How to Manage Yourself When Times Get Tough


Being an entrepreneur, a business leader, or founder is undoubtedly mentally taxing in even the best of times. There are so many responsibilities that can come across your desk, everything from product development to team management.

And for a founder, chances are the ‘best of times’ won’t be happening very often. So with all that in mind, let’s take a look at some best practices to get that potential stress and challenge under control.

Jonathan Long wrote recently for about 5 ways to power through when times get difficult. One of his fundamental points was the idea that you should have a larger purpose behind all the work that you do. We as human beings are always searching for meaning to define what we do and the things that happen to us.

There’s an incredible benefit in internalizing that kind of motivation and strength, and it goes beyond simply hitting success benchmarks for your business. That purpose can take many forms--it could be leaving a lasting mark or simply accomplishing a level of hustle that you didn’t think you could before. The exact form that motivation takes doesn’t really matter, so long as it is something you are passionate enough about achieving that it can continue to drive you through the good times and the bad.

Jonathan also keenly points out something we’ve talked at 13p5 before: the importance of knowing when you need to take a step back. Successful people always want to push beyond their limits and achieve more than they ever thought they could, but they also understand when it’s time to take a break, reassess, and recharge.

If you let yourself take on more responsibility than you can handle, chances are you won’t be doing work to the kind of quality that you and the people around you expect, and you’ll just end up disappointing yourself and the people that count on you. It’s worth taking a step back when you know you don’t have the bandwidth to take it all on.

Another valuable piece of that recharge time is that it can be the genesis of new and great ideas. When you’re in the trenches non-stop, it can be very difficult to let yourself stretch out and consider new opportunities. That break time may be the source of the next game-changing idea that will take yourself and your business to another level.

One last point to consider is to partition time dedicated to taking care of yourself. This seems so simple, but it’s also one of the quickest things to fall by the wayside for the intrepid entrepreneur trying to leave their mark and find success.

There are only so many hours to work, and it can sometimes feel like you could spend 40 a day on making your business run smoothly. But the truth is that you stand your best chance at working consistently at maximum capacity if you’re living a happy and healthy life while you do it. That means sleep, exercise, and fulfilling non-work behavior.

So take a step back when things stop feeling good and start getting overly stressful. Assess what you need to do to make it right, and be confident that everyone around you will be supportive of that decision. If you’ve built a team that you truly believe in to pick up the slack, there should be absolutely nothing to worry about. And if they ever come to you with the same concerns, be prepared to extend the same courtesy because they’ll probably working as hard as they possibly can too.

— ZK

Ed Lynes13p5Comment