#108: Strategies for Managing Entrepreneur Stress


Welcome back to the Entrepreneur Mindset Podcast! 

We have said goodbye to January and are now settling into the new year. I’m listening to clients and colleagues talk about new ideas, launching or re-launching their main offer, and just generally taking strides forward in their business. But that progress can sometimes bring up two words that we try to ignore: stress and chaos. Have you felt those two friends creeping into your life again? Let’s spend some time talking about stress and chaos today, because when you better understand them, you can effectively manage them. 

If you are ready to learn more about stress and chaos in business with an extra dose of the science behind it all, grab a pen and paper so that we can get started.

3 Whiteboards

I was in my office window seat surrounded by three whiteboards this weekend. I’m planning out the launch of the Entrepreneur Membership in late March and have been working hard to lay the foundation. I have dry erase and wet erase markers in a little Target $1 bin bucket and am reaching in it for a different color as I map out the models I want to share in the webinar, bonuses I want to offer as part of the membership launch, even the VIP offer I’ll make for webinar registrants. 

Anyone who looks at the colorful board might feel a bit of chaos happening. After all, there are three boards all full with writing, some of the magnets are very nearly falling off the board because it is so full. I have diagrams and research. 

It sounds a bit chaotic, right? But for me, it isn’t. 

I’ve realized what works for me during this creative phase and how to organize it so that I know exactly what is going on. Maybe you have something similar to tame the chaos. You have a method that makes sense and when you look at it, it is simple. Others look at it and see a mess of stuff. The important thing is to find a system that works for you as an entrepreneur so that stress and chaos do not dominate your life and business.

All About Stress and Stressors

We all know that stress and chaos can have a significant impact on both physical and mental health. I teach an entire chapter on just the theories of stress in my intro psychology class each semester. 

Physically, stress can lead to fatigue, decreased immune function, and increased risk of illnesses such as heart disease and depression. Mentally, stress and chaos can intensify anxiety and burnout. It can also lead to decreased creativity, motivation, and difficulty in making decisions. 

In order to mitigate the negative effects of stress and chaos, it is important to practice self-care, prioritize your workload, delegate tasks, and seek support from friends, family, or mental health professionals. But that is sometimes easier said than done, right? Today, let’s talk about what you can actually do to tame that chaos, stress, and stressors. 

Now I just threw an extra word in there, so can we pause for a moment to talk definitions? I want us all to be on the same page. 

  1. Stress is the response to perceived threats or challenges resulting from stimuli or events that cause strain. In other words stress is the result of something.
  2. Stressors are the stimuli that cause the strain, which leads to psychological and physiological reactions. In other words, this is the “something” that causes stress. 

With those definitions out of the way, it is important to note that even good things can cause stress. Maybe you have a great launch in your business, that can cause stress of wondering how to handle the influx of business, serving your new clients, and making sure that your product or service meets the client’s needs. 

According to Entrepreneur.com, the top stressors for entrepreneurs include: 

  1. Access to capital, the money that keeps your business open, 
  2. Pending promises, like deadlines to deliver, 
  3. Being the bottleneck where things are piling up on your plate, 
  4. Making decisions, let’s face it you are a decision-making machine and I just told you that stress makes decision-making more difficult. Seems like a catch-22! 
  5. Time commitments where there never seems to be enough time in the day 
  6. Clients, because working with humans takes energy 
  7. And the unknown are just a few of the top stressors. 

But today isn’t about adding stress, it is about taking it away. Like I said when I got started today, I have systems and processes that reduce my stress as I plan new things. What can you do to reduce and manage stress? 

  1. Get your body moving. Be sure that you are taking that mid-day walk, doing some chair exercises, or simply take time to breathe. Remember that if you are feeling ambitious and want to add exercise to your daily routine to check in with your healthcare provider to find out what is right for you. I bet you can remember a time when you took a walk and had that spark of an idea. Even getting outside for fresh air can help your body and brain release the stressor and stress. 
  2. Eating healthy and colorful foods. When you feed your body good foods it has better fuel to work with. As a grad student, we had a stats professor who always used to say garbage in equals garbage out. He was talking about putting in junky data so you would get junky results. If you’ve been using ChatGPT like half the world, you know that if you put in a junky prompt you get a junky response back. The same is true of our bodies. If you want to perform optimally, you have to put in good foods. 
  3. Next up is to relax. Now before you hit stop on the podcast, I know you’re busy, after all one of the big stressors of being an entrepreneur is not having enough time to get it all done. But what if I told you that taking a few minutes each hour to breathe might actually make you more productive and thereby reduce your stress? Could you start there? As you get more comfortable, you can take time to simply enjoy the outdoors, read that fun book you’ve been putting off, try cooking macarons with your kids, or build that Lego Harry Potter castle that has been sitting in the box for months. If you’ve never tried cooking macarons with your kids, they are a fun experiment. Don’t expect them to turn out beautifully like you’d find at the store, but they are a neat experience. Also, no Lego should be left in the box for months. Legos should be built, played with, and displayed. 
  4. My last tip for reducing stress is to focus on relationships. Find a community that you can be a part of, especially one filled with entrepreneurs. Building a business can be lonely if your friends are not also entrepreneurs. Having someone who understands you can really make a difference. Simply being able to tell someone what is going on in your business can relieve stress and being able to offer insights to someone else can be a mood and energy booster.

Action Item

As you can guess, stress is part of business but it doesn’t have to be the whole of business. Just like I have my whiteboards to get ideas organized and take away the stress of something new, you can also explore ways to manage your stress so that it does not have a negative impact on your business or more importantly your health. 

Today’s action item is all about exploring ways to actively manage stress. We talked about a few ways to manage stress, but one way we didn’t discuss is called problem-focused coping. This is where you take the challenge and say that you are going to address it head on instead of letting it fester. For example, if you have a deadline looming you break down what needs to be done and then start with the first task. By creating a plan, you are taking action and moving toward that goal of the deadline. I want you to think about something that you have been putting off in your business that needs to be done, but maybe isn’t your favorite activity. Explore how you can break it down and get it done. Then get started. 

Once you have completed your task, I want you to notice how you feel. Did a weight get lifted off your shoulders? Maybe you feel energized. Or perhaps you are looking at that task with new appreciation or less angst. 

No matter what, think about how you can be a problem-solver this week and remember to incorporate colorful foods, deep breaths, and relaxation in a way that is right for you.


As we wrap up for today, let’s touch on the key points. Stress is something that is part of business, but it doesn’t have to take over. Although it can have negative physical and mental impacts, taking time to pay attention to your stress and stressors can help mitigate those effects. 

There are a lot of different ways to manage stress that include getting your body moving, eating colorful and varied foods, and taking time to relax. We also discussed the importance of finding a community of entrepreneurs. 

Finally, for your action item, I encouraged you to take a problem-focused approach to one stressor this week. Identify what needs to be done, break it down and then work through the process step by step.

I’d love to know what has been most helpful in this episode. We all have stress and the more open we are about it, the better we manage the stress. Please be sure to leave your thoughts on this episode or any other that you find help in the review section of your podcast provider. Those stars and comments mean a lot as I create new episodes for you. 

We will continue the conversation on stress with Kerry-Ann Powell in a special episode this Thursday. If you haven’t listened to my conversation with Sean Tyler Foley in Episode 107, be sure to check that out as well. 

I’ll see you back here on Thursday for another episode of the Entrepreneur Mindset Podcast, where a focus on mentoring and community and implementation removes the overwhelm of building your successful and profitable business and adds in a dose of momentum. 

Until next time, have a healthy, safe, and happy week. 


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