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Four Soul Searching Questions To Help You Conquer Startup Stress

I don’t like admitting that I get stressed.

It makes me fear that because I get stressed, I fall short of being a good entrepreneur. My reputation is everything and because I teach ‘personal brand marketing’ to my clients, I know they are looking to me to be a beacon of hope and success that they can follow.

I’ve built a good reputation I want to maintain and have people relying on me to help…people who, if they knew how much I grappled with stress and anxiety, might think I’m not capable of providing the service I offer… despite my proven track record and commitment to my clients.

So for the most part, I stay silent.

But what if I didn’t? What if I did let it all out and share how overworked and overwhelmed I am?

That causes me even more stress! And maybe that’s why so many of us keep our stress to ourselves.

Is there any middle ground?

Well, having seen a close friend burn out physically and develop a heart condition this year because of the prolonged heightened stress of running their business, I vowed to try and find some middle ground.

But the middle ground wasn’t easy to find at first until I spoke to someone impartial about how I was feeling.

That person happened to be a professional cognitive behavioural therapist (CBT). But I think the fact that she was completely objective made all the difference.

There were no negative consequences to admitting how I felt and she helped me reduce and manage my stress by asking me the following questions.

 

Are you getting enough sleep, eating well and breaking a sweat regularly?

We’ve heard it all before, haven’t we? Get enough sleep, eat nourishing food and exercise. Blah blah blah…

I must have rolled my eyes when she asked me how well I was treating my body. But since I moved my bedtime forwards, reduced the amount of processed food I eat and go to the gym more, I’ve felt much more level headed and able to cope with stress. It was hard work at first but now it’s routine.

 

Who are you outside of your business?

One of the problems that caused me most stress in my business was never separating myself from it. I feel the highs of my success keenly, and the failures just as much. I was taking everything personally and my identity was bound so tightly by it.

When I shone a spotlight on what I enjoyed outside of my business (like art, reading, and stargazing) and made more time for that, I was able to put a little distance between my business and me. That, in turn, helped me put a little distance between the stress and me.

stress

strɛs/

noun
when you experience a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.

What’s causing you the most stress?

So much of my stress was linked to worrying about my finances. Whilst I knew I was increasing my revenue year on year, I wasn’t as well organised as I’d like to have been and was trying to handle it all alone.

After sharing this with my CBT I opened up to my husband and my accountant and they both worked with me to get back in control. Reducing that overwhelm and worry reduced the stress I felt about it.

I’m not saying here that you shouldn’t expect some level of stress whilst running your business – it’s completely normal to have times that are full on and overwhelming. But when it becomes your norm, and you’re running on a heightened state of stress consistently, it’s important to step back and try to do something about it.

 

Do you have someone you can talk to?

If you’re suffering stress in silence, please find someone impartial to talk to. They don’t need to be a therapist but someone who’ll listen and help without judgement.

Here are some places you can find someone like that:

Via your GP – who can refer you to people in your local area that help you deal with stress

And if that’s a step too far right now, then ask yourself the questions above and see if you can make one change this week.

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Jen Smith

Jen Smith is a freelance writer and content strategist. Follow her @_JenSmith

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