I’ve been known to skip a few meals, dump four shots of espresso into one cup and even drink a few of those five-hour energy bottles. I thrive on these adrenaline rushes, but no one can live like that for long periods of time.
So, every so often I retreat to my home in South Dakota for a respite from the fast pace of business (or New York City). If you’re like me and thrive on adrenaline, I’ll be the first to tell you it’s okay to hit the pause button: It doesn’t matter whether you’re a small business owner, an entrepreneur or a c-suite executive.
Life is just simply going to be stressful. The competition, the long work hours, the slashed budgets, deadlines and expectations for employees, customers and shareholders: These things, plus the high-risk decisions associated with them, take a toll.
This is hardly news, of course: According to a report by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), 40 percent of workers surveyed reported that their jobs were very or extremely stressful; 25 percent viewed their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives.
But what people should stay attuned to are the ways in which stress can manifest itself — mentally, physically and emotionally, — and the negative pesults, like edginess, impatience, anxiety and moodiness. The main sources for the problem? As measured by the American Institute of Stress, they’re : workload (46 percent), people issues (28 percent), the demands of juggling personal and professional life (20 percent) and lack of job security (6 percent).
For inspiration on managing all this stress, we can turn to the business greats — people who run multi-billion dollar corporations. If they can manage their stress levels, the rest of us can, too. Here are five lessons these icons have to teach:
1. Keep it simple.
When you have a couple of hundred emails in your inbox, a day full of meetings and calls and everyone asking you for your opinion, keeping it simple seems like the most complicated goal — or the last thing on your mind. But it’s something that must be done, to gain a little perspective on what’s most important at that moment.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has said, “The ability to boil things down, to just work on things that really count, to think through the basics . . . It’s a special form of genius.” At this point, we can all agree that the method to Gates’s madness has worked.
One of my own mottos that I try to impart to my team is, “Work smarter, not harder.” By working smarter, I keep things simple. I don’t need to be copied in every single email chain, or be a part of every conversation or decision; that’s why I have a team — to take care of the process. My team feels empowered to make decisions in my absence, so I can focus on what matters most — growing the business.
2. Focus on what matters.
One of the easiest things to do is become overwhelmed by all that needs to be done or isn’t getting done. When we’re overwhelmed, our tempers flare, and we take things out on those closest to us; things spiral downward.
But ask yourself, What’s really important? I have 20 things on my “to-do” list, but what will happen if, instead of taking care of all 20, I take care of only the top five? Will the world stop spinning?
No, Nothing will happen. Those worries are all in your head.
Richard Branson is synonymous with the Virgin brand, but he is someone who has his priorities straight. Said Branson: “If I lose the whole Virgin empire tomorrow, then I’d just go and live somewhere, like Bali. Now, if there was a problem with my family, healthwise . . . that’s a problem.”
It sounds trite sometimes, but prioritizing things that really matter can reduce stress levels considerably. If the big things are taken care of, or are going well, the business side of things will be okay, too. I’ve bought and sold over 250 businesses over the years, I’ve had my fair share of failures (one of them involved a failed pheasant farm).
But these failures are nothing compared to my family’s welfare.
3. Take control.
When we have looming deadlines, meetings with clients or investors, lists a mile long: Our brains can short-circuit. Being overwhelmed breeds inaction and confusion. How can we break the cycle? By taking control of the situation.
If you’re stressing about the million things that need to be done, the only number you need to focus on is the number “1.” What’s first on your list? Tackle that specific task, and only that task — forget the others. Being that laser-focused allows you to take control of the situation, which propels you into the next task and gives you a sense of accomplishment, thereby, lowering stress.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said, “Stress primarily comes from not taking action over something that you can have control over . . . I find that as soon as I identify it and make the first phone call, or send off the first email . . . it dramatically reduces any stress that might come from it.”
4. Take a break.
This sounds like an oxymoron at times, especially when you feel that the fate of the world is resting on your shoulders. But, if you’re saying, “Can’t take a break right now,” stop! After all, I’m saying it, and I’m the guy who flew from New York to Hawaii for a business meeting. I was in Hawaii for less than 48 hours.
Some entrepreneurs and executives have a higher tolerance for adrenaline rushes and a reputation for being workaholics — that comes with the territory. But what good are you to your family or your team if you burn out? Working nonstop leads to burnout and slows productivity. Recognizing the signs can save you and your business headaches. In fact, 90 percent of leaders in a survey by the Center for Creative Leadership reported that they managed stress by temporarily removing themselves, physically and mentally, from their source of stress.
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki believes in stopping and smelling the roses. Wojcicki said, “I think it’s really important to take time off, and I’ve also found that sometimes you get really good insights by taking time off.” I agree; I find not just inspiration, but perspective, when I’m home at the ranch or going on vacation to Italy with my wife.
5. Plan ahead.
We all know what we’re doing every single day of the week, so planning ahead is key in managing stress levels. Every Sunday night, I look at my calendar for the week and prioritize meetings, phone calls, events and the duties around those tasks. Then, I print my daily calendar, streamlining my workload even more to stay on track at a granular level.
Organizing, planning and streamlining tasks are effective management strategies; having a good system in place helps things run smoothly, reducing everyone’s stress levels.
Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, said, “The more you can set a cadence around what you do, and the more ritual and the more consistency you can build into your schedule, the less stress you’re going to have.”
So, it’s not just grit, hard work and determination that separate the successful from the unsuccessful: It’s also how people manage their stress levels as they run their operations. We’re all stressed, after all; it’s a natural side effect of pushing to achieve our dreams. But how we manage it sets us apart. Don’t let stress be your downfall.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
Crushing It? More Like Crushing Me. How One Missed Flight Stopped Me From Burning Out
Constant travel, trade shows, 5 a.m. starts, 16-hour days and late-night drinks with partners had left me spent.
Tech start-ups have a storied culture of breakneck-paced work and personal sacrifices. The industry is led by individuals who have proudly made their work their life, whatever the cost. The frantic energy of this lifestyle is exciting, and the image of it is alluring. But, make no mistake, it’s also unrealistic and dangerous.
In 2013, I launched a video feedback technology company, Voxpopme. We’ve quickly scaled to employ 50 people across three continents, raising millions from angel investors and VCs. We’ve also accumulated a client list including many Fortune 500 brands. On the exterior, everything looked great. But, in July, after over 45 solid days on the road, the happy accident of a missed flight reminded me of just how much I was missing by keeping this schedule.
The day before I needed to be in Nashville, Tenn., for a client meeting, followed immediately by two weeks of travel in the U.K., I missed my flight to London. Looking at my laptop to re-book, I felt overwhelmed and was overcome with a need to stop, to take a break, to escape. I had already worked through the majority of a family vacation just a few weeks earlier. Constant travel, trade shows, 5 a.m. starts, 16-hour days and late-night drinks with partners had left me spent. After thriving on the adrenaline of constant work for months, something had changed. I was absolutely dreading it. I just wanted to be at home. I missed my wife, my kids, even just sleeping in my own bed.
I canceled the rest of my trip and, after returning home, I had a period of intense reflection where I learned a lot about myself, and about the unforgiving pressure that entrepreneurship can cause. Fortunately, this learning experience only came at the cost of a plane ticket. But, I’d like to share the lessons learned. Others in my shoes have pushed themselves past where they should and paid a higher price.
Lesson 1: There are no CEO superheroes
I’ve come to realise the impossibility of becoming one of those romanticised, non-sleeping startup CEO geniuses. This class of person did not exist in the first place.
The myth of the superhero-CEO is common because it serves a potent marketing goal. As the Wall Street Journal noted in June, “Powerful founder-CEOs who were once lauded for flouting convention are facing a new reality: They aren’t superheroes, after all. Treating them as if they were has been bad for their companies and investors alike.”
The myth’s danger, as the Journal article states, is because it is the root of the misplaced confidence in companies like Theranos, where Elizabeth Holmes’s purported genius was used to silence the company’s critics. This myth gave former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick too much leeway for malfeasance, encouraged by the idea that he was somehow irreplaceable.
For upstart CEOs like myself, this is an unhealthy example to follow. Rejecting needs like sleep and family time left me burnt out. I didn’t see it coming because I had on blinders, in pursuit of this unattainable image.
Lesson 2: When you are your business, your health is your business’s
Re-grouping in Utah, I sat down with one of my mentors, Lonnie Mayne. He had seen this coming. He said I had been maintaining a schedule that was bad for relationships, my family and – yes – bad for business. Having one person as the lynchpin of an entire company is unhealthy for all involved.
Ariana Huffington has recently expanded her career to study this phenomenon, promoting a restful-but-successful lifestyle in the wake of personal tolls that came with running The Huffington Post. After seeing Elon Musk humblebrag on TV about his lifestyle of 100-plus hour workdays, she wrote him an open letter asking him to see the error of his ways.
Quoting a critical passage: “After 17-19 hours without sleep, we begin to experience levels of cognitive impairment equivalent to a blood alcohol level of .05 percent, just under the threshold for being legally drunk. No business leader would hire people who came to work drunk, so don’t model that behaviour for your employees.”
The start-up world is one where one bad decision can undo thousands of man-hours of hard work. Burning the candle at both ends drastically increases the odds of this happening.
Lesson 3: Take what you love and write it down
In the midst of this regroup, I told my mentor Mayne about the guilt I felt when I wasn’t working. Often, I’d sit down to watch a football match but internally beat myself up for not focusing on my enormous to-do list. If I wasn’t working, I wasn’t happy.
In response to my company’s to-do list, Mayne suggested developing one of my own. We started by writing a list of everything that mattered to me: Friends, family, fitness, health, watching sports, snowboarding. To ensure balance, we broke them down into my primary focus for that month and things that were important and needed attention but were not a top priority. I shared this with my wife and our executive team so they understood where my focus was.
Finally, I weighed my personal list against my company’s and made some real concessions to ensure I would be able to prioritise both. I completely restructured my schedule for the rest of the year, switching from 80:20 travel to 20:80, and committing to being more present with my family and using my time more effectively to lead the business.
This ties back to Lesson 2, as a part of this involved delegating some areas of the business to my team. Rather than worry about keeping up with everything as the company grows, I’m proud knowing that I’ve put together a team that is capable of stepping in to share the burden.
There comes a point in a company’s growth where it’s no longer possible to maintain the “start-up grind” that was once necessary for survival. This isn’t a negative! This is a sign things are moving in the right direction.
Lesson 4: You’re not alone
Finally, I decided to write about this experience on LinkedIn. Initially, I was worried: What would my team think, how would existing and prospective investors react … would people think I was weak?
I couldn’t have been further from the mark.
My inbox was flooded with messages of support. I even had a VC email me to share that he had realised this lesson too late at his startup and had paid a heavy personal price as a result. Two months on, I’m more productive than ever before. I have more energy and a much clearer vision for the company. All while working fewer hours, focusing my time in the right place and not neglecting the people most important to me. Ultimately, I’ve managed to find a balance and make sure that I’m winning without losing.
If my story feels like yours, take a moment to evaluate your next three months and focus on the things that really matter. Odds are, you’ve already surrounded yourself with people who have the ability and know-how to deliver the things you thought too important to let go. Trust them to help your company achieve sustainable growth and watch yourself grow as a result.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
3 Ways To Balance Your Business, Family And Everything Else
You can do it all (or at least make it easier to do everything you enjoy) with these smart tips from a successful entrepreneur.
The following excerpt is from Manny Khoshbin’s book Driven: The Never-Give-Up Roadmap to Massive Success.
Balancing your life is like one of those acrobatic acts where people are standing on top of one another balancing themselves — each person represents an important part of your life. You want to keep them all up there without anyone falling. Not so easy, is it?
To really appreciate and enjoy what you have, balancing the many aspects of your life is essential, but many people aren’t very good at it. I was one of those people in my first marriage. I was wrapped up in my business and not spending enough time and energy on my marriage. In the end, the marriage blew up.
I admit, it’s hard to say no to business when it comes knocking at your door, especially when you’re selling real estate and a qualified buyer comes along. However, if you don’t know when to put the brakes on and slow down, you may find yourself out of control and missing out on a lot of your life.
Many people get a taste of success and they want to scale it, so they just dive into it 24/7. The next thing they know, 10 years have gone by and they’ve built a huge empire but lost sight of everything else. They realise that their spouse is now their ex, their kids are now teenagers, other family members, as well as friends, have moved on, and they’ve missed so much of their personal life that not even money can buy it back.
So, how do you balance work, family and everything else? For one thing, you need to accept that you have to make many compromises, have a positive attitude and know that it can be done.
Besides running my own business, Leyla and I are partners in her business. Warning: This type of arrangement will not work for all couples, but it can work well, provided you clarify your positions and respect each other’s roles.
The trick is knowing how to combine, and then separate, business and marriage. For example, Leyla and I sometimes have to go to Los Angeles for meetings or to an expo or a beauty show in Las Vegas. We take the opportunity to make a full weekend out of it, working at the event and then going out on the town.
At home, we have date nights at least once a week, even if all we do is grab a quick dinner and then come back home. It’s important to break the routine and put business aside. On weekends, Leyla’s business is closed and I don’t work, and we spend time with our kids. We try to make time for each of our top priorities: our family, each other and our work.
Unfortunately, when you’re working together and discussing, or sometimes arguing, about business during the day, it’s difficult to switch gears when you get home and shift into husband-and-wife mode. We try to be careful to stop ourselves without letting the day spill over into our personal life together.
I’ll admit, however, that it does take some practice, learning how to turn the switch off before you leave the office to go home. But in time it gets easier. You need to set some rules together, then make sure you’re both on board with those rules.
Hobbies and passions: cars and cigars
You also need time for your hobbies. Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve loved exotic cars. I bought my first exotic car in 1992, a Nissan 300ZX Twin Turbo. Fast-forward 10 years, and I had started falling in love with Ferraris as well as Porsches. I have continued collecting cars, and I now have 15 cars.
Even though they’re a hobby, I have an entrepreneurial spirit when it comes to my passion for cars. In fact, I view them in a similar way that I do great pieces of property, though I’d prefer to keep them than sell to the highest bidder. To me, they’re like works of art that I view as investments, knowing that they’re of great value.
Cars aren’t my only passion, though. It’s important to have some passions that you can enjoy away from work, from family and from everything else. You also want some alone time. For example, I also own a cigar lounge (www.CubanoRoom.com) where I can go to relax by myself or meet another successful member while smoking a fine cigar.
I treat my passions like a business because that’s who I am — I enjoy them and also make money – but it doesn’t have to be that way. If you enjoy bicycling, you don’t have to go and open a bicycle store. You can simply find a group of riders, do some travelling and have fun.
It’s important to fit some alone time into your busy balancing act. We all need some moments when we escape from everyone and everything. The best thing to do is figure out what makes you happy and balance the hustle of your busy life with your own passion.
Related: How To Work 10 Hours Less Each Week
Family time is so important to me, both as a father and as a member of an extended family. Besides spending time with Leyla and my children, I see my parents often. I bought them a ranch about 90 miles away from Newport Beach back in 2004. Now they visit us every Friday or Saturday – we have a barbecue and play backgammon or cards.
We also see Leyla’s mom and sister often. Her mom still works as a registered nurse and lives in Beverly Hills. Leyla’s sister is nearby in San Diego where she works for a company called Houzz, an online community for home construction, landscape design, home improvement, repairs and so forth.
Leyla and I both recognise the importance of having our extended family nearby and making time to spend together. Otherwise, time goes by quickly, and you suddenly realise that it’s been years since you spent some quality time together.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
Join The Mustang Revolution
Experience the dream and take it for a test drive today.
Every new Mustang brings a renewal, of the human spirit, the open road, and the wanderlust that exists within us all. For over 5 decades, America’s legendary Pony car has delivered countless moments of pure exhilaration.
The new Mustang is loaded with bravado, coiled with confidence. It honours this authentic lineage – by launching it forward, with advanced new technology that allows for a level of personalisation not seen before. But very familiar to a new generation of free spirits, who refuses stereotypes, encourage self-expression. Are you ready for this?
The evolution of the mustang
How do you reinvent a car that’s more than a car: An icon that forever changed the landscape of the automotive industry? You don’t. You just make it better. You bring it back to its original roots in a modern way. You create something that’s instantly classic and completely new. 50 years on, we’ve breathed new life into a legend.
Legends who choose to partner with the legend
Jay Leno, the former king of American late-night television, is known to be an avid car collector. In his collection is a 1965 Shelby Mustang GT 350, one of Americas most desirable muscle cars.
President Bill Clinton owned a 1967 Ford Mustang Convertible before he entered office. He said he found it hard to leave the car behind in Arkansas when he moved into the White House.
Charlie Sheen, veteran actor of the big and small screen, also owned several Mustangs. A Classic 1966 Mustang GT was once on display at Galpin Auto Sport in Calif. Another of his Mustangs, a 1968 Shelby, was featured in the movie ‘Money Talks’.
Patrick Dempsey loves his Mustangs. He loves them so much he raced a specially-built Mustang FR500C in the Grand-Am Road Racing KONI series. When he’s not on the race track he’s the proud owner of a 1965 Ford Mustang Coupe, which was featured at the 2007 SEMA Show.
Jim Morrison reportedly only ever owned a 1967 Nightmist Blue Shelby GT 500. The car was a gift from Electra Records, but rumour has it that he wrapped the car around a telephone pole, and it was never seen again.
Sammy Hagar, former lead singer of iconic rock band Van Halen, is the former owner of a 1967 Shelby GT500. He’s also the owner of the first GCM-R Mustang, one of 100 custom built by Gateway Classic Mustang.
Tim Allen reportedly has a USD50 000 hyper-customised Mustang, which does 0 to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds, reaching the quarter mile in 12.4 seconds and can achieve top speeds of 184 mph.
Bob Seger is known for his love of muscle cars from the 1960’s and 70’s. Included in his collection are a Mach 1 Mustang and a classic GT350.
Kelly Clarkson is a lover and owner of Mustang’s. She prominently features a red/white striped GT500 in her music video ‘Go’, she is also rumoured to have owned a hot pink Mustang.
Eminem reportedly bought a brand new 1999 Mustang Convertible with his first royalty cheque after becoming a worldwide superstar.
There’s a certain feeling you get when you start the engine and hear Mustang’s iconic growl for the first time. The Mustang’s design is just as thrilling.
Taking inspiration from classic airplane cockpits, the Mustang struck a balance between analogue dials and digital feedback. The gear shifter is optimally placed. And the steering wheel just feels right in your hands, for a dynamic driving experience.
Everything about the Mustang’s design makes your jaw drop. The sharp HID headlamps and signature tri-bar taillamps. The front end that screams energy. The sleek, lean and low body. The improved aerodynamics. Designed with a passion for the legend that is Mustang – this is as good as it gets.
SYNC®3 is a responsive, fully integrated, voice activation system that lets you use your favourite devices while your hands stay on the wheel and your eyes stay safely on the road. Sync your phone to call your friends, play your favourite music or find the perfect temperature with hands-free Climate Control.
Seamless integration via programs like Apple CarPlay™ allow you choice on how to remain connected to your world. Equipped with a customisable 8” Colour LCD capacitive Touch Screen; SYNC®3 is quicker and more responsive than ever before.
Rear View Camera
Trouble with parallel parking or reversing into tight spaces? No problem. Ford’s Rear View Camera lets you see behind you. And the Rear Parking Sensors beep to let you know how close you are to objects behind you. The system even turns the music down, so you can hear the beep clearly.
Keyless Entry and Push-button Start
We can’t find your keys for you, but as long as you have the key fob on you, you’re ready to go. Simply unlock the driver’s door with a touch of the handle. To start her up, just put your foot on the brake, press the START/STOP button and you’re away.
Mustang has unleashed two engine options, 5.0L Ti-VCT V8 and 2.3L EcoBoost® both marvels of engineering.
2.3L EcoBoost Engine
The EcoBoost model features the twin-scroll turbocharged 2.3L EcoBoost engine, giving you exhilarating performance with reduced fuel consumption.
5.0L V8 Engine
The Mustang GT’s 5.0L engine has been expertly engineered to maximize power from every compression.
Boasting strong power and torque, Mustang GT’s engine roar and wide-eyed acceleration are the stuff of the legends
Electric Power Assisted Steering (EPAS)
Electric Power Assisted Steering adjusts to provide you with greater control in a range of road and weather conditions, and even crosswinds and potholes. And it only activates when needed, saving you fuel. Best of all, you’re in control. Choose between three power-assisted settings to adjust steering effort: comfort, sport and normal.
6-Speed SelectShift with Paddle Shifters
Mustang’s SelectShift gives you the thrill of using a manual transmission with the ease of an automatic. Simply toggle the race car-inspired Paddle Shifters on the steering wheel to shift gears up or down, for smooth and effortless gear changes.
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