Entrepreneurship can be one of the most exciting, fun, and rewarding professional journeys out there.
But let's be honest: there are days where you'll feel completely stressed and overwhelmed, and wish you were doing anything else in the world besides running a business.
Successful people don't wave a magic wand to suddenly make these hectic workdays vanish. They encounter the same frenzied days everybody else does, but the difference is that they've found ways to manage that stress and tackle anything that gets in their way.
Here's what successful people do to prevent that stress and stay on track and productive. Adopt these methods and you can demolish stress too.
Believe in Yourself
When it seems like everything is going wrong and the building is about to catch fire, it's easy to play the blame game with yourself, and start doubting those abilities and skills that got you where you are today.
Steve Jobs had the right idea. "Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work."
When this self-doubt creeps up during a crazy day, it can snowball into a negative and unproductive attitude that feeds off itself. You can avoid this by realizing everybody has their off-days, and then reflecting on the successful and fantastic person you are. One easy way to do this is by keeping a tiny notebook of some recent accomplishments you've made.
During a stressful situation, you might be thinking, "how can I be mindful of anything except my panic and sense of impending doom?" Well, mindfulness is actually focusing on the panic or worry, not shying away from it.
According to Harvard Business Review, it's a way to "learn to stay present, participate in regulating our own nervous system, and eventually, develop new, more free and helpful ways of interacting."
This is done by "noticing we are provoked", and then making a choice to be "put and present, to be curious and explore your experience." It might sound simple, but instead of feeling like the world's going to collapse, I pay attention to the situation at hand, and say "I'm going to be okay." You can too.
Your first course of action during a hectic day might be to baton down the hatches and stay holed up in the office until you right every business wrong.
When you encounter that temptation, keep this in mind: psychologists have concluded that extended periods of time in the modern office can be toxic to an individual's mental health. In fact, this may be part of why we react so strongly to frustrations at work.
The best thing to do is to get a breath of fresh air, literally, by going outside for a few minutes. Breathe the fresh air and decompress, and your thinking will move to a better, more mindful track.
Ditch the tech
Sometimes, you just need to unplug.
Padmasree Warrior, CTO of Cisco Systems, admits she undergoes a "digital detox" every Saturday just to clear her head and step out of office life. "It's almost like a reboot for your brain and your soul."
If the chief technology officer for one of the biggest IT companies in the world can find some time to unplug, you can too. I find time for a daily "detox" by walking to/from work without tech--and you should consider something similar, even if it's only for a few minutes. The few minutes invested in being tech free are well worth the "reboot" and long-lasting feelings of calmness.
Dive into it
It seems counterintuitive, but the best solution for stress is often to dive headfirst into what's bothering you.
Jeff Bezos wisely said "Stress primarily comes from not taking action over something that you can have some control over...I find as soon as I identify it, and make the first phone call, or send the first email...it dramatically reduces any stress that might come from it."
The ultra-successful don't just close their eyes and hope that stress points go away. They start with something simple, like sending an email, and immediately start taking control of the situation. By breaking down those "impossible" tasks into little chunks, you too can find ways to chip away at stress.
Along with a plethora of other benefits, exercise is a proven way to reduce stress hormones. Even Michelle Obama uses exercise to de-stress, calling it "therapeutic" and opting to go to the gym or on a bike ride during tense moments.
Granted, during an overwhelming day you might not have the time to do an intense workout. But even a quick jog or brief workout can prove immensely beneficial.
Focus on the important stuff
Richard Branson once said "If I lost the whole Virgin Empire tomorrow then I'd just go live somewhere like Bali. Now if there was a problem with my family, health wise...that's a problem."
While an overdue PowerPoint might seem like a tragedy, it's important to put things in perspective. Take a note from Branson: he reflects on what really matters, like friends and health, and then watches his stress melt away.
Whether it's a five-minute phone call to a friend, or just a brief shift in your mindset, you can and should follow in Branson's footsteps when stress starts to creep up. Remember, even the biggest business problem is trivial compared to what really matters in life.
How do you stay calm and productive? I want to hear from you!