Being an entrepreneur is an enviable position but not all the time. The reason is that we go through a lot of challenges and tough situations and our bodies go through them as well. Sometimes you are scared, sometimes anxious and at other times you are just border-line stressed. You realize that all of this is dangerous to your health and even life threatening but there seems to be nothing you can do about it; work must go on or business would fail.

Well, it’s understandable that as an entrepreneur, a whole lot of responsibilities would fall in your palms even though you have quite a few workers who could handle some things for you but some sensitive responsibilities cannot be delegated to other people and these are usually the aspects that bring about fear, doubt and anxiety.

As an entrepreneur, you need to understand that you must find a way to eliminate or reduce anxiety because it’s dangerous to your health and a threat to your existence. If you do not deal with it now, all the things you are scared of would happen. One of the things you are most likely to be anxious of is the success of your business and projects.

“You must not only learn to live with tension, you must seek it out. You must learn to thrive on stress.” – J. Paul Getty

But if you end up jeopardizing your health through consistent anxiety, would that thing you are scared of not happen eventually? Anxiety would never make business better, it would only make you worse so you must cure your anxiety now and refocus your energy on making your business work instead of fearing that it may not work. As an entrepreneur, here are some tips that could help you cure/reduce your anxiety such that you would start looking forward to your day instead of fearing it.

How to Cure / Reduce Anxiety at Work as an Entrepreneur

1. What’s the worst that could happen?-: Most times, our anxieties are born out of fear of the unknown. You are carrying out a project and you are scared of what the outcome might be and day in day out, you continue to nurse this fear. Well, instead of this, why not sit down and analyze the situation properly and ask yourself “What’s the worst that could happen if this and this happens?” Ponder on this and then come up with a solution or an alternative course of action. This is more helpful that continuing to nurse your fears and doubts.

2. Give yourself generous time limits to complete tasks-: Anxiety also arises due to fear of deadlines. You promised a client that a job would be ready in 2 weeks and you start to fear that the job might not be complete by then. It’s always good to give yourself sufficient time to complete tasks. I know that you would want to make your clients happy by completing jobs within the shortest time possible but refrain from setting unreasonable time limits and deadlines that would put unnecessary pressure on you. Allow yourself enough time to complete tasks and even review it. In the long run, you would find this more beneficial than adopting the fire brigade approach.

3. Plan everything-: From your daily tasks to your meetings and even your speeches, make sure you have everything planned ahead and written down for reference. It’s easy to get distracted and forget things that we ought to do or say but when you have them laid out in black and white, it becomes easier. If you have a speech or a presentation to make, instead of worrying about your stage fright and speech defects, why not pick a pen and paper and start planning what you are going to say and how you are going to make your weak points barely noticeable?

4. Delegate Tasks-: A good leader always delegates. If you find it difficult to delegate tasks to your subordinates, then something is wrong somewhere. You are either a bad leader who has done a bad job of training his subordinates or you have surrounded yourself with the wrong subordinates. You don’t have to do everything yourself; try to embrace team work so that tasks and responsibilities can be shared and one person doesn’t have to carry the burden of a task alone.

5. Learn how to breathe when feeling anxious-: When next you start feeling anxious, try to take a very deep breath and exhale and you just might start to feel better. Psychologists always encourage taking deep breaths as a way to cure strong feelings like anxiety, stress and anger because it triggers relaxation of your body. It sends relaxation signals to your brain from your nervous system.

6. Accept your condition-: Before you can cure your anxiety, you must be able to recognize symptoms of anxiety and accept that you are anxious. This doesn’t mean that you should resign yourself to your condition; it just means that you recognize that you are in an intolerable position and must do something about it.

7. Talk and Think positively-: Do you know that you can use your mind and your tongue to reduce your anxiety? Instead of accepting anything that comes into your mind, always question your negative thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts. When your mind goes…”What if you lose this contract?” Then you should go……………….”Yeah, but what if I win this contract?” As much as your mind likes to play tricks on you, it is still under your control and subject to commands. Therefore, you must always command your mind to fill itself with positive thoughts. You should also learn how to speak positively and use your mouth to confess positive things. When you start feeling anxious, start saying positive things that make you happy and you would start to feel better.

8. Reduce Idle Time-: When you spend your time on meaningful activities that contribute to the achievement of your goals, you would find out that you have less time to nurse fear and anxieties.

Yet a little sleep, a little slumber and a little folding of hands to sleep; so shall your poverty come.” – Proverbs 6: 10-11

9. Exercise-: Physical activities also help to cure anxieties. I have never done Yoga but a lot of people swear by it therapeutic effects. However, I jog in the mornings and take short walks in the evening and it sure makes me feel like a brand new person. You should try it to.

10 Stress Management Techniques & Strategies at Work

“Passion is what drives me forward. Passion is what makes me go to bed at 2am and wake up at 6am.” – Aliko Dangote

Stress, when minimal or moderate, is very good for the body. Since it’s the body’s natural way of reacting to tense situations, minimal stress is a signal that your body is under some form of pressure. And once your body is no longer under that pressure, the stress wears away.

Being under minimal to moderate pressure at work can be motivating. It can boost your productivity and efficiency. And it can help you achieve great goals within a short period. However, when the pressure becomes excessive, it can eventually lead to work-related stress, also known as “stress at work.”

Work-related stress usually results when you are under pressure to handle more work than you can bear—probably due to staff cutbacks, or when you are not getting the support you expect from your boss, or when you are at the receiving end of some violence or bullying at work, or any of several other causes.

When you are experiencing stress at work, your productivity reduces. You have headaches. You lose appetite for food and sex. Your have palpitations. And worse, you start showing symptoms of depression or anxiety. In fact, stress at work can affect every aspect of your life. But the good news is that work-related stress can be controlled–and here are 10 proven techniques for managing stress at work:

a. Recognize the signs of stress at work-: The commonest reason why most people come down with chronic or intense stress is that they usually ignore—or are unaware of—the early warning signs of work-related stress. These signs include anxiety or depression, irritability, fatigue, sleeping problems, concentration problems, headaches, social withdrawal, loss of sex drive, and use of alcohol or drugs to cope. If you can recognize these signs as soon as they show, you will be able to handle the situation effectively.

“This is why I stay up twenty hours a day.” – Sean Diddy Combs

b. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine-: Many people resort to heavy drinking or smoking when they experience signs of stress. This is a bad approach to managing stress because nicotine (found in cigarettes), caffeine (found in coffee) and alcohol are substances that increase body stress levels rather than reduce it. So, once you are struggling with stress, avoid these substances and replace them with healthier alternatives, such as water, natural fruit juices, and herbal teas.

c. Indulge in physical activity-: Stress becomes worse when you sit at your desk for long hours without taking breaks or engaging in some physical activity to refresh your mind. So, when you feel stressed and tense, take a break and go for a brisk walk in fresh air. Better yet, indulge in any other physical activity you are happy with. In addition, you should try to incorporate some physical activity into your daily routine. Regular physical activity will help you reduce stress.

d. Sleep better-: When you are stressed, you will experience sleeplessness. Yet, you need to sleep well to control stress. So, you need to lull yourself to sleep by all means—not with medication, though. Each time you feel stressed try to take a short nap, so you get refreshed in both body and mind. Stop doing any mentally demanding work several hours before going to bed, so that your brain will calm down. This will allow it to settle down for sleep.

e. Keep a stress diary-: Another effective way to manage stress at work is to keep a stress diary for a few weeks. This will help you become more aware of the situations that cause you to become stressed. Note down the date and time or each stressful episode, what you were doing, who you were with, and how you feel both physically and emotionally. Then grade the episode using a scale of 1 to 10. Doing this will help you understand what triggers your stress and how you can better avoid those triggers.

f. Manage your time-: Another common cause of stress is having too many tasks on your ‘to do’ list. The earlier you accept the fact that you cannot do everything at once, the better. So, arrange your outstanding tasks in order of genuine priority. Note what tasks you need to do personally and what you can delegate to others.

g. Take control of any difficult problem-: Sometimes, stress results when you are battling with a problem that apparently seems difficult or impossible to solve. A smart way to lower your levels of stress significantly is to find solutions to such problems. Simply write down the problem and come up with a list of as many solutions as possible. Weigh the pros and cons of each, and select the best.

h. Eat well-: Foods high in fats and sugar can significantly increase your body stress levels. So, you need to reduce your intake of these foods as much as possible. Eat balanced diets at all times.

i. Learn how to manage stress-: Some people can easily figure it when they are stressed but they lack adequate knowledge of how to manage stress. This usually leads them to using techniques that will worsen their stress rather than relieve it. So, knowing and understanding how to manage stress is one of the ways to achieve that goal.

j. Rest when you are ill-: Whenever you are feeling sick, resist the temptation to keep up with work at all cost. Resting will enable your body to recover faster.

More Tips for Overcoming Performance Stress in the Workplace

Performance stress is a subject most entrepreneurs and employees alike treat with kid gloves because they don’t know its impact on their life. I decided to focus this subject on entrepreneurs and employees because of the daily stress they go through to build a business.

From the day you start developing your business idea as an entrepreneur; tension and drive to deliver becomes the name of the game. It is now a common phenomenon to see successful entrepreneurs ending up with one heart disease or the other. That is why you must take the subject of stress management very serious.

Now before I go into the details on how to overcome performance stress in business and workplace, I think it’s wise to explain what performance stress really is. Whether you are an employee or entrepreneur, you are going to find this article useful.

What is Performance Stress?

Performance stress is one of the most common sources of stress in the business workplace. With a working environment that constantly subjects its employees to a given set of standard they’d have to meet, the amount of pressure can lead to an employee questioning his or her abilities on a given task. There’s always this feeling of not being good enough in the standards of the company.

This is especially true when an entrepreneur or employee has scheduled to make an important presentation for the company. Before the actual presentation, one experiences a sick feeling on the stomach. Sometimes, the pressure is too much that one’s performance is impacted during these situations.

For those who are incapable of dealing with the level of stress they are subjected to in these situations, the importance of coping and overcoming performance stress is more important to maintain your ability to deliver within the company’s standards. Now how do you practically overcome performance stress in business and workplace?

i. Performance Planning-: Whether you are taking part in small or big events, creating a good performance is always important. One of the best ways to ensure that you perform well for a given project or task is to come up with a performance plan. This will serve to outline what you need to achieve and how you are going to do it.

The Performance Plan will include a list of things that must be accomplished since it will be useful during the performance. Here is some basic performance planning tips covering the physical and mental aspects of it:

Basic Performance Planning Tips
  • Check every aspect involved in your performance so you can make necessary adjustments in case some parts do not contribute to better performance.
  • If there is some travel involved, arrange them in advance
  • Verify whether you have all the items and objects you need
  • Come up with an alternate plan in case anything goes wrong at the steps you have previously outlined
  • Keep your mind focused at the task at hand and as much as possible never entertain distractive thoughts. If possible, anticipate them before they happen so you can come up with a plan to counter its effects

ii. Reviewing Performance-: One of the best ways to ensure that you always perform at the top of your level is to constantly aim for improvement. This is one way to combat performance stress knowing that you always re-evaluate your own standards when it comes to job performance. By doing a performance review, it gives you the opportunity for the next performance so you can do better.

Planning and reviewing your performance is a good technique to follow for effective stress relief. If possible, you can ask your superior or fellow office mates for opinion that you can use to improve your performance. Performance stress typically originates from your tendency to question your ability (or inability) to succeed at a given task. When you increase your confidence about your performance, you’d also be able to combat stress that is involved with it.

iii. Create Proper Mindset-: Establishing a mindset that will effectively help you before, during, and after a performance will help get rid of the stress it brings. To find relief from performance stress, you can try the following:

  • Learn how to take criticism well. Instead of developing self-pity, utilize your mentor or co-worker’s opinion as a pointer for areas in which you can improve your performance on.
  • Never aim for perfection. While it is a good fuel, you must rather focus on the steps you need to make instead of the end result. This will also help you be able to have fun with what you are doing, which is another way to relieve yourself of performance stress.
  • Comparing yourself against your fellow workers will not help your cause to get rid of performance stress. Instead, focus on where you are and where you intend to go.
Ajaero Tony Martins