14 January 2021|Latest Posts, Psychology
As entrepreneurs, we have many plates to juggle and many roles to fulfil:- Financials; Sales; Operations; PR; Social Media, HR to name a few. Add in our personal duties and responsibilities as a Partner; Parent; Son or Daughter and it’s no wonder we can experience regular bouts of stress. The pull for our time and energy comes in every direction, and as business owners, we naturally strive to be the best which adds to the daily stresses and pressure. It’s not like this is news to us; we knew of the responsibilities and demanding schedules before setting out on the entrepreneurial journey. But the reality of what it looks and feels like can at times be overwhelming.
And herein lies the problem, this initial stage of stress if ignored, becomes the perfect breeding ground for procrastination which is the death of any business.
Visualise this – your task list is growing, days are ‘busy’, but not much is getting done, energy levels are up and down and, the best-laid plans are going awry – you find yourself a ‘Jack of all trades and master of none’. At this stage, you and your business suffer, but forewarned is forearmed. When stress is ignored or believed to be part of the territory of entrepreneurship it can spiral out of control in your head. The mind becomes a battlefield – inner thoughts coming in thick and fast like traffic in a rush hour. These emotional stresses can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms: under/overeating, drinking, smoking, gambling or drugs.
Physically, the body also suffers, and the number one problem I hear within my coaching practice is sleep deprivation. At this stage, your immune system is now vulnerable and open to attack. And it’s no surprise that so many entrepreneurs complain of regular colds, headaches and ailments. Time off work is sometimes needed, and rather than bouncing back from the rest – the overdue task lists creates more anxiety and the vicious circle of stress in the entrepreneur’s life becomes the norm.
Just like traffic lights control our roads and keep rush hour traffic flowing safely, we too as entrepreneurs must learn how to manage the inner traffic of thoughts to eradicate burnout.
Overwhelm is your saviour. It’s your inner pre-warning system in action, your protective best friend that is helping you stop and take control before stress spirals out of control. Learning to catch overwhelm starts with a developing a solid foundation for you and your business, the solutions are easier than you think because it’s prevention rather than cure.
TOP 5 X PREVENTORS OF STRESS AND ANXIETY
1. GET ORGANISED
A smooth-running business with systems and task-management helps eradicate overwhelm, pressure and stress. Explore what works best for you – is it Kanban Boards like ‘Trello’? Or do you work best with a simple list like ‘To-Do-Ist’? Or perhaps with the current climate and increase in working from home, your business now needs an online team management software like ‘Asana’? Whatever your business requirements, being organised is imperative for your business and mental health. Successfully managing your customers, staff and suppliers needs with a task management system will also improve your relationships, confidence and business capabilities.
Working with successful systems in place improves your time management and overall running’s of the business. Rather than getting bogged down and stressed by firefighting, you will have more time for creative, forward-thinking in scaling up your business.
2. QUALITY TIME
Just because the world works 9-5 pm doesn’t mean you have to. One of the joys of being self-employed is that you get to choose the number of hours you work, so create a daily/weekly timetable that works best for you, your business and your family commitments. And remember that the old mindset of ‘working all hour’s god sends’ doesn’t always equate to successful results. Sometimes it’s the opposite – fatigue, burnout and stress.
An inspiring read is from Tim Ferris, the author of ‘The Four-Hour Work Week’ – a great self-help book that explores a different way of working and thinking.
Remember: you cannot buy time, but you can choose to spend it wisely.
3. POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING
The power of positive thinking is not something new, Aristotle, the famous Greek philosopher (384-322 BC) said: “The energy of the mind is the essence of life.” I advise my clients to protect their mind from stress, anxiety and negative thinking by flooding it with daily 1hr sessions of inspiring podcasts, books, webinars or YouTube videos. Training your mind to think positively is a skill that many pioneer’s past and present attribute to business success and optimum wellbeing.
Your thinking becomes your thoughts; your thoughts become your feelings; your feelings control your actions.
4. ACCEPTANCE – Accept the things you cannot change, the courage to change the things you can and the wisdom to know the difference are words to live by for healthy, triumphant living. Taken from the serenity prayer, this is something I share with my entrepreneur clients irrespective of their faith because it’s not about religion it’s about accepting situations that are beyond your control and this is a key skill very different to positive thinking. As entrepreneurs, we face many problems, it’s part of the job– so learn to stop ruminative thinking and instead use the power of Acceptance add in Positive Thinking and you have a winning formula to swiftly triumph over challenging times within your business. Knowing the difference between acceptance and positive thinking is a life and energy saver.
Accept the problem or situation if it’s beyond your control. Force yourself to think positively and plough your energy into changing what you can.
5. ME TIME – The biggest guilt trip I hear from entrepreneurs in my coaching practice is taking time out for themselves. Creating a life you love away from work is imperative as the physical and emotional energy demands of running a business are high. Set time aside in your daily/weekly schedule for Self-Care, Time with Loved-Ones and Hobbies. What this looks like differs for everyone but as a general rule of thumb includes a strict self-care routine, daily exercise, healthy eating, learning a new hobby (cooking, musical instrument, language) and connecting with loved ones. If you have time, giving back to society through Volunteering is also incredibly rewarding. What you choose to do during your ME TIME is the power of personal choice, just remember that giving yourself a regular break provides you with a mental holiday – paramount for the busy entrepreneur. Essential to note that taking time out shouldn’t always involve “doing something’ – chilling out with family or Netflix is equally beneficial.
Intentionally prioritising YOU in your daily/weekly schedule is a must for your health, wellbeing, business success and overall life happiness.
Building and growing a business can be a wonderful, fulfilling life experience enjoyed by many without the stereotypical stresses and anxiety. The 5x Preventors I have mentioned here are just the beginning, a great place to start and expand on. As Helen Keller said, “What I’m looking for is not out there, it is in me.” – it so is. The power of the mind is limitless, and so are the possibilities for you and your business.
About the Author:
Coach Clair is a British Life Coach, founder of GROW2TRIUMPH, mother, entrepreneur and survivor of child abuse.