What are your tips for handling the stresses that come with entrepreneurship? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.
First and foremost, you have to realize that all startups are a mess. Even the best ones -- the ones we all look to as examples of excellence -- are a mess of some sort. No matter what you read on TechCrunch.
You can't buy into the news of the moment. You're never as good (or bad) as the press says you are, or as bad (or good) as your customers tell you are. Bottom line, don't get sucked into the emotional rollercoaster that is the daily life of an entrepreneur. I recognize that this is very hard to do in practice, particularly for first-time entrepreneurs, when so much of one's identity is wrapped up in the company they are trying to build. But it's the only way to survive. You'll drive yourself crazy if you don't. I wish that I'd understood this during my first startup. It would have given me some sane perspective and made the experience more enjoyable.
Next, you need to be able to put it down. "It" being your work. You need to make time for things outside of work - sports,writing, reading, hanging with friends - things that fill your soul as well as your mind. It will remind you why you are working so hard and force you to be more disciplined with your work time.
Being a startup founder is very lonely, so surround yourself with people that give you energy both inside and outside the office. Negative people just suck. Stay away from them.
Lastly, I think the old cliche is true: startups are a marathon, not a sprint. Plan and prepare for a long, difficult but rewarding journey.
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