Every successful business owner is dealing with stress in business. You may be stressed about time (or lack thereof), money, glitches in your processes and delivery, team or suppliers letting you down, customers not paying you … well the list could go on and on. Stress can even be the reason some people do stop running a business. It can affect your personal life and your relationships. In my view, stress (to some degree) is inevitable – you just have to learn to cope and deal with it.
Stress is not all bad though. It keeps you on your feet, boost your energy and improve memory recall, although prolonged and on-going stress is not good for us. The key is to not stress about it (yes, don’t stress about stress).
Here are some suggestions on how to deal with stress as a business owner:
Think about what motivated you to start the business in the first place.
Focus on why you’re doing what you’re doing. Find your motivation – do you want to provide for your family? Is it your dream job? Look at the big picture. Refocus your mind and think about where you want to be. Still, on the big picture, ask yourself this. The thing which is soooo stressful at present; in six months’ time, if you looked back, is it that bad? We often make things out to be worse than they really are. In the scheme of things; some things are not as important as we think. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
This may be easier said than done but try to see failures as learning opportunities instead of dwelling on the negative. Failure is part of any endeavour but it also gives you that little kick so that you can get back on your feet and keep moving forward. Staying positive and having gratitude for what IS working brings it back into perspective. A gratitude diary is a wonderful little tool.
Focus on how far you’ve gone instead of how much work still needs to be done.
Don’t be so perfect. No one is perfect and no one gets things right the first time. You can always try again if you’re determined to make things happen. Learn from your mistakes, keep trying, and never give up.
Talk about things with someone close to you.
‘No man is an island’ and it is always better if you have someone you can go and talk to. Acknowledge the stress, talk about stressful events, restore strength (and sanity!), and then return to work refreshed. Brainstorming is extremely effective and often just ‘getting it off your chest’ helps a heap too.
Learn to laugh it off.
It is always good to find humour in things. Challenges and failures may make you feel down but laughter sometimes puts things to perspective. It refuels your mind and raises energy level, as well as your consciousness.
Take a break.
Whether it’s a break during the day, or ensuring you have at least one full day away from the business (including emails, social media etc) so that you can just chill, relax and have a life outside the business. Going out with trusted friends helps too.
Remember that the most important asset in your business is you, so take care of yourself with a good diet, sufficient sleep and regular exercise.
I’m not a dietitian or health professional, but I know as a business owner myself, when I am healthy and happy personally, my business does better. Getting enough sleep, cutting back on the coffee, sugar and fats and getting great exercise makes us feel better both physically and emotionally. If you keep skipping the gym because you run out of time and put it off until tomorrow, then a more structured option may work better, such as a class or personal trainer at a set time.
Animals are wonderful for de-stressing.
If you are lucky enough to work from home and feeling stressed; rather than grabbing another coffee, take your four legged friend for a walk. I assure you they won’t mind, and that little 15 minute break will allow you to return refreshed and recharged and with better clarity to deal with the challenges.
Remove the stress initiators.
For me, running late and time used to really stress me out. So, now I set my diary with ‘buffer time’ so that I always leave early; if the traffic is heavy or there is an accident, I don’t become stressed because I’ve left in plenty of time. If ringing up and asking to be paid stressed you, delegate that task. If your bookkeeping and BAS stress you, outsource it. Work out what stresses you most, and work out how to remove (or substantially reduce) that stress factor.
One major cause of stress is the multitude of decisions you need to make each day.
Every decision, from deciding what to wear in the morning, to hiring and firing decisions causes stress. Having a routine can reduce the number of decisions you make. For example, checking and answering emails at the same time every day. Keeping lists on what you have to action that day is also effective, but limit the number of items on that list to no more than 3 or 4. Trying to over-fill and overachieve will add stress to the situation.
As you’ll see above, my tips on stress is mostly about attitude, adjusting to what is stressing you, rather than some miracle cure. Yes, things like music or rolling your shoulders or taking deep breaths will certainly help, but my view is to reduce the stress in the first place and not give it so much importance in your day. Stress is inevitable, and it keeps you on your toes, but don’t let it define you, but rather, learn to dance with it.
For more business coaching tips to keep you up with your business success, call me on 0411 622 666.