From the September 2004 issue of Entrepreneur

As entrepreneurs, we often let stress get in the way of our success. But while we are driven to succeed, we need to realize that taking time to relax isn't a gift for ourselves-it's a necessary and indispensable part of performing at our peak and staying sane.

True success comes from appreciating your achievements and managing your business growth. To accomplish this, you must take your well-being seriously. You need to reflect on what you've accomplished and take time to let your nerves go, even if only for a few moments.

It's easy to grow accustomed to an increased level of stress. To avoid getting burned out, don't just make relaxation an item on your to-do list. Learn to rejuvenate your soul and increase your creativity by:

1. Taking a break-even if just for a minute: Relaxation can take any form that's appealing to you and any length of time. Studies have shown that simply tensing your muscles and allowing them to relax is an effective way to decompress. Find a quiet place to lie down, uncross your legs and arms, and rest your palms on your stomach. Close your eyes, and breathe deeply. Tense every muscle from the top of your head to your toes for a second. Then simply clear your mind for a moment.

2. Making relaxation part of your routine: Take 15 minutes each day to reflect and have downtime. No amount of regret can make up for lost time or opportunities. Achieve clarity by recognizing your successes, letting go of your stress, and deciding on the best step for you to take next.

3. Turning frustration into inspiration: When obstacles cross your path, it's much easier to get riled up than it is to calm down. No one can predict the future. Instead of becoming aggravated about occurrences out of your control, relax and try to spot opportunities. Ask yourself "How can this situation fuel my success?" You'll be amazed at the possibilities you discover.

4. Saying no to less important things: You are in control of your to-do list. Learn to use your intuition to decide if opportunities are right for your business. Saying no is a big part of your overall success, and people will respect your honesty. In fact, they will begin to approach you with the right ideas that will help you achieve success on your terms.

To truly relax, you must be true to yourself. Pay attention to any physical or emotional symptoms that arise in response to stress. When you feel anxious, recognize that it's OK to relax, slack off for a short period, or get more sleep. Success comes from attaining your goals-and relaxation has to be one of them.

Editor's note: Looking for our "Countdown to Startup" series? We've compiled it into one easy-to-use feature. Click here to read it.


Speaker and consultant Romanus Wolter, aka "The Kick Start Guy," is author of Kick Start Your Dream Business.