Everyday I meet people that have a lot of admiration for entrepreneurs and eagerly look forward to emulating them. They imagine that running your own business setup is not only the best thing but also most relaxing. Lie!!! This is the biggest lie ever.
The average Joe would rather have a job where orders come from above and all he has to do is execute according to the availed guidelines than be the one to generate those orders while ensuring that the actual destiny of the business remains positive.
Before you start the business, issues of moulding your idea, researching, identifying resources to run the business, product testing, etc will keep your mind racing and can stress you to the limit. When the business kicks off, managing staff, dealing with authorities, marketing, sales, rent, salaries all become another stress factor. Even in maturity, matters concerning departing staff, theft, Tax reconciliations, bidding, accessing credit for big assignments etc have the ability to push your stress levels to a new high. So, there is never a moment when an entrepreneur can say that they are stress free.
This is why the best solution lies in managing it. One should develop the intelligence to detect when it’s kicking in then jump into stress management mode. You can also develop certain behavioural activities around you that automatically help ease on stress.
Compartmentalise your life. Most business owners have a challenge of leading an entirely business life everywhere they go. Upon departure from office, one finds themselves at home punching away on the computer instead of attending to the needs of your partner or children. This tends to lead to late night work which then denies you enough rest in time for the following day. Make it a point to rest from your work, however urgent pending issues may be, they can wait for 8am the following day. This rest should not only be physical but also mental. Lock out all thoughts about work
Deal with challenges smartly. Challenges are part and parcel of the daily routine of an entrepreneur. Some are small and easy to sort out while others are too big to easily shove aside. Deal with them as they come, solve those that you can while not despairing on those that keep lingering. The only roadblock is your mind, if it builds up a particular challenge into something invincible, the stress sets in.
People. Identify the right people to work with or for you. Let us face it, you cant do everything in a business, however simple the individual tasks may seem. Book keeping is all about records, this data entry exercise can mess you up big time in case it’s poorly handled and an audit is being done.
Often times it is the small things that build up our stress e.g. failing to deliver a customer’s order on time as promised just because you got caught up elsewhere. By having an errand boy to take charge of such, you get an opportunity to reduce your problems.
Be Optimistic. The situation may be dire and seemingly hopeless. As opposed to worrying and teetering around in fear, you have a choice to remain optimistic with the hope that things will be fine. Each circumstance has both positives and negatives. Focus on the positives because stress usually arises when our focus is on negatives.
Celebrate your achievements. While running a business, there are achievements made on nearly a daily basis. Society though has conditioned us to take notice mainly of failures, however small. Always make a list of achievements and whenever you are swamped by challenges, instead of being swallowed up by the stress they yield, read out loud your achievement list and congratulate yourself.
Time off. Work can be too much making it very easy for one to work all through the day without noticing. Continuously doing this can lead to stress. During the work day, make time for some relaxation that involves you switching off work fully. I have a passion for watching cartoons. Between 1pm and 2pm, I usually watch downloaded videos of Tom & Jerry cartoons. Their kiddish humour gets me laughing all the way and it has been medically proved that laughing is one way of keeping away stress.
Health. You ought to mind your health. For most of us it’s business as usual until that inevitable moment when we have to see a doctor. The food you eat can help combat stress. Fruits and vegetables rich in anti-oxidants are advisable to eat like carrots, oranges and other citrus fruits. High fibre carbohydrate foods are also advised. Try to avoid caffeine, sugars and high fat foods.
Shove away the fuss. Every challenge comes with a lot of fuss around it. Failure to file tax returns on time could be accompanied with threats of closure by the authorities, freezing of the bank accounts, failure to implement projects, inability to get an updated tax clearance certificate e.t.c. Forget the rest and focus on filing the tax returns otherwise the multiple issues arising might stress you yet they all depend upon one activity.
One day at a time. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34) There is a tendency for business owners to lump up worries of an entire month or year ahead and get pre-occupied with them in the present. The Bible assures us that we have enough worries for today, why not save yourself stress of worrying over something which you most likely will only be able to change in future? By handling your challenges and tasks one day at a time, the stress is likely to be far less.
Tame Fear. Elon Musk, the man of the moment in global innovation once said, “Fear is finite, hope is infinite. We are afraid of failing, but it doesn’t stop us from trying.” Fear not only prevents us from achieving but it also catalyses stress whenever we imagine how badly things might turn out to be. It is important to have a strategy of taming fear in you. I personally tend to switch to singing uplifting religious songs as a way of chasing fear from my mind in order to attract faith.
Delete negative thoughts. Thoughts are powerful, so powerful that they yield emotions which could then lead to physical action on your part. Time spent dwelling on negativity can never produce anything positive. Again, you have a choice, to occupy your mind with positivity which brings peace and joy or negativity that gives birth to stress eventually.
Exploit your hobby. We all have something we like doing, more-so something positive to us. It could be sports, music, drawing, reading etc. As a business person, it is crucial that you call up your hobby regularly to calm you down. I have seen people whose stress has been managed by a round of golf.
Have a stress free future.
James Wire is a Small Business and Technology Consultant
Email: lunghabo (at) gmail (dot) com
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