What can you do to sustain your energy and get more out of life and work?
What drives effective work performance?
It’s a challenge for you to get it all done, regardless of your line of work or the number of formal and informal roles you play in life.
And most everyone knows that being an entrepreneur is hard. When you think of the entrepreneur’s difficulties, however, you most likely focus on just the work-related challenges of launching and sustaining the business: defining a product or service, finding and reaching your market, raising and earning money, managing growth.
Far less attention has been given to the personal challenges of being an entrepreneur: managing the insane workload, doing ten jobs at the same time, dealing with stress, and sustaining the energy and focus needed to do all of the above. This is strange given that, as an entrepreneur, you are your business. (And if you lead a company or a large team within a company, your reality is the same: how you show up at work affects the performance of your team and company.)
What I know from personal experience and my professional experience working with hundreds of business leaders, entrepreneurs, and private individuals is:[box border=”full”]If you are focused and energetic, your company will be more productive. If you’re scattered and exhausted, that will be reflected in the work you produce and impact your interactions with colleagues and clients.[/box]
I wanted to know more about how entrepreneurs and business owners manage these challenges, so I asked them. In 2013 I administered a survey to 78 people, of whom 60 identified themselves as entrepreneurs. I asked them a little bit about their background and overall views of what has allowed them to make their vision a reality. But mostly I wanted to know about the personal challenges they faced and how they dealt with those challenges. This report summarizes what I’ve learned.
The top-line results are not especially surprising:
- Having a clear vision, strong partners, and good communication skills are critical to executing vision.
- Keeping up with the workload is a major challenge, one that is often solved with caffeine.
- Common ways to de-stress include socializing, eating and drinking, exercising, reading and watching TV.
Beneath these general observations, however, emerged more intriguing insights about how people deal with stress and sustain energy, and about the challenges of “success.”
- Which key behaviors correlate with having more sustained energy?
- Are people who do yoga and go to therapy more stressed out than the rest of us?
- Which of the following do experienced business owners find more important for executing their vision: having a business plan? taking care of oneself physically and mentally? or having strong partners/team?
- What do entrepreneurs find to be the biggest major challenge in executing their vision: Staying organized? Managing stress? Sustaining energy and focus? Or finding time for everything that needs to get done?
I invite you to read on to learn the answers to these questions, including how entrepreneurs who had been in business longer and had higher reported incomes face different challenges and how they respond to them in different ways than those who were less experienced. You’ll also learn what people do to take care of themselves in the face of different kinds of challenges.
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