Being an entrepreneur can be so stressful and overwhelming, there are times when you wonder if it is really worth it. That’s when the constant pressure finally catches up with you. The debts are mounting, your staff is growing, you get that nauseous feeling in the pit of your stomach – and you long for the apparent simplicity of driving a delivery truck.
While stress is a part of everyday life and there is no way to do anything important (like run a business) without it, you can control how it affects you. It isn’t the big crisis that gets you, but the constant pecking of little things every day, most of which you can’t do anything about and many of which will not come true.
Mark Twain said it well: “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”
The effects of stress take a physical and mental toll, and nothing really helps. Back massages, exercise and meditation treat the symptoms, but not the real problem. Unfortunately, there’s no magic way to deal with stress. You are going to feel it no matter what you do.
There are two basic ways to attack it. First, make yourself more resistant to stress. Get in good physical shape; watch what you eat; get some interests outside of work; take up calming exercise such as tai chi or yoga. All these things will help.
If you really want to put a serious dent in your stress, however, you must understand that much of our stress is caused by that unknown feeling about the future – all the scary things that are “out there”. There is a straightforward way to combat this: come up with a clear plan for your business.
Think about it for a second: when you are just zooming along (even if things are going well) without a clear idea of where you are going, you will feel stress in everything you do. All this stress comes from the unknown, and you’d be amazed at how much a clear vision of your business goals will sweep away much of that.
When you have a plan, you are usually too busy working on that vision to spend much time worrying. You tend to see setbacks as minor events, and because you know what is coming next in your plan, you are able to keep your imagination from blowing things out of proportion.
The feeling of not being in control is the most stressful of all. The more defined your plan, the less of that feeling you’ll have. So get organised, find out what you are trying to do and get busy doing it. If you can throw yourself into that, you won’t have time to worry about all those little things, most of which you can’t do anything about anyway.