Entrepreneurs are pushed to the brink. Their willpower is constantly tested as they are presented with countless challenges and obstacles. All that pressure leads to stress. Stress is most often a result of high levels of activity over a long period of time. If you want to maintain a healthy mental and physical state you need to learn how to manage that stress.
Here are seven proven strategies that help entrepreneurs handle stress.
Acknowledge the choices you make
More often than not, stress is caused by choices you make while running your business. The worst thing you can do at this point is feel sorry for yourself and blame it on bad circumstances.
As an entrepreneur you’re going to make decisions every single day. Some will be small and some may determine the fate of your entire company. You need to develop the mental fortitude to acknowledge the choices you make, both good and bad. If you’re looking for other things or people to blame it’ll only amplify the stress it puts on you. High performing entrepreneurs acknowledge the choices they make from the time they wake up to the time they’re asleep. You need to do the same.
Put your problems in perspective
A great way to bounce back from problems is to put them in perspective. Don’t let little problems turn into catastrophes. You lost one of your key team members? Go find someone better. Did one of your potential investors pull out at the last second? Then they probably weren’t a good fit in the first place. Very few people have the drive let alone the opportunity to become an entrepreneur. Embrace it and remember that your problems are only as big as you make them.
Write it out
Writing serves as a great outlet for your emotions and will help you gain a bit more clarity. It also gives you the opportunity to get everything off your chest without laying all your problems on someone else. When you become overwhelmed with stress, grab a journal and take a few minutes to write things out.
When you start writing you don’t need to be formal or start from the beginning either. As you mind wanders jot down your thoughts. If solutions start to come to you, you can start putting together a short to do list in your journal. If you take this approach make sure to keep your list short. You don’t want to come out of the writing session with a page of to do’s, if that’s the case make sure you rank items by importance and make sure you’re being precise.
Don’t always be a cheapskate
When starting a business it’s important to be frugal. Your capital is your lifeblood and as the founder you need to be aware of every penny that comes in and out of the business. That said, there are times when you don’t want to be cheap.
When it comes to expenses like legal or insurance fees you need to allocate an appropriate amount of your budget to take care of them. In startups, Murphy’s Law will always come to bite you in the you know what. What can go wrong, probably will. That said, you want to make sure you’re covered. Take the time to find a reliable legal council and don’t skip out on shielding your business from potential liabilities.
Find the silver lining
If you want to be an entrepreneur you need to develop mental strength. Startups are one of if not the toughest career path you can take in life. Those who dwell on the negatives and feel sorry for themselves will end up with time wasted and no business to run. Those who are resilient and find even the smallest ounce of light in the darkest of situations will be successful.
Successful entrepreneurs recognize that there is plenty of good that can come from a stressful situation. For example let’s say you’ve spent the last 6-months building a mobile application that allows people to apply filters to photos they’ve taken. You launch the product, and find out that people aren’t really interested in applying filters. They actually prefer sharing them with their friends. Sure you just spent 6 months building an application nobody really wanted. But the user feedback just told you what they want. That’s how Instagram became Instagram.
The point is you need to always look for the silver lining. There are always lessons to be learned from mistakes. Those mistakes are what helps us grow and become better entrepreneurs tomorrow. The next time you’re stressed, try your hardest to look for at least one positive. You’d be surprised with how many you can find.
Get outside and exercise
Research has shown that physical activity is an excellent outlet for negative emotions such as stress, anger, and anxiety. As you exercise, your body releases endorphins which give you a natural high. This natural pick me up will help you clear you head and keep your stress at bay.
Some suggest any type of exercise is helpful. Which is true. However, the best way to truly sweat out your stress is by exercising outdoors. Your physical environment plays a major role on your mood. The difference between running on a treadmill and on a trail with a nice view is huge. Even if you take a jog around the neighborhood it’s much better than working out indoors.
Talk with other entrepreneurs
When you’re stressed, it’s never a good idea to bottle it up and keep it within. Whether you need to talk with your best friend or a coworker it’s all very helpful. The best approach you can take is talk with other entrepreneurs. You’ll soon figure out that you are far from alone. Aside from providing moral support, other entrepreneurs may have solutions to your problems since they’ve been there before.
At the end of the day, stress is a part of entrepreneurship. The difference between those who can handle their stress and those who cant is experience and mental fortitude. The seven strategies listed above will help you determine your best methods of coping with stress so you can get back on the horse and build your empire!