It’s no secret that entrepreneurship is extremely demanding. As famed entrepreneur (and founder of General Electric) Thomas Edison once said, “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.” Being an entrepreneur is hard work.
If you’re an entrepreneur, you know what I mean. More than likely, you’re working 10-14-hour days—if not more—while juggling the countless physical, mental, and emotional demands of getting a company off the ground. Too often, entrepreneurs get sucked into the funnel and never take the time to care about their own bodies, which is probably the reason so many give up after just a few months. It’s just too much for them, and they can’t handle the pressure.
If you’re going through that “I can’t continue this unhealthy cycle” phase in your entrepreneurial life, I’m here to help. It’s going to be stressful, but there are several ways you can alleviate the strain and cope with the extra weight on your shoulders.
1. Throw some weights or hit the pavement
I’m sure you’ve heard this plenty of times before, but I can’t stress it enough. Not only are there tons of studies to back up the importance of exercise in battling depression and anxiety, but there are also tons of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs who attribute their high levels of energy to their daily exercise rituals.
From Barack Obama to Richard Branson, the most accomplished people on this planet all have a highly disciplined, highly productive workout routine implemented in their daily schedule. These are some of the busiest people on Earth. And if they can find the time, so can you.
Here’s why exercise is so important:
- Physical exercise increases the production of serotonin in the brain, which instantly helps elevate your mood and acts as a natural antidepressant.
- A daily workout routine keeps you disciplined and helps train you to keep a rigid schedule.
- High-intensity workouts keep you competitive. Exercise supports this by eliminating physical insecurities and elevating your self-confidence. You’ll hold yourself to a higher standard than the rest of the world if you keep your exercise routine going strong.
- Exercise also teaches you the importance of working smarter not harder—especially in weight training. There are some people in the gym who you’ll see doused in sweat who never leave without feeling like they’ve just burst a lung finishing their workout. Interestingly, though, you won’t see them gain any size or make measurable progress. That’s called overtraining, and it’s a big issue with beginning weightlifters. By working smarter, and training your muscles in tiring but effective ways, you’ll avoid doing your muscles more harm than good. This mindset is easily applicable to the business world.
If you want to stay on top of your grind, make sure you’re staying on top of your workout game, too. For more guidance, I recommend checking out Craig’s Turbulence Training.
Through exercise, diet, strong relationships, and proactive healthy habits, the most influential entrepreneurs understand that they can only deliver extraordinary results when their bodies are able to provide extraordinary output.
2. Get enough Zs
I know that you’re going to be burning a life’s worth of midnight oil during the first year of your business. However, you’ve got to understand the importance of sleep. There’s a lot of debate on how much sleep is necessary to maintain proper health, but it generally runs from 7 to 9 hours.
There are plenty of reasons you shouldn’t sacrifice good sleep for a couple more hours at the job. For one, you risk severely damaging your productivity. Your mind needs the rest and healing that sleep provides in order to stay at peak performance levels.
Secondly, sleep can help combat depression and anxiety, while lack of sleep is a major cause of both.
You’ll hear plenty of stories about those who only slept for 4 hours for an entire year while they were getting their startup off the ground. Hell, I’ve even been in that position, and I’ve suffered a few 4-hour nights here and there. But, the people who say they maintained that schedule consistently are either lying in order to maintain appearances, or they really did only sleep for 4 hours every night and are now suffering severely from mental health issues.
Your body just can’t do it. You will, quite literally, go crazy. I’m all about a hustle. I’m all about smelling the midnight oil on your clothes, but you can’t ever sacrifice your health and overall productivity just to get a few more hours in at night.
Besides, if you prioritize a good night’s sleep every night, you can easily take the added rest and use the benefits they bring to get MORE done in 8 hours than the people who put in 20 hours and only sleep 4. Seriously, it’s that potent of a difference.
Get some sleep.
3. Build a solid support system
This is one of the most undervalued ways to cope with the pressures of being an entrepreneur. When I say undervalued, I don’t mean that people don’t associate value with having a strong support system; I just believe that it is either dismissed or taken for granted.
Depending on your business venture, you may be isolated a lot of the time, hustling away at your job (especially if you’re in a tech startup or working as a freelancer). But you can’t ever dismiss those who love and care for you. Whether it be your wife, your children, your brother, your best friend, or a mentor, make sure you spend the time with them that you know they want—and that you NEED.
That’s right—you need it. You can’t forget about life while you’re hustling away. It’s just as important for you, as it is for the people close to you. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, they’re there for you. Whether you need to just release some tension with a long rant, or need support in other forms, it’s vital that you don’t neglect the people that make up your support system.
Keep in mind, however, that a support system shouldn’t just be utilized when you’re teetering on the edge of sanity. Your relationships are there to prevent you from getting to that critical point in the first place.
In other words: Keep your friends and family close, and be a normal, social human. You’ll be much, much healthier because of it.
SUGGESTED READING: The Very Important Relationship Between Income and Quality of Life
4. Get some professional help (if you need it)
Your body is a machine. Sometimes it breaks down. Don’t think you can handle fixing it alone. Sometimes you need to get professional help—whether its medical or psychological. There’s nothing wrong with getting some help from the outside.
The great thing about being an entrepreneur in this century is the sheer advancements we’ve made in technology. For example, if you’re out on a business trip, courting investors, and you come down with the flu, you can get a full medical diagnosis complete with prescription remotely from your phone/laptop. This is especially advantageous for traveling businessmen and entrepreneurs who are frequently away from their primary physician. Take advantage of advancements like this in your business endeavors.
The bottom line is simple: If you get sick mentally or physically, don’t put off seeking help because of the stubborn qualities that run rampant in entrepreneurs. There are also plenty of ways you can limit the risk of being downtrodden by illness, so make sure you’re actively taking care of yourself and being proactively healthy
5. You are what you eat.
Naturally, this ties into your overall health. Your diet directly affects your energy levels and contributes to (or detracts from) your personal health. If you eat greasy food, you’ll feel greasy. If you eat fresh foods, you’ll feel fresh.
If you’re a vegan, make sure you’re getting plenty of good fats and proteins in your diet. If you’re a meat-eater, make sure you’re not eating too much red meat and are getting enough green vegetables and fiber. It’s important to get the necessary nutrients your body needs. Successful entrepreneurs understand that their bodies literally run off the fuel that you put in it.
To be blunt, don’t put diesel in your Ferrari.
There’s a common theme in the lives of billionaire entrepreneurs. They place an incredible amount of importance on their personal health and ability to deliver. Through exercise, diet, strong relationships, and proactive healthy habits, the most influential entrepreneurs understand that they can only deliver extraordinary results when their bodies are able to provide extraordinary output.
Follow their lead. You can’t change the world when you’re not running at maximum capacity.
Take care of yourself.