CEOs of startups are constantly under a lot of stress. They are depended on to quickly come up with effective, innovative, affordable, solutions for a myriad of pressing problems. The stress is inescapable, but if these CEOs are to remain healthy long enough for their companies to be successful, they must create effective strategies for managing stress. The following are some effective strategies some startup CEOs have used to successfully alleviate stress:
Create A Healthy Routine
One common way many startup CEOs deal with stress, is by creating a healthy routine. Mezu CEO Yuval Brisker says he makes sure to ‘…find time for some lightness and time to laugh in my life, whether it be spending time with friends, cooking a meal and drinking good wine.’ Nathan Schwarzbaum, Velocity Sellers CEO agrees. He says the key is ‘creating a routine that works.’ Schwarzbaum says he tries to eat right, make time for open communication with family and friends and ‘lots of scotch!’ with a laugh.
People who study the causes of stress agree that having the right structure and routine for your day can help provide stress relief. Studies show people’s stress levels increase when they feel they aren’t in control of a situation. So creating a daily routine over which you have control can lower people’s stress level considerably. The successful startup Primary‘s founder and CEO James Billson says you must have a roadmap and ‘…stick to lean and agile approaches’ if you want to reduce stress.
Take Time To Relax
Another effective tool CEOs use to relieve stress is making time to relax. Gojoy CEO Steven Lin says it helps to ‘…focus on what we can control.’ The way Mezu CEO Yuval Brisker relaxes is, ‘I find time to do a short meditation while taking a walk and breathing deeply.’ That’s an effective strategy for relieving stress. With all the pressure startup CEOs deal with, taking the time to meditate and do some deep breathing exercises can help to focus and think more clearly. Relaxation can help to improve the health, vitality and results of CEOs in high pressure situations.
Get Some Exercise
Exercise can play an important role in helping to reduce stress. Research shows regular exercise can help to relieve tension and give you a mental boost. Physical activity can stimulate the release of “feel good” endorphins in the brain, make people feel more energized and create a more blissful, positive, mood. This can be very helpful for CEOs in high stress jobs. Stress can drain people’s energy. Mezu CEO Yuval Brisker says exercise provides him with physical and psychological relief, ‘when I find myself in a state of stress I do something very simple: I take a swim in the nearest pool.’
Exercise Relaxes The Mind And Body
According to a recent article published by the National Institutes of Health, moderate-intensity aerobic exercise can help to relieve life’s daily stressors. They recommend stretching, walking, swimming and cycling for between 15 and 30 minutes, three or more times a week, for improved mental and physical health. They say it relaxes the mind and body and can help ease tension and anxiety. Velocity Sellers CEO Nathan Schwarzbaum says he has made exercise part of his ‘daily routine’ to relieve stress and increase his productivity. Many other CEOs use exercise to reduce stress as well.
Share The Responsibilities
Successful CEOs know building a startup is a team effort and if they attempt to do it all themselves they will quickly become overly stressed and burn out. Gojoy CEO Steven Lin says of building a startup, ‘It’s not a solo gig.’ Lin explained that it takes ‘a solid team’ and says he manages the stress of quick, successful, growth of the startup by putting things in perspective and ‘By empowering the team, they bring different perspectives and lively debate to the process…’. The NIH says positive social interactions are important because they help you maintain good mental health.
Lack Of Needed Resources Creates Stress
For CEOs working to build successful startups, the perception that they don’t have sufficient resources in terms of time, energy, or capacity can lead to increased stress. Nathan Schwarzbaum, Velocity Sellers CEO agrees. He says to counteract stress he embraces ‘open communication’ and the key to eliminating stress and being more productive is simple, ‘Empower employees’. Mezu CEO Yuval Brisker agrees. He says, ‘Keeping people-focused, collaborative and harmonious, is a big deal.’ He says one of the CEO’s most important functions is mastering the fine balancing act of, ‘Helping your team overcome stress, while at the same time motivating them to move faster and deliver more.’
How Some Startup CEOs Manage Stress
Getting some exercise, periodically switching off phones and laptops, and taking some time to simply relax can prevent CEOs from experiencing that dreaded tired, ‘burn out’ feeling that can zap productivity. Mezu CEO Yuval Brisker says he avoids stress by being active in the ‘support of the arts and mentoring young entrepreneurs.’ Steven Lin, Gojoy’s CEO says, ‘It really helped when we created a tally so we can visually see the pennies and nickels that have gone to our community.’
Two Other Interesting Perspectives
For Velocity Sellers CEO Nathan Schwarzbaum, the key to combating stress is, ‘being disciplined, creating a routine and being able to be optimistic, faith that things will turn out okay.’ Primary Founder and CEO James Billson said: ‘The best way to manage stress is not to get stressed. Get used to the fact that there will always be obstacles to overcome. Have a roadmap, let the team contribute to the prioritization of the work.’
Find What Works For You
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for dealing with the stress of being the CEO of a successful startup. Completely removing stress from CEO’s lives is an unattainable goal. Instead, they must learn what causes their stress and what actions to take to calm their minds and have a healthy response to it.