Let’s face it, it can be a stressful world. Being an entrepreneur can be very stressful. We are busy; we have a lot of responsibilities as “the boss”. We are busy at work and at home. Looking at the news on TV, or on the internet could make you think the world is falling apart. Politics, violence, murder, and natural disasters can create lots of tension and stress and worry. That is, my entrepreneur friends, the bad news. There is good news however, you don’t have to let it! You can control and manage it!
After all, it’s called stress management. You can manage your stress, and you can be happier. As book author Wayne Dyer once said “The truth is that there is no actual stress or anxiety in the world; it’s your thoughts that create these false beliefs. You can’t package stress, touch it, or see it. There are only people engaged in stressful thinking.”
I travel all over the country speaking and training and I’m amazed at how many people are just freaked out in airports. They are adults; they know that flights get delayed and canceled. It’s a reality of life. I was once traveling out of Chicago and at the gate, the airline announced that it was snowing, and they were waiting to see if we would take off or not. They said they would make an announcement shortly.
A man came over to me and said with a very angry tone “Can you believe these people?” he shook his head in disgust. His face was red with irritation.
I said, “What people are we talking about?”
He looked at me like I was a child who didn’t understand. “You know these airlines, always delaying and canceling flights!”
I said “Well, it’s snowing.”
He said “Yes! It’s ridiculous, isn’t it?” He was angry at the snow.
I smiled and said, “I actually prefer that they make sure it’s safe before we fly. I like flying, but I don’t like crashing.”
He walked away from me and went over to someone else. He said to the next person, “Can you believe these people?”
If I am delayed or cancelled, I choose not to be upset.
There’s a lot of different things in the life of an entrepreneur that can stress us out:
- Tough times at your company
- Company rapid growth
- Operational issues
- Running a household
- Financial issues
- Employee issues
- Family members
- Health issues
- Marriage problems
- Problems with vendors
- An angry customer
The first thing I want you to think about is you can be stressed, or you can choose not to be stressed. As actress Marilu Henner said, “Being in control of your life and having realistic expectations about your day-to-day challenges are the keys to stress management, which is perhaps the most important ingredient to living a happy, healthy and rewarding life. “
I know you have heard this before, but it is so true, you can’t control what happens to you, but you can control your response. If you can learn this, it is transformational, and you will be much happier.
You need to know and believe that you can control your response to anything that happens to you in your life. That’s number one. You can do this! Keep in mind that the opposite of stress is joy and happiness. Valerie Bertinelli said, “There’s going to be stress in life, but it’s your choice whether to let it affect you or not.”
The second approach is to come up with some tools and techniques and approaches for controlling and managing your stress. First, you need to work at managing your stress, and then as a company find ways to help employees reduce stress.
As reported in Fast Company, BambooHR helps employees with stress in a unique way. They help pay for their employees’ vacations. BambooHR fronts the cost for plane tickets, hotel rooms, and other travel expenses up to $2,000. Their “anti-workaholic” policy’s theory is that when staff have the freedom, permission, and resources to see the world or unwind on a beach, they’ll be more productive and effective in their roles.
Here are some unique ideas for better stress management:
Exercise is a very good tool for managing stress like going for a walk or going for a hike, going to the gym, and working out. The key is to select an exercise that you like and enjoy. Exercise is a greats stress reliever and releases five chemicals and hormones into your body when you work out. They are there just waiting to be distributed! Talk show host Kelly Rippa uses exercise to manage her stress. “I like what [exercise] does for my mind,” Ripa explained to Good Housekeeping. “If I’ve had a bad day, if I’m feeling stressed out, if I’m feeling overwhelmed—it takes it all away. It’s my antidote for everything. If I feel any sort of emotional upheaval, I go for a jog and I feel better.” Many companies now also offer exercise spaces at work. Airbnb offers free weekly yoga classes for their employees. Google offices have a bowling alley and a basketball court, to make sure employees can de-stress at work. Even if you own a small company and don’t have a budget for a bowling alley, you can still give people the opportunity by offering time off to work out.
Hobbies help you relax and unwind. Maybe it’s golf or tennis, maybe it’s painting or collecting stamps, the idea is hobbies help you relax and get away from the world at large. Warren Buffet chairman of the board at Berkshire Hathaway, has an interesting hobby to reduce stress. If you can believe it, he’s a pretty good ukulele player and even writes his own songs. There are YouTube videos of him singing about Coca Cola and playing duets with Bon Jovi.
Meditation can be great for stress reduction. According to research outlined in Psychology Today, meditation has the following benefits:
- Increases Positive Emotion
- Decreases Depression
- Decreases Anxiety
- Decreases Stress
If you don’t know how to meditate, you can take a course online or look around for books or even classes in your area. Try it with an open mind. As reported in the Harvard Business Review, the executive chairman of Ford Motors, Bill Ford relied on meditation to get him through several years of bankruptcy. “The practice of mindfulness kept me going during the darkest days.” According to Chopra.com, Proctor and Gamble invest time and money on employee mediation. When other companies were installing gyms, P&G CEO A.G. Lafley was starting a meditation instruction program and installing meditation spaces in P&G’s corporate buildings. He’s quoted as saying, “You cannot out-work a problem, you have to out-meditation it.”
Take an “Oh Well” Approach
This is when you say, “I am stuck in traffic, so oh well. it is what it is!” Then you accept it because you are saying to yourself, this isn’t a big deal. Here is the truth; in the grand scheme of your life, it really isn’t a big deal. As book author Steve Maraboli said “I promise you nothing is as chaotic as it seems. Nothing is worth diminishing your health. Nothing is worth poisoning yourself into stress, anxiety, and fear.”
Be Grateful for what Didn’t Happen
In this approach if you get in a car accident you say, “yes I was in a car accident, but it could have been worse, I wasn’t injured” or if you lose a customer you say “well at least I still have other customers. You can also use this technique by filling in this phrase: Well at least I still have my _________ (health, family, business, wife, husband, skills, etc.) As motivational speaker Nick Vujicic said, “Often people ask how I manage to be happy despite having no arms and no legs. The quick answer is that I have a choice. I can be angry about not having limbs, or I can be thankful that I have a purpose. I chose gratitude.”
Have Your Work Go to the Dogs
Believe it not, a great way to reduce stress at work is letting people bring their dogs to the office. According to website Kununu.com, dog owners who are able to bring their pet to work with them report greater job satisfaction and lower stress. Companies who have an open-door dog policy are online retailers Amazon, and Etsy, and ice cream company Ben and Jerry’s and hotel and restaurant group Kimpton.
Make a list of all the things that de-stress you. Then when you feel stress coming on, then sometime that day try to weave in a stress relieving activity into your day. That’s completely up to you to define what they are.
Just remember it’s called stress management and you are the stress manager!