Too many thoughts can overwhelm our minds and cause burnout. Digital marketing agency owner Patrick Brouillette talks about a few methods to handle stress when you are running a business. To put it simply; you can either play defensive or offensive. Some people are much more adept at reducing stress while others are more adept at using stress as a driving factor and are tapping into the power of stress.

What does Patrick Brouillette mean when he talks about reducing stress in a defensive way?

When you are running a business in a defensive way you take things at a manageable pace. Your business plans are more smooth and relaxed and the pace of execution is slower. You are playing the long haul game. Innovation is slow and is highly repetitive which gives the illusion of hyper-fast progress. Repetition or scaling is easier than going from zero to one. This is also called horizontal progress sometimes. Your business relies heavily on scaling instead of frequent innovation. Take Amazon and Apple as an example they innovate but compared to scaling their innovation lags behind. These companies act like a barge at sea. They are wider than they are tall hence very stable in erratic weather. So basically you can control the pace of vertical progress or the frequency of innovation to reduce stress levels. Innovation is stressful and scaling is relatively easy on the mind. 

How to thrive under stress and use it to fuel business growth?

The other way in which people manage stress is to look at stress and pressure as something desirable. This is a very rare way to cope with stress and is usually exhibited by individuals that usually like running proprietorship. Instead of reducing stress, they try to increase the pressure every time they break their record and keep pushing the limits. Normal people age under this kind of stress but they thrive. And their business plans are hyper-focused on radical change or innovation. They are like ever growing skyscrapers that are taller than they are wide. This can be risky, but some examples are Elon Musk, Donald Trump, and Richard Branson. If you look at pressure as something desirable then this is easier to achieve.

What is the importance of diet and exercise and its effect on stress?

Your body is your temple, and it can either work for you or against you. If you feed it garbage, you will get garbage energy levels and daily performance. Having a well-balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, and the proper amount of water daily is key for both mental and physical optimization. Pair that with at least 3-5 days per week of weight training/resistance-based training like bodybuilding and that will give you a healthy mind and body ready for long days of valued work output. In between the weight training days you can do 30-45 minutes of low to moderate intensity activity, like walking or cycling to keep the blood flowing and your mind laser-focused on your business goals.

What is Patrick Brouillette’s advice to entrepreneurs about managing stress?

I would say that your path should be tailor-made for your unique life. There is no one path that fits all when it comes to stress management. I don’t think people should follow a one-size-fits-all prescription when it comes to lifestyle and mindset. These are not universally similar problems because everyone has different aspirations and aptitudes. So try and find what suits you and give room for the unknown because you might find a new way to manage stress that best suits you.