These days it’s hard to avoid reading or hearing reference to some level of discussion about stress. It seems everyone is suffering from this all too common complaint. But while plenty of people have advice about how to manage stress once you’re already suffering, most experts completely ignore advice about how your very own actions typically instigate the stressful feelings in the first place, never mind the unique stress that evolves from managing or operating a business.
While I’m not a psychotherapist, I am a business expert – strategist – advisor to CEOs, presidents and business owners. In the 25+ years I’ve been a business consultant, I’ve seen business people act in ways that bring on mountains of painful and otherwise avoidable stress. Even worse, in some instances, the fall out from the stress can actually spell the end of the life for the business, which is why successful business leaders must ultimately learn how to deal with this dangerous reaction to difficult situations.
Why Stress Is A Business Killer
Stress is a REAL business killer because its presence prevents you from being your best in any given situation. Unfortunately, all too often you don’t even realize you are under its spell until it is already controlling and limiting your reactionary skills. With constant anxiety and tension you’ll often react differently to everything from a typical everyday occurrence to a last minute frenzy to meet a deadline or even a full-blown crisis. It drains you of energy. The needless worry over certain business issues could be better investing that same energy elsewhere for MORE daily success.
Stress will distract you too. It can manifest itself as a headache or a stomach disorder, literally making you feel ill. Sometimes in severe cases it can make you feel so tired and run down you feel forced to call off work or go home early. It can distract and cloud your mind. Causes you to not think clearly. The result can compel you to make business decisions or comments you may regret later.
Finally, even the fear of facing stressful situations can lead you to avoid issues and people rather than face them directly. This can ultimately make the business situation even worse.
Stress can tend to be contagious. It can begin with just one person. If not handled properly can permeate throughout the company and spill over into personal lives as well.
All of these examples demonstrate what stress can do to you, your employees and your business. Preventing your entire company from functioning at its optimum levels.
As a CEO, president or business owner, you set the tone and set the example for others to follow when faced with stressful situations. If you are stressed and don’t learn how to manage it effectively, it is inevitable you will pass it on down to your managers and other team members, who will in turn pass the worry, overwhelm and confusion down to other employees. Most likely these employees will eventually pass the it on to suppliers and even to customers, creating a domino effect within your company. Left untreated the stress will take over your company, choking out creativity, productivity and profitability, ultimately creating a virtual hangman’s noose around the neck of your entire organization.
What Causes The Business Stress?
For most CEOs, presidents and business owners, learning to manage the stress is not as easy as going into the self-help section of any online or local bookstore where you will find any number of books on the subject.
In business, you need to ask yourself:
What causes the stress I am experiencing?
Pinpointing the causes behind the stress is the key first step in addressing the situation, so let’s look at a list of examples:
Stress in business can come from:
- Not knowing how to negotiate. For example: contracts and employee wages, or even dealing with customers and solving production problems.
- Not knowing how to deal with different or difficult personalities.
- Not having the knowledge, training or the time to study what you need to know.
- Lack of business coming in.
- No business plan, prospecting and sales or a marketing plan to increase business.
- Hiring the wrong people, inside and outside of your company.
- Focusing on the wrong customers. Not targeting the right customers.
- Fear of the situation versus simply facing it directly. Not trying to second guess the outcome.
- Anger: Yours or employees or even worse, customers.
- When you didn’t see a business situation coming and are caught totally off guard by it.
- Feel like you are losing control of a situation, losing your power—or worse, losing your company.
- Bringing your personal life and its challenges to work with you.
Many more examples could be listed here. I’m certain you could come up with your own list reflecting the situations within your business that create the most stress for you. However, the most important aspect to consider is the root cause behind the stress – the action which occurs initiating or triggering a specific emotional reaction which ultimately results in those overwhelming feelings of stress.
As a result, to eliminate the response, you must invest energy toward solving the situation, not waste energy reacting to it.
In order to stop the stress, you must:
- Analyze what is happening
- Develop and then execute a plan of action
- Most importantly, continuously keep in check your own individual response.
What Is The Solution For Business Stress?
The solution for business stress is knowledge. Once you understand how to deal with and learn how to continuously keep it in check, you will not be tempted to yield to the drama it wants to unfold within you.
To be successful you must understand what it is really telling you about yourself, your business, and all those with whom you come in contact. You also must understand your own reaction to stress, and the many forms it can take in your daily business life. Learning, understanding and managing stress effectively is a never ending, constant process. It’s simply part of doing business today.
In order to learn more about stress and how to custom fit effective positive approaches into your life consider some of these options:
1) Go to the bookstore, library or online to browse through books and audio selections that attract you to the author’s philosophies about stress. It’s a good starting point.
2) Go to a qualified therapist in order to learn more about yourself and the stressful life you are encountering. Some even seek out counselors from their religious affiliations.
3) Once you understand your specific needs, consider a professional mentor or business advisor who can provide a support system in your quest to remove stress from your business day.
4) When you sense a stressful moment: Remember to BREATHE! Take a breath! If possible, take a few minutes to meditate or to take a brief walk. Do yoga. Listen to your favorite song. Then directly and with confidence face whatever it is you need to deal with in your business day.
5) Be mindful of your business stress every day. Don’t give it permission to be a business killer at your company.
Keep in mind that some stress can actually be beneficial, helping you stay more alert, sharper, more aware and able to see the big picture around you and others. At the same time, to keep it from taking control over your life.
Always ask yourself:
What it is in my business life that encourages the various levels of stress I encounter?
Remember: Often you create your own stressful situations by not knowing how to handle any given situation. This is why pinpointing those situations and developing a plan of action can go a long way toward eliminating the stress entirely.
If you are aware of how stress is taking hold of you, take the time today to develop a plan that takes away the power it is exerting over you, and puts the control back where it belongs – with you.
The key to solving the problem and eradicating stress from your life is getting the knowledge you need to help you understand how to eliminate this business killer. With this knowledge plus understanding yourself and potentially stressful situations better, you can stop the stress before it starts.
Once you’ve learned how to effectively manage stress yourself, reach out to your key management and employees alike, sharing with others all you have learned. A well trained, stress-free workplace will deliver a competitive edge that can translate into one of the biggest profit builders in today’s highly competitive and changing business world.
To your success!
Ready to improve and grow your business? Business problems and business issues to resolve? Need to talk strategy about business decisions? Talk with Howard! – 888-738-1855 – Howard Lewinter guides – focuses – advises CEOs, presidents and business owners to MORE success – MORE profit – less stress. Get MORE from your business! Talk with Howard: 888-738-1855.