How to Cope With The Stress of Risk When Running a Startup

Taking large risks – in business and in life – can be terrifying. And while many motivational speakers and industry leaders speak to the importance of taking them, the mental health effects of jumping off that ledge are seldom discussed or entered into conversation. When taking these risks, it can seem like a dismantling of […]

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Taking large risks – in business and in life – can be terrifying. And while many motivational speakers and industry leaders speak to the importance of taking them, the mental health effects of jumping off that ledge are seldom discussed or entered into conversation. When taking these risks, it can seem like a dismantling of what makes us feel safe – we are sacrificing comfort, and therefore, it feels like we’re walking on eggshells. 

But since risks are indeed the best way to uplevel our lives and businesses, we must find a way to feel comfortable with risk. Whether it’s investing a large sum of money into that top notch executive coach, trusting a new hire, or taking an investment from a new investor, risk is ever present in building a startup. Here are a few ways to help yourself when you’re in an unknown situation. 

1. Get plenty of rest. 

When the brain is processing a sudden change or a big risk, it actually processes time slower, making days feel longer. Since you aren’t just going through your typical routine and can’t rely on your subconscious nearly as often, you’re likely to be far more tired than usual. While it can be hard to turn off the voices in your head at night, do meditative practices to fall asleep quicker, and try to get into bed earlier than usual. Sleep deprivation can make everything feel worse; give yourself the added bonus of a sharp mind when handling the risks and uncertainty ahead. 

2. Talk to trusted friends and confidants. 

It’s important to also create channels to talk through the risk. The last thing you should do is bottle everything in and keep grinding — with major discomfort comes a major need to feel comforted and talk through what’s going on in your head. Take a brief break from work to go for a walk with a friend and talk about what’s bothering you most. Even the act of talking about it can shift the energy. 

3. Focus on what can go right. 

Finally, you must trust that the risk you took was calculated, and that you did the best you could with the information available to you. So, rather than worrying yourself with what can go wrong or how things can go awry, focus on what you most want. Think about the upside of risk, and get excited about the potential future in which the risk turns out better than you can even hope. Optimism can restore inner peace and battle stress, whereas worrying and stressing about what bad thing could happen will only make the discomfort of risk tenfold more uncomfortable. 

Remember that your number one job is to take care of yourself from a holistic perspective. Take care of your mind and its tendency to race under stress and risk by taking care of your body and doing what makes you feel best: hitting the gym, taking a breather every afternoon, or waking up early to get a headstart on the day. This will help you mitigate the stress associated with risk, making you more prepared than ever to handle whatever the day ahead has in store.

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