Stay calm & carry on: strategies to tame stress

Have you ever had to wait for a client to overnight a check so you can make payroll? Or had an employee “quit” by not showing up for their shift? Then you know the stress of running your own business.

Most entrepreneurs report that they are more satisfied and happier working for themselves. The tradeoff? Harder and longer work hours, and more stress. Stress is just one of the things you’ll have to deal with on the road to success.

By utilizing some of the same skills you’ve already learned from being your own boss, you can manage the stress in your life positively and proactively.

Strategic thinking— You probably got into business because you identified a need and realized you had the unique ability to fill it. Use the same strategy to get a handle on your stress. First, identify the sources of stress in your life— is it chronic or related to one particular thing? Then, challenge yourself to come up with a few innovative and effective solutions.

Developing systems— Once you’ve determined that certain solutions work for you (i.e.- doodling for 10 minutes, inflating a balloon, playing with the puppies at your local pet store), set yourself up to do them easily and regularly. You don’t want to have to reinvent the wheel every time you feel stressed.

Networking— As an entrepreneur, you’re probably great at interacting with others; either that, or you’ve learned to be. Don’t forget to keep up connections with friends, loved ones and relatives. Running a business is time consuming, but interacting with the people in your life who have nothing to do with work is vital to defusing stress.

Knowing when to say no— You’ve had to say plenty of “no’s” to ensure the growth of your business. Now, you should learn to say no to situations, employees, clients or projects that are stressing you out beyond the normal amount. It might mean firing the employee, dumping the client or putting the pause on a project that’s not going anywhere.

Resiliency— You’ve weathered plenty of ups and downs— it never seems to go exactly the way your business plan described, does it? It’s the same with the stress in your life. You’ve got to keep going, even when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Chances are, you’ll be able to overcome the stress that’s plaguing you now and remember why you’d never give up the things you love about working for yourself.