You think your life is stressful? Try being at the head of a fledgling company, constantly on the edge of a financial precipice, with not only your livelihood, but those of your employees on the line, too. Wow, just writing that sentence made me hyperventilate a little. So, what can these high strung, perpetual antacid consumers teach us? Simple: how to manage stress.
Here’s how to manage stress like a start-up’s founder.
Yes, one of the first few things Chris Myers, founder of Bodetree (a financial services start-up for small businesses) writes in his article on Forbes, is that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help your mind readjust its treatment of anxiety and stress. CBT (cool acronym FTW) basically helps reprogram how the brain accepts certain stimuli. This method veers hard from the traditional forms of assessing anxiety by finding its source, you know the source: it’s your idea to found a start-up that specialize in pet video-games and trying to bring it out of the red, instead CBT tries to your reaction to the well-known to you source of anxiety. Oh and just as a side-note, the pet game is a thing…here’s the video. Ironically those both are loosely based on Pavlov’s Model of Classical Conditioning, coincidence or just kind of good writing. I’m going with coincidence, even though I wrote it. Serendipity, if you will.
When you invest time, money and effort into creating something, like a startup, your investment becomes deeply personal also. Thus, anything influencing your passion project, can influence you on a deeply emotional level. Upon receiving success (or highly sought after funding) the highs can rival the most potent of street drug, but the lows and moments of instability are many. This rapidly successive cycle of ups and downs can wreak havoc even on the healthiest of psyches. Ultimately, you need to teach yourself, to distinguish between personal and business. Developing a healthy outlook about success and failure, will help you differentiate the two, and hopefully make the highs and lows more tolerable and seemingly less disparate. Beyond that developing a survivor’s mentality, as in “if anything happens I will persevere” even if you endeavor fails, that doesn’t mean curtain’s for you and your career. As the eternally cool Frank Sinatra says: Take a deep breath, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.
Like it or not, humans are social animals. We prefer to eat together, drink together and participate in riots together. So, no-one is an island, no matter how gun-ho you think yourself to be as a pioneering start-up founder. Reach out, find someone you value their opinion and tell them about your concerns and the things that make you anxious. Social cohesion or social capital (as in how many people you have in your social circle) has a positive correlation to your mental health. So, don’t feel like you have to carry your burden by yourself, feel free to pass it along to any shmuck that will listen.
See Also: How to Use Stress Productively
Do you know of any other ways to manage anxiety? Let us know in the comments section below.