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Burnout And Anxiety: The Dark Side Of Entrepreneurship And How Founders Overcome Them

Burnout And Anxiety: The Dark Side Of Entrepreneurship And How Founders Overcome Them

Entrepreneurs deal with stress and anxiety on a daily basis, perhaps more than a normal person. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to dodge and fight all the challenges thrown their way. While talent and ideas may help build a great business, it is one’s self-control and habits that help sustain it. It thus becomes important to hone the skills necessary to help one move forward.

Keeping that in mind, here are four tactics that entrepreneurs can employ to help them manage stress and anxiety better.

Accept It

The first step towards solving a problem is to understand that there is a problem. The same goes for anxiety. One needs to understand that it can be debilitating – if not handled well – and one can never ever get rid of it completely. It is part and parcel of running a business, but in no way, it is a sign of failure.

For the first few months and even years till the company is on a steady profit making footing, the entrepreneur may experience deep anxiety on almost every aspect – staffing, market share, finances, operations, etc. Even the boldest and resilient entrepreneurial souls may face bone-shattering stress, but its existence should not deter them from pursuing their goals.

One way to understand this is through a comic book hero analogy. The existence of Kryptonite doesn’t deter Superman from saving the city although he has been brought to his knees on various occasions because of it. He has understood that although it is detrimental, it is avoidable. He either stays away from it or wears a lead suit that can weaken its effect.

Use It To Your Advantage

Accepting that stress & anxiety exist in one life and it is unavoidable is only half the battle won. There are additional steps that need to be taken to manage it well. Because if left unchecked, it can be debilitating in both personal and professional life. It, thus, requires careful thinking and planning.

One proven way is to change one lens and view anxiety as something that motivates one into taking an action. Here you are intentionally trying to transform your weakness into a strength.

So, the next time you are hit with anxiety, instead of panicking and letting it overpower you, simply ask yourself: “What is the one thing I should do right now to let go of this discomfort?”

You will be surprised to see how this small tweaking of the mindset can help you be more productive and get more done.

Think About The Worst Thing That Can Happen

It’s important to understand that the evolutionary role of anxiety was to increase our vigilance against a potential threat and prepare us by activating the so-called fight-or-flight mechanism. So in certain situations, it can be life-saving, for instance slamming the brake to avoid a car collision, while in other situations it may not be so useful.

Many people suffer from what is a very common cognitive distortion called “catastrophising” where they perceive a situation to be far worse than it actually is.

This results in increased stress and anxiety in them. In such a case, psychologists typically advise the people to imagine the worst-case scenario, and possible ways of dealing with it, for instance, “How could one best prepare for this event?” This helps them in planning their action steps which can help them understand that they are in control of the situation and helps them to bring the situation into realistic proportions. It helps the person to understand for himself if there is any merit in feeling overly anxious about it.

And over 9 out of 10 times, the worst case scenario remains just a scenario.

So next time when you face such as scenario, ask yourself, “What is the worst that can happen?” Repeat this question until you have identified the real reason for your anxiety and realistic outcomes. You will be surprised to see how we misplace our anxiety or exaggerate it.

Prevent It From Happening

While a solid worth ethic is important for your entrepreneurial success, it is not the be-all-and-all. It is very important to balance other aspects of your life to avoid a burnout. These include proper sleep, right eating, and even exercise – some proven ways to beat stress. Taking small breaks and doing a simple activity like cleaning your cluttered work table or wardrobe can do wonders in beating stress and even enhancing your productivity.

So there you have it – simple, actionable ways to tackle stress and anxiety.

The one thing which is even more important than knowing how to beat anxiety and stress is when to deal with it. The answer is simple: Now!

Remember: Your business’s health depends on you, so don’t ignore it.

Are you too finding it difficult to manage stress and anxiety on your own? It’s alright. We can help!


About The Author

[The author of this post is Sushma Hebbar, Psychologist at YourDOST.com]

Note from Inc42: The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views held by Inc42, its creators or employees. Inc42 is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by guest bloggers.

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