuse to get overwhelmed, buckle under stress, and let down your employees, investors, customers, and yourself. Personally, I think of stress as the force that stretches an elastic band wider and wider. Once the elastic is put under a certain amount of stress, it won’t shrink back to its original size. I see myself as that elastic: permanently changed, and no longer susceptible to worrying about the same things I once worried about. Every time I learn to handle one type of stress, it no longer has a negative effect on me. I have stretched and become more capable.
If you are struggling to remain cool and controlled in the face of ongoing entrepreneurial stress, take a breath and implement some of these stress-reducing techniques that I and other CEOs employ on a daily basis:
1. When you are overwhelmed and see no way out, take a break.
I’m talking about a serious break, meaning no Wi-Fi, no cell phone, no contact with managers, staff or customers, and nothing work-related. The problem isn’t going anywhere, so you need to let go of it for a little while. Get some space, think about other things, and then go back to face the problem when you are refreshed and able to handle it better.
2. Have a good support system.
You are going to have some hard times on your journey, you need to surround yourself with like-minded people who understand and see your vision and will encourage you along the way. Without this kind of support, a CEO isn’t going anywhere.
3. Find a mentor.
Mentorships greatly influence the longevity of small businesses. In fact, 70 percent of small businesses whose owners have mentors will last more than five years.
4. Make time to eat, and not just fast food.
Many wildly successful CEOs in several industries make time for a healthy breakfast. Virgin CEO Richard Branson starts his days with a fruit salad and granola, while Whole Foods Market CEO John Mackey drinks a smoothie every morning.
5. Maintain your muscles as well as your mind.
Being in great physical shape may not seem necessary for a business owner, but the better care you take of your body, the better you will be able to solve problems and spend time doing what’s important to you.
6. Maintain a positive mindset.
It’s so important to stay positive, whether you are in business or not. Without cultivating a positive personality, and teaching yourself how to focus on the good in every situation, you’ll be overwhelmed before your business even takes off.
7. Be happy with ‘good enough.’
This is a mantra I use myself, and it has helped me develop my own multi-million dollar company. When I say this, I mean that you need to realize you can’t perfect every single thing, no matter how hard and long you try. Don’t waste time trying. Instead, get your products, systems, and services as good as you can in a reasonable amount of time, and then move on.
8. Be flexible.
There is nothing in business that is certain, except that the unexpected will happen. You can plan to come into work at 8 a.m. every day, have a half-hour meeting, delegate the normal duties, and get home by 5 p.m., but it’s not going to happen. Computer systems will break down, staff will call in sick, customers will call needing technical assistance, and the banks will randomly decline client credit cards. There’s nothing you can do to control the rest of the world, so you’re going to have to expect things to go wrong, and be ready to deal with it. Stay flexible by expecting your schedule to change, and commit to coming up with solutions on the fly.
9. Get enough sleep.
No matter how hard you try, you just can’t stay awake every hour of every day. Your body needs 7-9 hours of sleep per day to function at its best. As a business owner, you’re asking a lot of your brain each and every day, so if you want to get the best out of it you’ll have to get some sleep.
Remember What Got You into Business in the First Place
Every entrepreneur encounters stress, so if you really want to succeed, you need to learn how not to let that stress take over your life. Conquering business challenges is an everyday part of entrepreneurship, and it gives you the chance to learn some invaluable lessons. Be ready for the challenges and welcome them!