Take a Chill Pill

Take a Chill Pill


Last year, Entrepreneur gave readers the opportunity to take part in an online stress self-awareness test. From the 105 respondents the results have raised eyebrows. While stress is every-
where, it appears entrepreneurs are suffering the worst for it.

Stress fest

The stats reveal that 67% experience poor sleep quality, 61% feel demotivated, 58% feel a sense of failure or self-doubt, 57% feel a sense of isolation, 46% have a change in appetite, 35% struggle with emotional dysregulation and worryingly, 23% experience unexplained chest pains frequently.

While entrepreneurship brings a unique set of challenges and stressors, anti-stress guru Richard Hawkey says these results are particularly worrying: “The reader group is showing worse symptoms across the board than the averages.”

New year, new start

As we get ready for the new year, it’s important to remember that stress is not a badge of honour. “The trick is learning how to tap into the positive stress that working for yourself can bring. Too many entrepreneurs get so caught up in the mundane day-to-day that they forget why they’re doing what they’re doing,” says Hawkey.

If you’re chasing entrepreneurship, make sure it’s for the passion and the dream, because these are the things that sustain you during stressful times.

Get a grip on stress

Frayed around the edges? Stress is a process that can be managed. Here’s a six step guide recommended by Richard Hawkey to getting your grey hairs under control:

  1. Self-awareness. Identify the physical, cognitive, behavioural and emotional warning lights.
  2. Identify personal stressors. What stresses you out? One person’s stressor is another’s energiser.
  3. Set a stress management strategy. Avoid, adapt, alter or accept.
  4. Make a practical action plan. Intentions don’t get you anywhere. Positive forward momentum is the key.
  5. Build resilience. You’re an entrepreneur, stress is part of the game. Get ahead with sleep, good nutrition and exercise, and don’t forget the all-important ‘me-time’ of having fun and chilling out.
  6. Go back to step 1.


Tracy Lee Nicol
Tracy-Lee Nicol is an experienced business writer and magazine editor. She was awarded a Masters degree with distinction from Rhodes university in 2010, and in the time since has honed her business acumen and writing skills profiling some of South Africa's most successful entrepreneurs, CEOs, franchisees and franchisors.Find her on Google+.