In our entrepreneurial travels, we will have days that seem like we can do no wrong. Every light we pass on our drive to work is green, the gas station attendant was actually cordial today, and our website registered record-breaking visits on the previous day. These types of days are why we have decided to buck tradition and start our own companies.
However, there are the other types of days that we just do not want to talk about. Every call we get, customers are irate. Every action we take is wrong. Then we get home and find out the dog ran away, the goldfish is dead, and your child lost their library book. The stress is building. And then the next day, seems to be a rerun of the previous day except with new problems, still no dog or library book, and now the car broke down. The hits keep coming and stress keeps building. It is these types of days that entrepreneurs, including myself, question why under God’s green earth did we choose to be self-employed.
Entrepreneurs have specific, unconscious mechanisms or habits we used to cope with stress. Some are helpful such as exercising. However, other forms of coping just make situations worse such as angry outbursts. To help other entrepreneurs, and myself, I have done some research and identified five actions entrepreneurs may take to better cope with stress.
Take the Day Off
Take the day off. This is a foreign notion to us entrepreneurs who work seven days a week 12 to 18 hour a day. Go for a walk. Spent time with the family. Spend more time at the gym. Just get away from the office, technology (including your phone), and coworkers. Time alone or with the friends and family helps to alleviate stress, clear your mind, and gives time to break the “hell cycle”, which is become your life.
Step Back and Shift Perspective
If taking the day off is just not an option, then stepping back from work and shifting perspective may be beneficial. Several years ago, I worked with a gentleman in the mortgage industry who would disappear at particularly stressful times for 15 to 20 minutes. When he would return from his Houdini act, it seemed like the world had been lifted from his shoulders. One day, I asked him how he was able to change his state of mind in a matter of minutes. His response was “shifting perspective”. He then explained that when everything seems to be going South, he steps out of the office, takes a deep breath and looks at the challenging situation from different perspectives such as the customers or vendors. From the different perspectives, he is better able to understand why customers or vendors act the way they do. From this, he is able to approach challenging situations in a more productive manner.
Stay Away from the Booze
One of the most popular coping mechanisms for stress that I see entrepreneurs use is drinking alcoholic beverages. Drinking alcohol shifts an emotional state from “stressed out” to carefree in a matter of minutes. Granted, this action does alleviate stress, for a short time. However, after consuming your alcoholic concoction, do not bother returning to work. And therein lies the issue. Entrepreneurs need to work or we are not in business.
Meditation is Sacred
In my many years of entrepreneurship, nothing has worked better for me than meditation. Almost all entrepreneurs that I know claim their mind is going “1,000 miles a minute” from sun up to sun down. Myself included. Using meditation allows a person to stop focusing on their “inner monologue” and focus on external sounds. This action not only allows you to break the perpetual cycle of frustrating thoughts but also gives you a few moments of peace and quiet. Heaven on earth, in my so humble of opinions.
If All Else Fails… Get Help
Too many times entrepreneurs take on more projects or customers than they can handle. This leads to stress, more stress, then more stress again. If all else fails, get help. Help may be in the form of hiring more people to service customers, seeking out professional help from business consultants, or taking time to visit a psychologist. Know when you have reached this point and take action for the sake of your business, customers, and family.
Author: Paul Borosky, MBA., ABD.
Owner: Quality Business Plan & Tutor4Finance