While running a successful business is a point of pride for many entrepreneurs, it can be a heavy burden to bear. Between the pressure, stress and workload that comes with leading an organization, even the most dedicated entrepreneur or business leader will eventually feel the strain on both their personal and professional life.
As experts, the members of Forbes Business Council have plenty of experience navigating the stresses of entrepreneurship. Below, 20 of them share practical tips business leaders can leverage to rediscover their satisfaction with their work and personal lives when they’re feeling stressed or discouraged.
1. Slow Down Where Possible
Stress and discouragement are typical symptoms of burnout. The reality is that you can’t always take time off, especially if you’re juggling family and work. What I’ve found useful in my own life is slowing down rather than doing less. Take your time, concentrate and bring your whole self to the task at hand. If you immerse yourself in what you’re doing, you’ll find it can be very rejuvenating. – Michaela Jeffery-Morrison, Ascend Global Media
2. Stay Focused
Keep your eyes on your mission and purpose. Don’t let the day-to-day fires get in the way of your “why.” Set yourself an unbreakable goal each week to make movement on your main goal so that you’re always moving forward. Even moving slowly is better than not moving at all. Remember that in five years, no one will remember the small fires you put out, but they will remember your impact on the mission. – Catherine Wehlburg, Athens State University
Forbes Business Council is the foremost growth and networking organization for business owners and leaders. Do I qualify?
3. Practice Meditation
Running a business is never ending, and we inevitably feel stressed and discouraged at times for valid reasons. For me, I draw on my meditation practice, which helps me keep in mind that this is a natural recurring part of life, a natural ebb and flow. I have intense weeks and chill ones. At this moment right now, it feels this way. My experience is that it will not always feel this way. – Aaron Skinner-Spain, NYC Affirmative Psychotherapy LCSW PLLC
4. Listen To Podcasts Or Audiobooks
I turn to podcasts and audiobooks. It feels like a gym or regular exercise for both my left and right brain. I find myself learning and getting inspired, and it also helps me recharge. When I listen regularly to podcasts and audiobooks, I get less discouraged and stressed in the first place. – Noa Eshed, Bold Digital Architects | Haven Originals
5. Invest In A Home Theater
I’ve been under constant pressure to grow our small business since 2006. I would have burned out years ago were it not for my secret weapon, the thing that allows my brain to reset every night: a home theater. It allows for total immersion of the senses. Invest in a good quality sound system and TV and spend time with your loved ones watching your favorite movies and shows. – Rob De La Espriella, BlueDragon IPS
6. Develop An Understanding Of Your Available Energy
Know your energy and don’t force it. I think too many times, we try to push through when we’re not feeling it. If your mind is firing on all cylinders, by all means work on that big idea. If you’re only running on two, leave the creative work for another time or day and focus on more routine tasks. Finally, if your tank is empty, fill it. Don’t get out of the car and try to push it. – Brandon Carlson, Lean TECHniques, Inc.
7. Take Time To Recharge
As an entrepreneur, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of “hustle and grind” culture and forget that it’s necessary to take time for yourself to recharge. By doing so, it will allow you to unload some of the pressures of running a business. Whether it’s for an hour or for a week, I’ve found so much peace and relaxation in simply taking a break. Remember that you can’t fill from an empty cup. – Lacey Abbacchi, Lacey Abbacchi
8. Get Proper Rest
Personally, if I don’t remember to get a good night’s sleep every night, I won’t operate at my best. I need to be well-rested to have a clear mind and be my most productive self. Professionally, I remind myself to step back. Are the actions I’m taking helping make long-term strategic changes? Are they pushing us toward the organization we want to be in one year and five years? – Tara May, Aspiritech
Stay active and fit. Nothing beats being a fit and energetic business owner. I work out every morning before I even think about getting behind my desk or making my first business call of the day. – ‘Smitty’ Robert J. Smith, Robert J. Smith Productions
10. Focus On Acquiring New Knowledge And Skills
Whenever I feel stressed or discouraged, I turn to learning as my go-to strategy. Embracing new knowledge and acquiring different skills not only distracts me from immediate pressures, but also rejuvenates my passion for work. This continuous learning process consistently helps me regain balance and rediscover satisfaction in both my professional and personal lives. – Andrei Neacsu, HyperSense Software SRL
11. Prioritize Your Self-Care And Well-Being
I find it helpful to practice self-care and prioritize my well-being. A practical strategy I turn to is taking regular breaks and engaging in activities that bring me joy. Whether it’s exercising, spending time with family or pursuing hobbies, these moments help me regain perspective. Seeking support from a mentor or trusted network can provide valuable guidance during challenging times as well. – Shubham Yadav, StrategyConnect Inc.
12. Connect With Your Network
Speak to other colleagues or connections outside your workplace who are in circumstances that are different from yours. It’s a great way to stay grounded and appreciate what you have rather than what you do not and what you are achieving rather than what you are not. It is a leveling and perspective-taking strategy used by the most successful people to stay motivated. – Nuala Walsh, MindEquity
13. Remember Your ‘Why’
Remember why your company exists and push through for the purposes of the mission. Leading a team to deliver a product or service that serves an increasingly purpose-driven consumer market is a challenge no matter which industry you’re in. At the same time, it’s ultimately the fuel for the fire that drives business success. Your mission is your North Star, so draw inspiration from it. – Chris Bryson, New School Foods
14. Do Self-Reflection
I spend time in self-reflection daily. I intentionally create an awareness of each day’s experiences by asking myself what individuals I met, what I learned, how I responded and how effective my leadership was. By reflecting, I gain an appreciation and awareness of my abilities. This helps me rediscover my satisfaction with my work and personal life whatever my circumstances may be. – Kent Ingle, Southeastern University
15. Give Back To The Community
Life as an entrepreneur can be a roller coaster, but on those down days, it’s essential to look beyond yourself and your business to think about the impact you can make in your local community. Volunteering at a shelter or charity is a great strategy for taking the focus off yourself and redirecting it toward others, which is always a good way to recenter. – Adam Povlitz, Anago Cleaning Systems
16. Lean On Your Faith
My personal strategy is to turn to my faith for prayer and meditation on a daily basis. This motivates and energizes me when I am feeling stressed or discouraged. I take time out anytime and anywhere as it works for me. – Ravindr Singh, Codleo Consulting
17. Rethink Your Current Vision Or Purpose
Rethinking your initial vision or purpose is a practical strategy. Consider the passion and motivation that drove the creation of the business you run. This could include going over your original business plan again, speaking with early customers or revisiting past successes. This exercise can rekindle enthusiasm, provide new perspectives and remind you of why you started the business. – Dustin Lemick, BriteCo
18. Look At The Positives
When I’m feeling low, I focus on the brighter side by reminding myself of the flexibility that comes with running a business. I make it a priority to include two to three nonnegotiable things in my life that bring me joy and fulfillment, which helps me rediscover satisfaction in both my work and personal life. This strategy allows me to maintain a balance and find renewed motivation to overcome challenges. – Neena Pandey, The String Code
19. Remind Yourself Of Your Achievements
The best thing is to compile a list of all the merits that you, as a leader, have brought to the organization. And when you define all the benefits, there will be no room left for doubts or stress. We sometimes take our skills for granted or tend to underestimate our expertise. Continue to grow with your team and employees. While you’ve got something to give, there’s no time to get discouraged. – Egor Kirin, Agro.Club Inc.
20. Use Your Values And Purpose As A Guide
Balancing our lives is an ongoing process that requires constant effort. One practical strategy to achieve this balance is to actively apply your values and purpose as a roadmap. Determine what aspects of your life you are willing to sacrifice. By consciously aligning your actions with your values and purpose, you can make informed decisions that prioritize your well-being and life balance. – Francisco Ramirez, The ACE Group (TAG)
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