To be successful in the startup world requires an unrelenting amount of determination, persistence and trust. More than anything, though, it takes resilience to deal with the stress that seems to perpetually grow and not show any sign of slowing down.
The stress entrepreneurship brings to the table can be overwhelming and might take its toll on both the psychological and physical health of the entrepreneurs. Some small business owners seem as though they’re always walking on sunshine, while others are frantically pulling their hair out. Yet the truth remains: every entrepreneur is faced with challenges in business. So, how can we prevent, reduce and overcome them? While life may give you 99 problems, your startup shouldn’t be one of them
Here are six smart ways to reduce the startup stress:
1. Relax throughout the day
It’s important to take mini-breaks during your work day. Stop what you’re doing, massage your shoulders and neck and head and hands and arms, get up and stretch, walk around, drink some water. Go outside and appreciate the fresh air and the beautiful sky. Talk to someone you like. Life doesn’t have to be all about productivity. You should also avoid using online activity too much as your de-stressing activity — get away from the computer to relax.
2. Exercise your entrepreneurial chivalry
Attitude is contagious. Random acts of kindness help brighten anybody’s day. The person on the receiving end will be pleasantly surprised that you went out of your way and in return, you’ll feel positive from helping another.
On the one hand, stress is no fun as it eats away at your purpose. On the other hand, though, it serves as a fuel towards that same ambition. Manage your stress and you manage your entrepreneurial impact.
3. Eliminate unnecessary commitments
We all have many commitments in our life, starting with work but also including commitments related to kids, our spouses, things to do at home, other family, civic, side work, religious, hobbies, online activities and more. Consider each of them, the amount of stress they provide, and the value you get out of them. Edit brutally, and take steps today to remove the ones that stress you out the most.
4. Forget the goals. Focus on process.
Hearing the word “process” makes those unshaven hairs on the back of your neck stick up because the last thing anybody needs is more rules. However, the reality is that the learning lessons and “fruit” of learning occur along the journey of attaining a goal, not in achieving it.
If you’ve ever played on a team then you know that consistency is what yields a win — the daily grind of showing up and applying what you learned. It’s not so much the “plays” you learn but the habit of learning that becomes the winning process.
5. Hire great people who deal well under stress.
Don’t get stressed in seemingly stressful situations. Have a history of dealing with hard situations. You realize how amazing these people are during the moment of a crisis when they’re calm, own the issue and quickly problem solve.
6. Guard your physical health
Sleep, eat, walk. If your physical state is out of control, your startup soon will be.
7. Stop Comparing
The Internet is filled with entrepreneurial success stories; snapshots of individuals who went from nothing to millionaire status (seemingly overnight) without a single struggle (at least, that’s what they’d have you think). The moment you start comparing your own small business journey and struggles with unrealistic notions of success is the moment you start to allow the stress to pile on unnecessarily.
Instead, look for local inspiration. Talk to entrepreneurs who’ve been where you are and build a relationship. Look for entrepreneurial organizations to join and startup conferences to attend. Listen to real stories of business struggle and how they got through. Remember: no business is without stress; you’re not alone.
8. Set up a Challenge
Sometimes focusing on something else can put the stressors related with running a startup in check. Set up a challenge that you can achieve that is not related to your business. Consider devising an exercise plan to combat stress, set a goal or sign up for a race or other wellness activity. By setting yourself up for success in another area of life – while maintaining an active lifestyle that promotes relaxation and positive energy – you’ll be better equipped to manage the stress of running a startup.
9. Be Honest
Any entrepreneur who convinces themselves that they will not face stress in business is hurting themselves from the start. One of the best ways to handle stress is to be prepared for it. To do this, acknowledge that there will be stresses associated with your startup.
There will be times when you will feel stretched thin and pushed to your limits. Prepare yourself in advance by crafting a plan or writing a mantra for dealing with that stress. Remind yourself that you cannot do everything on your own and that it is perfectly acceptable to ask for help when necessary. Set limits for where you will draw the line and try a new approach to old problems. Take an honest viewlook at what’s involved with running a startup, and you’ll be prepared for whatever comes your way.
10. Avoid multitasking
Having multiple tasks going on at the same time might seem productive, but in actuality it slows us down from actually focusing on a task and completing it — and it stresses us out in the meantime. Learn to single-task.
11. Avoid difficult people
You know who they are. If you take a minute to think about it, you can identify all the people in your life — bosses, coworkers, customers, friends, family, etc. — who make your life more difficult. Now, you could confront them and do battle with them, but that will most certainly be difficult. Just cut them out of your life.
12. Slow down
Instead of rushing through life, learn to take things slow. Enjoy your food, enjoy the people around you, enjoy nature. This step alone can save tons of stress.
13. Zen-like environment
Take time to declutter your desk (as mentioned above) and even once you do that, continually edit your desk and working space, and the things in your home, until you’ve created a simple, peaceful, Zen-like environment. It will be much less stressful to work in an environment like that than a more cluttered and distracting one.