A friend asked me this question recently:
How do you personally deal with the pressures of getting your business off the ground, trying to sustain/grow, and the responsibility to do so for your investors and employees?
I think the most important aspect of pressure is how you deal with it. I certainly feel a responsibility to my team and my investors, but more importantly, to my family. But I don’t let the pressure cripple me. Instead, I use it to help me focus more and work
There have been points in my life when I felt great pressure and I think those times have helped me be able to deal with it more effectively today. Playing on a Division I college tennis team can bring all sorts of pressure. When you’re playing another team and the deciding match comes down to you, that’s pressure.
Early in my career, I felt tremendous pressure to succeed. And having over $90,000 in credit card debt in your name while your company continues to bleed cash can put all sorts of pressure on you. When the life of your business is week to week, it can be a heavy burden.
So I think my past experiences with pressure have led me to be able to deal with it better today. Here are some keys that I think help:
- Focus very little time and energy on the past, particularly as it relates to mistakes you’ve made. Learn from the mistakes but if you dwell on them you can feel anxiety and begin to worry about making future mistakes. That can lead to overwhelming pressure not to mess up.
- Delegate if you can. Spread out the responsibility to people you trust. Don’t put everything on your shoulders.
- Get yourself a mentor or an advisory board. They can help relieve pressure in many ways: act as a sounding board, giving great advice, helping you through tough times, loaning money when needed, helping you avoid big mistakes, etc.
- Surround yourself with positive influences and avoid the negative ones. Nothing’s going to make you feel more pressure than people around you telling you that you’re going to fail. You need people to be honest with you, but you don’t need negativity.
- Keep it in perspective.
While pressure is an unavoidable part of life, use it as a force of good and not something that controls your life.