The Entrepreneur and Stress

Every entrepreneur knows it’s no small feat to successfully build and manage a business. Whether it is a multi-billion naira conglomerate with years of accumulated contacts and clientele, or it is a small start-up company with the head office space doubling as your living room, running a business takes determination and diligence. Many times, this means you have to experience more stress than you would working a typical job. As an entrepreneur, you are a leader. You are not only chasing your dream, but also convincing other people to chase it with you. And in the midst of all the dream chasing and deal brokering, you may sometimes forget to take a moment to breathe and relax, or you may feel that lying down to relax for a few hours is a waste of valuable time. Many business owners have, at some point, felt that they needed to push the limits; they ignore personal well-being in favour of serving the seemingly endless needs of the business. Well, it turns out you could actually be doing your business more harm than good with all your “hard-work”. According to some expert opinion on Entrepreneur.com, if you’re aspiring to be a great entrepreneur, you have to learn one thing first: how to relax. And here is why:

  1. Stress affects more than just your happiness. If you’re frequently under stress, your appearance changes, your sleep becomes increasingly disordered, which will in turn lead to hostile behaviour, even to those you should care most about – your workers and clients. As an entrepreneur, it is critical that you maintain control of yourself at all times, no matter what happens; keep it together. You may come across a potential investor who crudely critiques your business; a co-founder who disagrees with you on important decisions you have made; or a machine that just wouldn’t work. But through all this, the worst thing you could possibly do is lash out at the person, or the tool that is frustrating you. If you continue with a high level of stress, you’ll wear away at your self-control and ability to maintain emotional stability. At some point, you’ll fly off the handle, spewing out waterworks, or breathing fire at the worst possible moment.
  2. If you’re stressed out enough, or for long periods of time, you will start to have diminished mental capacities; simply put, you’ll become incompetent, though you’re unlikely to notice this until it’s too late. While a jolt of adrenaline can make your mind race and accomplish things faster, long-term stress actually hurts your brain. This means that while you think you’re working faster, you’re likely forgetting important points and are speeding towards a poor decision the longer you stay fatigued. If this doesn’t bother you as much as it should, consider this: according to an article on huffingtonpost.com, these effects could be permanent, as they actually make your brain age faster.
  3. Enough stress will make your body desperate for a way to relieve it. According to This article on Reader’s Digest, if you are stressed out for long enough, your body will actually supress your immune system, which means you’ll not only be more likely to get sick, but it will take you a longer time to fight it off. So being “too busy” to make time for yourself will cause your body to break down.

Finally, nobody expects being an entrepreneur to be a relaxing experience. It is a tough road and more so, because sometimes you have to navigate it all by yourself. However, this does not mean that you should torture yourself in the name of being ambitious or dedicated. Find the time to take a breather and reduce your stress. And when you’ve had a particularly hectic week or month, make a conscious effort to recover. Success in business is a long-term project, and you can’t hope to make it if you keep stressing yourself too much.

 

By: Akaomachi B.

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