It’s essential to consider how to manage your stress and anxiety properly. In fact, according to experts, doing so could boost your company’s success.
There are techniques to ease severe anxiety to succeed as an entrepreneur without compromising your health.
It’s no wonder we entrepreneurs are concerned since we are so engaged in our businesses, both financially and emotionally. According to a UCSF study, entrepreneurs may be more sensitive to mental health issues than the general population.
“Eat shit for four years and drink champagne for the rest of your life,” remarked serial entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk. The phrase was even turned into a poster at one point. The idea is that giving up everything for a few years, even fundamental concerns like what you’re doing is the best way to succeed with your startup.
Leaving aside the fact that this work ethic approach is one, but far from the only, winning formula — I like the “build slow and steady” approach — the stress and anxiety of operating a business rarely go away after the first few years. I’ve been the CEO of Jotform for 16 years and counting, and I can tell that the early days were challenging.
But first, let’s look at why we’re so worried.
Anxiety is a habit that may be broken.
An entrepreneur’s resting heart rate appears to be a worry at times. There is always something to do.
The list goes on and on a shift in focus, a new competition, a coming launch, and so on.
According to Dr Judson Brewer, a psychiatrist and associate professor at Brown University’s School of Public Health, anxiety is a habit. It creates a trigger/behaviour/reward loop by triggering particular behaviours — generally ways to escape unpleasant feelings, such as drinking alcohol or binge-watching Netflix — and creating a trigger/behaviour/reward loop.
Worrying is one of the most typical anxiety habits, which is probably all too familiar to any entrepreneur. While worrying provides people with a sense of control, it is harmful, according to Dr Brewer.
“There’s this correlation mistake that our brain thinks is causality… We might be overly concerned. We might come up with a solution, but it doesn’t mean we did so because we were worried.
And there’s plenty of proof that worrying narrows our concentration to the point where we can’t think creatively.”
Here are some expert-backed ways for dealing with anxiety to keep our thinking sharp and our worrying under control.
1. Dismiss the causal link:
You probably already know if you’re a worrier. Instead of allowing your worrying about going unabated, take a second to analyze whether your worries are producing essential consequences.
As Dr Brewer tells Harvard Business Review’s The Anxious Achiever podcast, we can investigate whether our brains are making false causal links. We can try the reverse if we believe we must be concerned to prepare for a terrible event. “We can plan without worrying and see which one comes out on top.”
Because when we’re worried, it’s like turning on our car and pushing on the gas usually, right? It doesn’t move us far, but it burns a lot of fuel.”
Recognizing whether or not you’re spending mental energy is the first step toward breaking the worry cycle.
These Techniques Aid Entrepreneurs in Dealing with Anxiety and Depression
2. Draw out your habit loops:
According to Dr Brewer, knowing is half the battle. Recognizing your triggers can provide a great starting point, even if you can’t modify the behaviour immediately.
Every issue that arose, especially in the first few years of having my own business, increased my anxiety – from user issues to staff issues, it felt like I was constantly anxious.
It felt like I was always putting out fires. Not all forms of stress are harmful. It may even benefit us sometimes, but I soon had to admit that my triggers were everywhere, and I was burned out. A typical day at work was a maze of tension. I needed to adapt, which for me meant learning to share.
Understanding the factors that cause you to worry can help you develop a strategy for gradually reducing anxiety.
3. Develop self-awareness:
Recognizing your loops goes hand-in-hand with practising self-awareness. Experts recommend practising regular practice to increase self-awareness rather than just tuning in when anxiety arises.
MIT Sloan School of Management’s Trish Cotter and Kathleen Stetson experimented with self-awareness with a team of accelerator program creators.
“If entrepreneurs understood more about their systems — their thoughts, feelings, and natural physical and emotional responses,” they suggested. “It could make better personal decisions in the face of the everyday demands of the business.”
They also presented a framework for self-awareness that included the following:
- recognizing current thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations
- naming those sensations
- reflecting on patterns throughout time
- making informed decisions based on self-reflection.
88 per cent of participants had formed regular mindfulness practice at the end of the program, and 93 per cent believed that self-awareness practice might help entrepreneurs construct more successful enterprises.
Cotter and Stetson did not force participants to undertake a self-awareness practice, which is a significant drawback of the study.
“We perfectly stated the research-backed benefits and showed how it could be included in their already busy life.”
Entrepreneurs speak the language of achievements, and the numbers speak for themselves regarding self-awareness. Developing your mindfulness practice can help you get that ideal state of mind.
4. Aim for good enough:
Finally, if you worry about perfection, ask yourself if you could achieve the same results with less effort (and stress). “If we can find that sweet spot where we do a decent enough job for our managers or whatever,” Dr Brewer says, “our bosses will be happy.”
“Our managers will be happier if we can find that sweet spot where we make a good enough job, which for most of us is a fine job for our bosses or whatever.”
In the end, it’s a return calculation. Concentrating your energy elsewhere is better if another day of constantly adjusting a project would only deliver slightly better results (like the self-awareness as mentioned above practice).
It may sound odd to entrepreneurs, but sometimes “good enough” is a better aim for your and your company’s overall health.
Although becoming a more balanced entrepreneur isn’t the stuff of viral tweets and posters, it has helped me become more balanced.
Over the previous couple of decades, I’ve worked hard to expand my business. I hope the above methods can help you reduce anxiety and become a healthier, happier, and possibly more successful entrepreneur.