So you’re a startup founder, aka – the fundraiser, the recruiter, the leader, the value builder, the negotiator, and the visionary amongst other things. What haven’t you done? Well, we here at KillerStartups realize that stepping away from it all is next to impossible (which is probably why I’ve received some of the most humorous responses in my interviews when I ask founders about how they like to relax and spend their free time). Even if you can’t jet off to the tropics for a relaxing month-long vacation on a beach, that doesn’t mean you can’t take a little time to unwind.
I’ve gathered and summarized some of the most helpful stress relief tips for startup founders and entrepreneurs based on what founders have told me in interviews. Take a few minutes and see if you can’t adopt at least a few of these in your approach:
1. Stop Taking It Personally
Yes, it’s your baby, your vision and the realization of your dreams but be careful. Open yourself up to new ideas, new situations, and begin to see rough spots as opportunities to polish things into an improvement. Outside ideas or approaches are simply other strategies and not something being done, “against you or your ideas.”
2. Adjust Your Expectations
Maybe you’re a charming person able to get to work less affected by negative energy, but you can’t always expect that from others. You work with human beings, not super-heroes so don’t expect others around you to always be cheery.
A bad attitude is unattractive and may be counter-productive to a work environment, but give people some slack and don’t expect others to always be “nice.” If you don’t expect them to be nice, and they turn out to actually be nice, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Be empathetic whenever possible.
3. What Do You Want?
Don’t expect others to fulfill your needs if you’re not expressing what you need or what your expectations are. If you expect something specific from a team member, (more explanation, more detail, more efficiency) then just say so.
When we assume things about our team members, it can quickly become dangerous. Assumptions lead to unrealistic expectations and demands. Don’t assume anything. If you need to know what someone thinks or feels about a particular strategy or project, then just ask. Otherwise, you could lead yourself down into some risky territory.
5. Express Yourself
While we’ve all heard the idea of leaving your emotions, “at the door,” the flip-side of this can be negative. The startup founders I’ve spoken too have told me that it’s better not to bottle up too much emotion because it can cause outbursts to occur at inopportune times. Express your feelings when you really need to. Let them out before an outburst costs you your reputation or even your job.
Remember to use control when dealing with a difficult team member or even a difficult customer. Avoid being defensive whenever possible.
While you can’t control the way others approach you, you can control your response.
Stress is unavoidable and sometimes a little bit of stress can even help you get things done in a productive manner. When it becomes overwhelming however, anxiety sets in and it may adversely affect your personal performance and that of your startup. If you can keep these 6 stress relief tips in mind, then you’ll be able to live a less-stressed startup life sooner than you think!