355: Thriving under pressure and managing stress

Managing stress means you can thrive when things get difficult; you can be cool, calm, and collected under pressure. Stress and panic are primal instincts that have kept us alive for thousands of years, but they can also cloud judgment and stand in the way of rational decision-making. NASA knows this, which is why their astronauts are put through thousands of hours of situational training because panic-induced failure is extraordinarily costly. It can be incredibly costly to you, your business, and your life too, and the way to overcome it is to keep your emotions in check.

Obstacles make us emotional. When something unexpected happens, our brain tells us it’s time to run and panic and seek safety. We need freedom from these negative emotions and clouded judgment, we need to keep our brains in check, and it takes skill. These emotions will still creep up when unexpected situations arise, but you’ll know how to keep them in check, suppress them, and not let them take over your decision-making.

You defeat these emotions with logic. Logic is questions and statements, and with enough questions and statements you can get to root causes. Root causes will be easier to deal with and think about. Maybe you lost money, but isn’t losing money a regular function of doing business? Haven’t you dealt with losing money before? Is this really so bad, do you really need to freak out?

When these emotions come and stress tries to take over, have a conversation with yourself and try to get to the root cause. Think about the facts. Few people can do this, because their instincts take over, but it’s immensely helpful. Once you learn to control this, the next step is looking at the opportunity within it; there can be good in everything, you just have to look for it.

Change is good for entrepreneurs in the long term. If you just lost a client who was 20% of your revenue, the natural reaction is to freak out. But if you look at that situation from an unobstructed lens, you might spot something that you can use to your advantage. What if your market is shifting, what if a new opportunity is emerging, what if there’s a new place for you to gain a competitive advantage? Deconstruct the problem, ask the right questions, and use logic to analyze the root cause. Stress is an opportunity to show yourself and those around you that you can thrive in difficult situations.

You have to embrace your emotions and you have to fight them, you can’t let them control you. You can’t let them rule your life, and you can’t let them cloud your judgment. The extent of the struggle determines the extent of the growth. You must see this, we thrive with the things that cripple others.

Stress and worry are unhelpful emotions. The key is controlling them, not pretending they don’t exist, and making the decision to defeat them by breaking them down into the smallest parts and controlling what you can control. Break problems down, control what you can control, and train yourself not to let your emotions impact your decision-making.

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About Me

I started the Sweaty Startup in December of 2018 because I believe the Shark Tank and Tech Crunch culture is ruining the real spirit of low-risk entrepreneurship.