Entrepreneurship is a funny thing. In any business when you start up, you have 300+ decisions to make in a given year. Of those, I’ll make the wrong decision at least 100 times. I’ll make the wrong hire, assign the wrong person to a task, or price something wrong. And we move through those failures. But of those 300 decisions, I really only need to make 5 of them absolutely right. There are 5 decisions that can make or break the company, and those are the ones I really need to nail. And when I can sit back and think clearly and not be stressed, I can make these logical decisions based on our north star. I have confidence in my decisions, and I usually make the right ones when it’s critical.
I’ve gotten better at managing stress over time. I’m not always managing it well, but I have better control over it than I used to. Stress comes from unmet expectations, plain and simple. You set expectations for yourself, your family, your employees, your customers, your business partners, and if you overpromise you’ll find yourself in a pool of stress trying to accomplish everything. I manage expectations by being brutally blunt about worst-case scenarios, and that’s how I build trust with people and control stress on both ends. People leave jobs paying $300K salaries to come start a company with me; the first few months are fun, but then things get extremely stressful. By managing expectations properly, we’re able to navigate that stressful period successfully.
Stress is relative, some people’s weeks are ruined by a flat tire. People who run companies have serious stress and can navigate pressure like it’s a non-issue, they’re able to shake things off quickly. If you can learn to handle your stress, you can perform better during it. Think of people like LeBron James; he goes into a stadium every night with thousands of people watching his every move, and millions watching on TV. Every game comes with the expectation to win. He’s able to thrive in that type of environment, and you can train yourself to do so too.
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