When your business creates long-term stress

Paul GreenUncategorized

Slightly off-topic, but I'm having a hell of a stressful week. And it's only Wednesday morning.

Nothing to do with my work with IT support owners. I'm quite heavily into property and trying to exchange on a piece of land where I can build four semi-detached houses.

It feels like everything that can go wrong is going wrong right now. Planning, finance, legal stuff - all of it.

It's allowing two of my sworn enemies to worm their way back into my life. 

Fear and Worry are two of the worst criminals I have ever met. They’re very sneaky. They start small, establish a foothold, then slowly get bigger and bigger inside our hearts. Until they dominate and suffocate our decision-making abilities.

And their presence creates lots of stress.

I know when I'm suffering from too much stress because my body manifests it physically. I get a cold sore; the skin on my hands dries up and I desire Burger King's entire menu. All of it. 

Thing is, a little bit of stress is normal. But only a little bit

NetDoctor defines stress as our fight or flight response. To quote:

"We are all born with an instinctive stress response. Whenever a potentially dangerous situation arises, stress hormones are released into our bloodstream. 

They cause instant mental and physical change in us, giving added strength and endurance, and make us feel pumped-up and ready to fight. Stress hormones also enable us to run away much faster than we could normally manage."

The issues comes when we are "fight or flighting" all the time. Our bodies are not designed for the constant stressful responses to 21st century living.

Several years back when I had my healthcare marketing business, I was stressed all the time. My mental and physical health suffered as I worked stupid hours, ate badly and generally didn't cope very well with what seemed like insurmountable problems.

Actually, I'd allowed myself to lose context. I was snapping at my staff about small problems because they were adding to my stress.

The straw that broke the camel's back.

I sorted myself out by focusing on three areas.

1) Exercise, proper food and lovely sleep

This afternoon I'm off for a very long walk around one of Milton Keynes' many lakes. Phone off, no interruptions, just time to think and enjoy hitting my 10,000 a day steps goal.

And I'll make sure to have proper nutritious food tonight. And go to bed at 10pm latest.

Just because our modern world makes it easy to eat crap, do nothing and stay up till 1am every day watching Netflix, doesn't mean we should...

2) Firing off action bullets

I found a magic bullet to shoot Fear and Worry. Sometimes it kills them dead. The rest of the time it wounds them badly enough that you can make the right decisions regardless of their presence.

That magic bullet? It’s ACTION.

ACTION is my best friend. I keep it loaded in my gun, and make sure to fire off several ACTION bullets every day. No matter how badly something is going, ACTION ultimately saves me.

Once I've emailed this article out to my database, I'm going to load my GTD gun and start addressing today's problems.

3) Relying on people I trust for context and accountability

Back in the day I had a business mentor, who has gone on to become one of my best friends.

Now I have some property mentors, and am part of a property development mentoring group.

Dealing with people who have already completed the journey allows me to get context on my problems; explore creative solutions; and then be accountable to them for taking appropriate action.

This has been so important to me in various ventures over the years, that I will never again undertake something new without a support network.

It's not about being told what to do. I'm an independent, un-employable business owner. No-one can tell me what to do!

But they can ask me the right questions and steer me in the right direction on the days I most need the guidance.

PS I have an accountability group like this for IT support owners.

It's called Profit Accelerator, and at time of writing I have just two places left in the final group of 2018, starting in Manchester in January.

Click here to see the full details