If we were to measure pressure levels in the field of business, I would bet my two cents that it is higher in Entrepreneurship than anywhere else.
The life of a budding Entrepreneur is profoundly more complex than an individual employed by a large corporation. Realising an idea means setting up a business from the ground up; hiring staff, finding work space, acquiring financial backing, and so on. Once these initial stages are complete, a start-up usually encounters a long period of trial and error – problem-solving and overcoming a variety of complex and seemingly unnecessary obstacles – before any capital has even been made, with all this at the risk of personal investment.
While Entrepreneurs have high aspirations for their business in its initial stages. The truth is, that 3 out of 4 venture-backed startups fail.
For the most part, this is down to the idea. There was either no market, or the market already existed.
However, an important factor in the start-up process is pressure; namely how one deals with it. There is an important distinction to make here between external and self-induced pressure.
External pressure is rooted in the competitive nature of business, the need for progression in a fast advancing world, where meeting consumer needs and strict deadlines requires a well structured business plan and a set of realistic goals. Self-induced pressure is that which the individual places on himself in order to achieve these goals. In the field of Entrepreneurship, these two are essentially intertwined – pressure for the business to succeed and pressure within the individual to be an effective member of the business.
For some, pressure is their creative fuel. It keeps them motivated and at times, gives them that extra juice to perform outside the expectations they had of themselves, unlocking new areas of potential and possibility. For others, me included, there is a more relaxed approach. By ‘relaxed’ I do not mean a laid back attitude, twiddling thumbs while waiting for someone else to call the shots. I mean approaching tasks from a point of calmness, focusing 100% on work ethic.
I would argue that the way to handle pressure is to completely separate yourself from it.
The most important aspect of goal striving is hard work and consistency; you must be extremely self-disciplined and focused. To put pressure on yourself in the present means to fall short of your present capability. Energy is being used to deal with feelings of constant anxiety, rather than being channeled towards the task at hand. The outcome of your work is foretold to the extent to which you work hard in the present, thus any added pressure only stands to restrict you.
If you are to take a positively aggressive approach to your work, under no pressure of your own, you are not concerned with the outcome and are fully focused on the task at hand. This keeps you from feeling overwhelmed by the 1000 other things that need to be done.
Having said this, we all experience times where the workload seems unmanageable. When this happens, pressure seems to creep in naturally, leading to feelings of stress when we perceive that the demands of our work surpass our ability to cope.
Yet, the same rules applies here: No pressure. 100% work ethic.
In these cases, it is key to prioritise, focusing on one task at hand, moving to the next only when the current one has been completed. Breaking down the task makes it far more digestible.
Try ridding yourself of pressure in all areas of your life. As long as you are working hard, then why add extra stress? Goal-strive with a positive attitude, bearing in mind that failure is inevitable, and in this way, pressure has no power over you.
“I’m a 24-hour tweet machine, I’m a 24-hour blogger. When there’s no pressure on me, I can talk and write and lecture with the best of them. But put a deadline on me and I start getting writer’s block” – Questlove