Anxiety is common amongst entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurship is not smooth sailing. All founders agree on that. But how do you cope?
The essential step in overcoming entrepreneurial stress is to accept that anxiety is normal.
Here are three ways to address the problem.
Recognise the normality of anxiety
This may seem strange, but it is one of the most significant differences between people with high, and low, stress potential. A study, reported by psychologist Adrian Wells, found that “meta-worries”, or worrying about being worried, is one of the main criteria for differentiating between those who are profoundly concerned and those who are not worried.
Adrian Wells and other researchers have found that external signs of anxiety help intensify and sustain anxiety. Similarly, research conducted by the British Institute of Psychiatry has found that people who suffer from high social anxiety are more likely to perceive other people’s concerns and then interpret this as a very negative thing. That’s why the most crucial step in overcoming entrepreneurial stress is to accept that anxiety is, in the end, relatively standard.
According to psychologists, people who focus on their personal strengths and coping resources successfully reduce their anxiety. Meanwhile, people who interpret their anxiety as weakness and disability increase their stress level.
And in the business world? You will never meet an entrepreneur whose work does not create stress. So, once again, reducing stress begins by accepting its banality.
“When you build a startup, one day you are euphoric and convinced that you will own the world; another day, the catastrophe seems very close and you think you are completely ruined. Again, again and again, and again.” -Marc Andreesen.
Stay connected to your peers
The financial benefits of networking in the business world are undeniable. But in a culture that is focused on the commercial motivations of networking, we often forget to mention how important it is, too, to our emotional well-being.
According to an RHR International survey of CEOs, half of the respondents acknowledged that they had already experienced a sense of loneliness in their business; and 61% of them felt that isolation hindered their performance. Fear and ego are two of the leading causes of this kind of isolation. Entrepreneurs can tackle loneliness by connecting with other start-up founders or with business groups or associations of like minder folks. Try BOAA (Business Owners Association of Australia) you’ll see me at all their networking events.
Entrepreneurs need to find a place where to have unfiltered discussions. Becoming a CEO (or founder in a start-up) can make someone much more alone than they would imagine. Too many entrepreneurs believe that they must be impervious to problems. They must also find an environment where they can be vulnerable — an environment of trust.
This is a big issue for entrepreneurs who consider all potential peers as competitors, who see networking entirely through the lens of how it can benefit their business. They are ultimately less likely to build lasting business relationships. They are also more likely to suffer from stress.
If stress becomes a major problem for you, there is a good chance that your family and friends have something to do with it. Research has found that feeling part of a group (even as a low-status member), having close friends and relationships significantly reduces feelings of social anxiety.
Manage your work and life – load
Ultimately, while the very definition of “entrepreneur” involves stress, we all tend to create a lot of that stress ourselves by assuming more than we can manage. To succeed in your business, you must set priorities so that you do not accept more projects than you can handle. Both professionally and personally.
Delegate more and avoid micromanagement – a bane of young ecosystems and old – traditional – business environments (like Australia). Hire new talent if necessary. Learn to say “no” to this extra 10 % of projects because it will seem like 50% of the workload when you try to do everything. Track the time you spend on each task. You will quickly discover that some tasks take up too much of your time, for minimal benefit. Take a fresh look at your business and ask yourself how you would do things now if you started from scratch. Remember that you may actually still be in that starting phase by the way.
What processes would you eliminate? What would you change to create a less stressful environment?
Acknowledge and accept your stress, connect with your peers and redefine the priorities of your work tasks – and life. Ultimately, speak up, share, communicate.
Do this and you will probably see a radical change in your ongoing quality of life as an entrepreneur.
DELIVERING WHAT YOU PROMISE and getting your team to do the sameDo you meet the obligations, promises, goals and commitments made to yourself and to others?
The American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) did a study in 2010 on accountability and found out that the probability of completing a goal is:
- 10% – If you have an idea or a goal actually.
- 25% – If you consciously decide you will do it.
- 40% – If you decide when you will do it.
- 50% – If you plan how you will do it.
- 65% – If you commit to someone, you will do it.
- 95% – If you have a specific accountability appointment with a person you’ve committed to.
After reading this, how likely are you to achieve your; goals, promises, obligations and commitments alone? Book your FREE Unboxing Session with me ‘The Accountability Guy’ and we’ll examine exactly where you’re at, what’s worked and what hasn’t, and we’ll take a look at your priorities to set the path moving forward. Each Unboxing Session includes:
- 60-90min obligation-free Zoom chat about your goals, promises and commitments
- Examine your priorities
- Review your ‘To-Do List’ and we’ll dig-in to how you will implement
- Together, we will create a plan and set timelines
For more information visit: https://tickthoseboxes.com.au or call me directly: +61 418-379 369.
I’m Darren Finkelstein ‘The Accountability Guy’
I’m a sought-after, highly experienced Accountability Coach, Business Advisor & Mentor. I work with high-performing entrepreneurial business owners and their teams. Also, I am a conference and event speaker on all matters of accountability and getting stuff done.
My past experience includes working at Apple for 10-years as ‘Manager of Commercial Markets’ during the inspirational Steve Jobs era. Then, building a successful entrepreneurial business for 15-years in the marine and lifestyle industry until we successfully sold and exited. I’m the author of three bestselling and award-winning books and are a part-time summer presenter in Melbourne on radio 3AW.
Accountability is my specialty; it’s a tool that I’ve mastered for my business over many years. It held me in good stead at Apple, and it kept me ahead of the game in our business. The result is that I’m incredibly focussed, well organised and outcome-driven which has led to my business success. Yet for others, it frequently makes people nervous, as it requires us to step up our game, be introspective and hold ourselves to account, which can be very uncomfortable initially until you harness the power and momentum it generates, with the realisation how powerful it is, and how effective you have become.
Did you know that the word accountability is regularly misspelt and often misunderstood? Businesses don’t really understand the difference between responsibility and accountability? Both are cousins but not the same. You see, you are responsible for things and accountable to people, hence the confusion. To me, being accountable means ‘doing the things you say you are going to do’, and ‘getting your team to do the same’.
Work with me directly and I’ll keep you accountable, hold you to your commitments, promises and goals in my One-On-One Sessions (limited spaces available) or perhaps you and your team would like to join one of my private Mastermind Group Forums, or try ‘Accountability Made Easy’ my (D.I.Y) online program. Want to know more about working with me? Visit Working With Me.
It’s my desire to hold everyone in the room to account, which makes me an engaging Speaker on the subject of ‘Accountability’ for your next event, conference or workshop. My goal is to not motivate but to inspire your audience to take action for themselves, to implement and execute.
I’ve got a full playbook of strategies that I’m privileged to share or maybe we can create a totally bespoke and customised package to suit your individual or team needs. For more information, visit my website.
After reading this, how likely are you to achieve your; goals, promises, obligations and commitments alone? Unlikely I suspect, without external assistance.