Tips 160-161: Stay Cool

Entrepreneur Staff

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160.

Control Obsessive Anxiety

Entrepreneurs have to be very good at withstanding risk, which basically comes down to tolerating ambiguity. The profit picture can be very hazy for a long time, and entrepreneurs have to be able to hang in there with all the vagaries. Withstanding uncertainty requires an ability to regularly get the anxiety down. One of the best tools for this is the relaxation response, also known as meditation. It's a fantastic tool for calming the mind and eliminating obsessive thinking, and it's used in thousands of clinics, hospitals and homes throughout the country. All you have to do is sit quietly for 15 or 20 minutes and repeatedly think of a phrase in your mind, letting thoughts come and go as they will but always returning to the phrase. You'll be amazed at how this practice can cut down on anxiety. Pick up a copy of the classic on this technique, The Relaxation Response, written by Dr. Herbert Benson, for an easy introduction.

161.

Avoid Burnout

The same traits that can drive you to success can push you over the edge into chronic stress and the last stage of incessant anxiety--burnout. When you're burned out, your gas gauge is on empty. All your resources have been depleted. It's a three-way shutdown--emotional, physical and mental. It's a serious condition that needs to be fixed immediately before it leads to the likes of stroke and depression. Changing schedules, reducing workload, increasing support, and making sure you get regular recharge time can keep burnout at bay. Recognize the signs of burnout--no sense of accomplishment, depersonalization of others, lack of enjoyment, nothing left to give, depleted emotional resources, physical exhaustion and cynicism. One thing that has been shown to fix burnout: a vacation, which regathers crashed resources--but it takes two weeks for that process to occur. So you need a real vacation.
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