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Self Development

Stop Stress in its Tracks

Effectively manage stress with these five simple tools.

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For those in the entrepreneurial fast lane, stress is just another fact of life. Research has also shown that the most successful individuals – the Type A personalities and perfectionists amongst us – will be more susceptible to stress than others, which probably comes as no surprise.

And let’s face it, most of us fall into at least one of these two categories and are no strangers to the odd anxiety-induced sleepless night. It’s next to impossible to avoid stress entirely. We can eat the right foods, we can get our eight hours of sleep at night, we can take our yoga classes – but when stressful situations rear their ugly heads, even the most well-rested, green juice-guzzling, gymbag-toting entrepreneur may be at a loss as to how to cope with the problem.

Effectively managing stress

We all know the harmful toll that stress can take on our health, but the question remains: in today’s fast-paced world of meetings, deadlines and around-the-clock pressure, how do we effectively manage this stress without driving ourselves – and those around us – insane?

Dale Carnegie, an American writer and lecturer on topics such as self-improvement, salesmanship, corporate training and public speaking, swore by a set of stress-management principles in his famous book, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. These principles assist in the management of stress and are still relevant today; 100 years after Carnegie first began teaching in 1912.

1. Live in day-tight compartments

You’ve had a terrible day. A critical deal has fallen through. A key team member has resigned. Your Internet won’t work. In short, good old Murphy dropped by and everything that can go wrong has. Now go home, and forget about it entirely.

Easier said than done? Living in day-tight compartments is challenging but it’s a habit we can cultivate. If we take life one day at a time and don’t worry about the next day, week or month’s commitments and concerns, we are a small step away from leading a better life. Remember, worrying never improved any situation.

2. Use the law of averages to outlaw your worries

More often than not we find ourselves worrying about things that never actually occur. By using the law of averages – statistically, there’s a far greater chance of me being involved in a car crash than this plane going down – we can avoid unnecessary stress.

3. Decide just how much anxiety a thing is worth and then refuse to give it more

You have just completed work on your pitch in preparation for a meeting that you have with a potential new client the next day. It was a challenging brief but you put in the hours and you’re proud of the finished
product. You go to bed, intending to get a good night’s rest so you can be on peak form for your big pitch the following day, and then the inner dialogue starts: What have you forgotten?

Should you have included that? Will it be good enough? It’s normal that you’ll be worried, but decide on a ‘healthy’ level of anxiety and an applicable ‘stress period’, and then refuse to give it any more thought. Allow yourself 15 minutes to go over everything in your head, and then turn off that mental laptop and go to sleep knowing you have given it your all.

4. Coping with a difficult situation

Ask yourself: What is the worst that can possibly happen? Then, prepare to accept the worst, and try to improve on the worst.

For instance, Jared is unhappy with the new software you have installed for him. After throwing around expletives that would make Eminem blush and threatening to fire your company, he slams down the phone. Ask yourself, what is the worst that can happen?

Answer: He could fire us. Then accept that as a reality. Lastly, try to improve on the worst: pick up the phone tomorrow when he has cooled down, explain your perspective and offer an alternative. If nothing else, he will appreciate your effort.

5 Cultivate a mental attitude of peace and happiness

Optimistic, positive people are far better equipped to deal with stress, and the reason for this is that they are more inclined to see opportunity in their losses. So Jared has told you he no longer requires your services? Fine – that gives you capacity to find new business with a client who appreciates the work you do… and who is less inclined towards profanity.

Ever noticed how good things always seem to happen to those positive people? It’s not that they’re luckier than the rest of us – they just focus more on the good than they do on the bad. They won’t dwell on a bad day in the office, but they will tell you about a great deal that’s just come through.

They understand that they can’t control what life throws at them, but they can control how they react to it – and that’s the difference.

Self Development

5 Inspiring Quotes From Madiba To Stir You Into Action On Mandela Day

In honour of Mandela Day, here are 5 of Nelson Mandela’s most inspiring quotes.

Casandra Visser

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Bouncing Back

nelson-mandela

“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”

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Self Development

25 Bad Words That Make Other People Feel Inferior

If the harshest thing you have to say about someone is partly true, say the other part.

John Rampton

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Did you know that in every language, there are more negative words than positive ones? It seems we need lots of words to describe our negative feelings, but we’re content with a handful of positive ones.

For instance, researchers have found that most cultures have words for seven basic emotions: Joy, fear, anger, sadness, disgust, shame and guilt.

That’s one positive emotion, and six negative

It’s no wonder so many of us have a hard time keeping our negative comments in check. Over the past six months I’ve been working on the verbal language that I’ve been using that I don’t even realize hurts others and in some cases makes them feel inferior. I even noticed that I’ve used a couple on my personal and business website. This is a “no-no” that I needed to fix.

This post will list 25 negative words you should avoid…so that you stop hurting, belittling and intimidating those around you!

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Self Development

How To Control What You Can And Influence What You Can’t In Your Life

Every day you need to get up and face numerous challenges. Here’s how you can keep your head in the game — even when all you want to do is quit.

Erik Kruger

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resilience

On Monday you wake up ready to take on the world. You’re focused, determined and business is doing well. Tuesday feels like you’re invincible and things could not be going any better. Wednesday, your world collapses. You doubt your ability to deliver to your clients. You wonder whether you should still pursue the same business. You think that quitting at this stage is easier than dealing with the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. And you are dramatically reminded that entrepreneurship is hard.

Mix in human nature and it becomes borderline insanity to try and build a business. And yet, the reward is worth it. I therefore want to share three strategies that might help you cope with this tough but deeply rewarding pursuit.

Influence and control

Most of the things in business and life are out of our control. You cannot control how other people react to your service or product. You cannot control how your employees will show up. You cannot control how the market will react and how that will affect your business.

Related: How You Can Do Big Things

This makes it very important to control what you can and then influence the rest to the best of your ability.

So, what can you control? You can control your actions, reactions and perceptions of the challenges you face. Meaning essentially, that you can control yourself and your efforts.

Do this with excellence and you will automatically influence the people around you and the situations you find yourself in.

Override your moods

If we only did the hard work when we felt like it, we would hardly get anything done. Our moods fluctuate like the tides of the ocean. Not because we are temperamental but because the external world has a profound impact on us.

When you wake up to news that the economy is in recession, it has the potential to plant seeds of doubt in your mind. When you receive an email from a disgruntled customer complaining about your service, it has the potential to ruin your day.

The fact is that you can receive a hundred testimonials singing your praise, but you will obsess and become despondent over that one negative comment.

This means that we have to move beyond our emotions. Sure, they are important in the decision-making process and for fostering meaningful relationships. But you cannot allow them to dictate when you will do work.

In other words, work hard, irrespective of your moods, especially on the days when you don’t feel like it.

Create a calibration practice

One of the best ways to deal with this rollercoaster effect is to create a daily calibration practice. I am a big fan of any action taken on a daily basis. Not only because of the accumulation effect that occurs over time, but also because it keeps you focused.

So, what does a daily calibration practice look like?

It differs for everyone. It could range from meditation to a vision board to journaling to listening to a specific playlist of songs. My suggestion is that you give journaling a go.

Because it’s sometimes difficult to start a new calibration practice, I have included my journaling template for you.

It’s called ‘J1G’ (pronounced as jig). I use Evernote or a notebook from HumanWrites for journaling purposes.

J: Journal

For the first few minutes, simply allow your hand to run across the paper. The idea is for you to dump as many of your thoughts onto the paper as possible.

Some questions you can answer in this section are:

  • What am I currently excited about?
  • What am I currently worried about?
  • Where am I currently winning?
  • What can I learn from what happened yesterday?

1: The one thing that you want to get done today

In this time, I usually have a look at my to-do list and decide which one action I want to get done today. Write it down and then expand on why it is the most important action. How will it move you or your business forward?

Related: Better Thinking For A Better World

G: Gratitude

In the last section, you simply write down three things that you are grateful for. Trust me, this is an important daily practice, but even more so on the days when you feel as if life is beating you down.

When you focus on the things that you are grateful for, you crowd out fear and shift your state of mind to a more positive and productive one.

The punch line

If you can stick to the three ideas I outlined above, I guarantee you will develop more resilience and perseverance. You are an entrepreneur because you chose to be one. Do not allow life to impose its will on you. I have no doubt that you will be better off because of all the challenges you face. Not in spite of them.

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