Overcoming Stress to Make Better Decisions as an Entrepreneur When Your World Is Upside Down

April 05 2020


As an entrepreneur, you deal with stress all the time. If you didn’t want some amount of stress, you’d be in a stable 9 to 5 job.

But that’s not who you are. You chose to be an entrepreneur because you know you have more to offer than you’d ever be able to realize in a regular job.

When Beth and I left Purdue, we didn’t think we were entrepreneurs. At that time, we wanted to be part of big companies and sought the stability of a regular job in a big office. After several years of working for global corporations, we both decided that we wanted to take our destinies into our own hands.

As many of you already know, starting a company is fun. All the possibilities are in front of you, and you’re filled with hope and enthusiasm. Eventually, you get into a daily routine of acquiring customers, building products, and running the company. Stress begins to creep in more and more - and that’s when things are ‘normal.’

What about now, when everything is up in the air? When you can’t even do the things you NEED to do to start or keep your business going?

Beth and I survived and eventually thrived during the past two big crises - Black Monday in 1987 when we were still at Purdue, and the 2008 Great Recession.

Because of Black Monday, we were especially focused on making the best of our time at Purdue. We knew the job market was going to be tight, so we dug in and made ourselves as attractive as possible for recruiters.

During the Great Recession, we took some big hits, but were able to pivot into a whole new market that opened up as a result of the financial crisis.

While going through those challenges, we learned critical lessons that are especially important today. Here are our top three points to deal with external stresses and how to make better decisions.

Get Grounded

The first step is to get grounded. Being grounded means that you are not frazzled and are able to be calm and centered enough to make good decisions. There are lots of ways to get grounded: meditation, exercise, breathing, etc. Find something that works for you and turn it into a practice. If you try to make decisions when you are stressed out, you come from a place of fear, and you miss out on possibilities because you can’t see them.

Get More Information

When you are stressed, you tend to constrict. When you face challenges, that’s when you need to more information, and the best source of information is expanding your network. People can and will help you, but only if they know what you need. When your world is upside down, reach out so you can make better decisions and minimize your sources of stress.

Do What You Can and Let Go of the Rest

Some things are beyond your control. If they are, let them go. There is no need to worry and fret over things you can’t or don’t want to do anything about. Instead, spend your time and energy working on things you can impact - and then do it!

The best time to make a move is when things are turbulent. Today, so much is up in the air, and people are questioning even the basics. Figure out what you want to do or pivot your startup to take advantage of all these new opportunities. Leave the worrying to others.

As an entrepreneur, stress is part of your life, but don’t let it eat you up. Learn to redirect the energy you’ve allocated to stress and move forward - but only after you’ve become grounded and have the information and resources to take the next step in your journey.

Writer: Beth and Peter Bostwick

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