By Ronald Alexander
As entrepreneurs, we put work just above everything else. Unfortunately, sometimes when we are working toward something, we forget to maintain a positive attitude, which can lead to additional stress and an unhappy all-around life.
1. Work with people that you like
It’s easy to be unhappy in a business where you are surrounded by negative people all day. This is why it is vital that you hire and work with people who have a positive attitude and don’t drain you emotionally.
2. Don’t hesitate to fire people
It is 100% okay to let people go who are not doing all they can do to help your business. Usually a primary cause of stress for entrepreneurs in the workplace is having people who make them unhappy because they either don’t work hard enough or constantly stress out about little things. It’s a great release when you know that you have just made your work environment better for everyone by letting someone go.
3. Create long-term goals
Short-term goals are good, but having goals that extend decades will allow you to be more focused on where you want your business to go. These goals are usually far less stressful and will show your team that you do know what you want out of your company.
4. Feed your creative mind
Every entrepreneur is creative, so it’s natural that we need to fill our off-time with things that will feed that creativity. Some people like to read, while others get their creative juices flowing by taking a long walk. Whatever you need to stay charged up, you need to make sure that it is included in your weekly schedule.
5. Continue to be yourself
People often forget what got them to the point of being an entrepreneur and having a business. The fact is that you need to continue to be yourself even as you are taking off as an entrepreneur. The people who work for you and the business contacts that you make need to know who the real “you” is. You don’t have to develop a phoney business persona, which, I promise you, will lead to additional stress.
6. Don’t be a yes man
Many people have the instinct that saying yes to their employees will keep all parties happy, but in reality a business has to be run by someone who knows when to say no. If someone needs help with something and you have an important task that you are dealing with right now, you have to tell them no and they’ll need to find another solution to their problem. Always take a second to assess everything before you answer questions at work so you can be honest with yourself and others.
7. Remember to take a break once in a while
Entrepreneurs are usually workaholics, but everyone needs a break to stay fresh. The truth is that those breaks that you take every day will allow you to get better work done, which should be reason enough to take them.
8. Expect stressful situations and deal with them the right way
Work is stressful no matter what you do for a living, so it is each person’s responsibility to deal with every bit of stress that is thrown in their direction. It’s tougher earlier on because you are new to all of the business scenarios that you will face, but with time you will learn how to deal with the stress. Just go into every situation knowing that there will be stress and then conquer it.
9. Don’t expect flawless work
It would be nice if everything we do in our work life ends up being absolutely perfect, but that’s just not reality. You want to draw things up to be perfectly played out, but the most important thing is that you reach the end goal in everything you do. Don’t focus too much on the imperfections; this can help you put off some burden.
10. Don’t try to do everything on your own.
You have a team for a reason, so you have to learn how to delegate responsibilities. It’s not easy at first, but you shouldn’t try to do too much of the work on your own. You run the business, so figuring out who should be doing what all day will help you to take a lot off your plate.
To sum up: You need to figure out what’s keeping you from being as happy as you can be in your business life. Going over these tips should help you to figure out how to lessen the stress so you can focus on getting your business to where you want it to be.
Image source: Pixabay by Nemo
Steve Jobs has a quote about focus being not the ability to say “yes,” but is instead the discernment and power to say “no” to everything else that takes you off your course.
This is a slight shift in the interpretation of focus, but it makes a huge difference in the way leaders allocate their time and choices if they wish to accomplish their goals.
“Learn to say ‘no.’ It will be of more use to you than to be able to read Latin.” ~ Charles H. Spurgeon
Take a quick inventory of the time you spend each week doing something for someone else. While you’re at it, think also of the choices you make that are not in line with your values or your goals. How much of your time is spent pursuing someone else’s opinion of what you should do or can be?
Most of us hate to say no.
Whether it’s because we want to be liked or because we fear that we’ll appear weak, many of us struggle with giving voice to that small, but significant syllable. Some of us have deep, systemic “people pleaser” issues that are born of low self esteem. When people pleasers say yes to projects or volunteer opportunities, it’s usually because they seek approval or want recognition.
Some of us wish to appear as though we are super-human, efficient go-getters. But this facade is also based upon insecurity: if we say no, we fear being passed over when promotion time rolls around. Or we’re letting someone down. Especially in the age of social media, iPads and smartphones, people are expected to be accessible all of the time.
But what happens when we dilute ourselves to the point of being unrecognizable and inefficient?
“Until you value yourself, you will not value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.” ~ M. Scott Peck
Take another look back at your week. How much of it can you actually remember? Was most of it spent in a flurry of busy-work that seemed to blur into one big To Do List? Did you feel as though you were a hamster in a wheel?
Or did you set conscious, measurable goals and jettison anything that didn’t align with your intention? No week is perfect, and there will always be unforeseen obstacles that present themselves. There will be days that go off the rails shortly after you’ve had your first cup of coffee.
That said, if we hope to become independent, we must discipline ourselves to set and stick to an overriding set of goals: immediate, intermediate and ultimate. When faced with a request from someone that doesn’t dovetail with what we’ve determined to be our goal, we must summon the courage to say no.
“The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
The day I internalized this quote was the day that my schedule magically opened up. After I read a book called Your Money or Your Life, it was literally as if the biblical scales fell from my eyes. My choices and time commitments stood out in stark relief. I could see with perfect clarity where I needed to focus my time and what I could let go.
Once you reconcile the fact that every choice you make costs energy (time, money, effort), you start to view your commitments and investments with an entirely new set of eyes. Only you will know what has value and what does not.
• “How much of my life am I willing to pay for this choice?”
• “If I say yes to the PTA meeting, I’m saying no to playing catch with my daughter.”
• “If I say yes to buying this $50K car, I’m saying no to a good chunk of my retirement planning.”
Furthermore, every commitment or yes that takes you farther from your presumed goals also keeps you from independence. You are ultimately beholden by the choices you make.
“Review our priorities, ask the question; ‘What’s the best use of our time right now?’” ~ Alan Lakein
Again, none of us are perfect and there are going to be days where you have the ambition of a slug. However, this must be the exception and not the rule if you wish to be free. Discipline creates the paradox of freedom. Create habits and touchstones in your day to keep yourself on course for the times when you’re experiencing free fall:
• Before you leave your office/end your work day, write down three things that you need to (MUST) tackle first thing the next day.
• Block off one hour per day to take stock, realign your choices or perform course correction.
• Exercise. This must become a non-negotiable. In addition to multiple physical benefits, exercise is a commitment to yourself that pays mental dividends.
• Practice mindfulness. When you’re juggling three things at once, become aware of what you are doing. Ask yourself, “What’s the best use of my time right now?” Delegate or stop doing the unnecessary, or something that can be done equally well by someone else.
• Follow through with your decisions.
“Time is the most valuable coin in your life. You and you alone will determine how that coin will be spent. Be careful that you don’t let other people spend it for you.” ~ John Dryden
When we find ourselves mindlessly saying yes to everyone else, we are saying no to ourselves. Our hopes. Our goals. Our dreams. There’s a difference between self-care and selfish. Saying no doesn’t mean that we are selfish.
If you’ve seen the movie Bruce Almighty, you’ll remember what happens when Bruce (as God) wills everyone to win the lottery. Everyone wins a few cents. The same thing happens when saying yes to everyone at the expense of what you really desire. It’s an underwhelming, diffuse sort of effort/payoff. Just think of how much more you can help people when you say no when necessary so that you can spend your time on that which truly fulfills you.
Your effectiveness increases. You live a more abundant life. You’re able to truly give from a place of security and sanity. Give yourself permission to say no.
When was a time that you said no and lived to tell the tale? How did your decision affect you? the folks around you?
Molly Cantrell-Kraig is a woman with drive. Possessing an innate sense of purpose and a pragmatic, solution-based approach to empowering people, she fused these two traits in order to establish Women With Drive Foundation. Based upon its founder’s personal history, Women With Drive Foundation is a means through which Cantrell-Kraig may effect change on both a micro and macro level. By providing women with something as essential as personal transportation in order to transition them from poverty to prosperity, she, through Women With Drive Foundation, seeks to empower women to help them help themselves. Through this action, the individual applicant benefits, as does society as a whole. Follow Molly on twitter as @mckra1g or @WWDr1ve (Women With Drive Foundation)
Have you ever read the book, Who Moved My Cheese? I use the premise of the four characters quite often when I consider the various sorts of folks who cross my path on a daily basis.
For example, as much as I love my mother, I know that she is squarely in the Hem camp. She, among the four analogies outlined in the book, is the character who will continue to visit the empty cheese room, convinced that, surely, certainly, there will indeed be a new cheese shipment arriving any moment. Of course, alas, the cheese never arrives.
I’m going to assume that most of the people reading this are probably closer to the Sniff and Scurry sort. You are probably an early adopter, and know which way the wind blows. You probably sense trends and anticipate movement. You are probably curious.
You are probably either independent, or seeking to further your transition to that state. Curiosity is probably one of the best ways to get there, and I’m going to give you my $.02 as to why.
• Curious people try the path not taken.
• Curious people see if something will work.
• Curious people look under the hood.
• Curious people don’t let things lie.
“Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.” ~ James Stephens
Curiosity is the impetus for bravery in some instances. The curious are DRIVEN, compelled even, by the need to KNOW. As a result, we will take risks. We will shove our fear into our back pocket and “give it a shot,” regardless of any certainty of outcomes.
If you are still reading, I know that I have found a kindred spirit. You are familiar with that feeling in your gut that almost goads you into action. Your need to satisfy your curiosity is more powerful than your fear of failure. Good. That means that you are destined for great things. Because the curious keep trying.
“Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton asked why.” ~ Bernard Baruch
If you are curious, you are also probably an innovator. Most folks walking this earthly plane are content to go about their daily business without looking too far afield. They stay in their lane; color inside the lines and keep their eyes fixed on the stuff right in front of them. They are “safe,” and that’s perfectly oka-lee-dokalee.
Curious people, on the other hand, disembowel clocks. They rip apart business models. They disrupt stuff left and right. They probably spent a LOT of time in the corner as kids. We can be maddening to people who rather we just leave things alone. Status Quo People get really frustrated with the Curious.
“…keep six honest serving-men,
They taught me all I knew;
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.” ~ Rudyard Kipling
However, it is this seeking that leads to expansion and independence. The same curiosity that brought us Tang and the space program also brought us twitter, cleantech, Futurama and the cure for polio.
Speaking of social media, I also believe that the folks who are out here in the ether are a harbinger of a new paradigm (even the Bieberists). Social media has no boundaries and is populated by those who are Seekers.
Whether talking about the Kardashians or PRISM and NSA, this new frontier is peopled by the curious. We may not always be talking about the same thing from the same perspective, but we are talking. Which leads to …
“Be curious, not judgmental.” ~ Walt Whitman
In the pursuit of knowledge, it is vitally important to try very hard to uncover information without assigning specific value to it. For example, the earth is not the center of the universe, although at one point in human history, to state otherwise was cause for excommunication. In order to glean the most from our experiences as we pursue information, it is important to dispassionately observe what we find.
Through trial and error, consistent (and mindful) questioning and a willingness to grow our awareness, we will find ourselves on a glorious journey of wonder.
“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.” ~ Dorothy Parker
What led you here today? What would you like to learn? What questions drive you? What steps are you taking to grow your knowledge?
Molly Cantrell-Kraig is a woman with drive. Possessing an innate sense of purpose and a pragmatic, solution-based approach to empowering people, she fused these two traits in order to establish Women With Drive Foundation. Based upon its founder’s personal history, Women With Drive Foundation is a means through which Cantrell-Kraig may effect change on both a micro and macro level. By providing women with something as essential as personal transportation in order to transition them from poverty to prosperity, she, through Women With Drive Foundation, seeks to empower women to help them help themselves. Through this action, the individual applicant benefits, as does society as a whole. Follow Molly on twitter as @mckra1g or @WWDr1ve (Women With Drive Foundation) or “Like” them on facebook.keep looking »