Running a startup can be very stressful, especially when nine out of ten startups are destined for failure. In a startup, the swing between highs and lows are pretty wild so it's not easy to avoid burnout. What most people don't realize though is that stress among co-founders can kill a startup just as easily as poor market conditions or a bet on the wrong market. Founders are so often busy shipping products and supporting their employees that they don't pay enough attention to their own emotional health. It affects concentration, motivation, and ultimately the company's health. Even worse, the unhappiness of a stressed founder will rub off on the rest of the team. Therefore, we bring you a couple of smart ways to reduce the startup stress.
First of all, you should have a very strong support system, both inside and outside the startup. That's the most effective way to alleviate the stress of founding a company. A support system inside the startup would be most likely coming from your co-founders whom you can talk about almost any issues in the company with. A support system outside the startup can be anyone who is great listener. Also, it's a common known fact that animals are great help in reducing stress so raising a dog while growing your startup, for example, should be very helpful as well.
You should also focus on the long term. Pressure situations could be motivating, but if pressure stays too high for too long it can be counterproductive. When you focus on longer term goals, you won't get too worked up about whatever just happened. This forces prioritization, gives perspective and make you realize the stress isn't necessary."The first hour a day of exercise gives you back more than an hour of productivity." said Tim Berry, Founder of Palo Alto Software. The right way to manage stress is exercise and real life: eat at least one meal a day with the people you care about most, outside of the business.
Know when to take a break is crucial as well. It can be tough to power down or even break from business long enough for lunch, but what feels like productive dedication could really be working against you. Research has shown that experienced entrepreneurs better cope with stress because they know when to check out for a bit.
Expect to think strategically and not to rely too much on feelings. Running a business is like the chess game. Every day that you wake up, your opponent has made a move, so staying two steps ahead is just part of the startup game. If your emotions are on the same ride as your startup, with all it’s ups and downs, you will burn out. People make better logical and reasonable decisions more quickly when they are not on the emotional ride.
Ultimately, being in startup business in not for anyone. It requires a lot more responsibilities, is typically more costly and risky since there is no proven formula. To be successful in the startup world requires an unrelenting amount of determination, persistence and trust. More than anything, though, it takes resilience to deal with the stress.
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