There’s one thing you should know about stress – either you control it, or it controls you. Working as an entrepreneur or owning a business, can be both the best thing you’ve ever done or the most stressful responsibility you’ve ever taken up. Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon believes that taking action reduces stress, while Steve Jobs was a staunch supporter of meditation which involved sitting absolutely still and observing all that went around him. Different people deal with stress in different ways. But more often than not, we are unable to cope with it and crumble under the pressure.
Research has proven that a certain amount of stress is healthy, it keeps us going in the right direction. But an excessive amount of stress can result in physiological and psychological issues. Speaking from personal experience, I have made a list of 6 things you could do, if you’ve been feeling the blues lately owing to stress.
Look on the Brighter Side
Negativity never helped anyone, and is one of the triggers of stress. On an ordinary day in the life of an entrepreneur, there are both good things and bad. I’ve had days when I have lost a valuable client, but won over another with my pitch. No entrepreneur has it easy, it is how you choose to perceive it that makes the difference. You could wash your hands off the matter and blame your luck, or you could take it as an opportunity to prove yourself once again. We’ve all hit rock bottom, but we have risen up from the ashes again. Have a positive outlook, think about what you learnt in the process instead of harping on what could have been.
Focus on Yourself and Prioritize
When starting out, you will feel that your business is the most important thing in the world to you. Take some time off every day to remind yourself of what truly is important. Spend time with your friends, go out for a dinner alone, take your kid to the park and most importantly, take good care of yourself. Those business tycoons you read about all have hobbies of their own, they maintain healthy habits and get sufficient sleep at night, although burning the midnight oil is quite a common occurrence in the life of a businessman. If you’re too tired, your body is working overtime which is enough to send your cortisol level (stress hormone) through the roof. Working out or cardio can be a great way to quash stress.
It’s the Journey, Not the Destination
You have to come to terms with the fact that you will make mistakes. We are human beings after all! You cannot penalize yourself every time you make a mistake, how else are you supposed to learn? Take Richard Branson for example, he never shied away from admitting his failures; they made him what he is! You need to let go of your idea of perfection, which could be weighing you down and causing undue stress.
Maintain a Fixed Routine Daily
One of the most daunting and intimidating tasks as an entrepreneur is taking critical decisions daily. Your decisions may vary from something as simple as what e-mail to send or something as tricky as firing someone. Prepare a routine everyday and stick to it. Working in a haphazard manner never got me anywhere, at least! A routine will be able to help you get through your daily chores, stress-free. President Obama is the most likely candidate for stress, and this is what he said in an interview to Vanity Fair,
“…. You need to focus your decision-making energy. You need to routinize yourself. You can’t be going through the day distracted by trivia.”
The benefits of meditation do not have to be asserted all over again, some of the world’s most successful businessmen have gone on record to say how meditation saved them from succumbing to stress. I didn’t believe in the powers of meditation, until I tried it out myself. You could follow the example set by Ryan Simonneti, the founder of Convene, who said that he found it beneficial to do numerous 1 minute sessions throughout a day instead of meditating for one continuous session.
Convert your Stress into Top Performance
You cannot be a successful businessman if you lack self-confidence or self-belief. You have to believe that you control what happens to you, not the other way around. In the fast paced life that we are leading today, you cannot escape stress. But you can convert it into something positive. Tim Judge, a psychologist from the University of Florida, showed that people who insisted on taking matters in their hands were more “empowered” and were more successful in their endeavours.
Ask any successful businessman you know, they will agree with me when I say that these could be your secret weapons in your battle against stress. Motivation and an eye on the bigger picture- these will help you overcome hindrances when the going gets tough.