How to Deal With Stress in Startups

When you take hiring and sales reps stress and add a dose of startup dynamic what you end up with is a really complicated mess! Startups are one of the most exciting yet stressful places to work. Vivek Wadhwa wrote a great piece about this – his two main points were

  • Entrepreneurs are not just born, they are made 
  • How stressful a startup can be, even when you love it 

Startups are a complicated topic. Mark Suster wrote a great post on this exact topic. I’d add to Mark’s comments by saying that the key with handling stress at a startup is to be open and transparent. Startups are by nature a train wreck – lots of things coming at you at once, with no reasonable capability to adequately handle each one. So things will get messy and sloppy. If you try to present a smooth “front” where everything is great, that will sap all your energy and ultimately your motivation.

I have found honesty is the best policy. Not only that, but people need to “say what they’re going to do, and then do what they say”. Brad’s post applies mostly to VC/Entrepreneur relationships, which is one small part of a startup, but his rules apply to any interaction within a startup.  People will respect and trust you for this, and it will allow you to focus your energy on the high need stressors, and save you a ton of effort masking stressors that don’t need to be there in the first place.

Personally, the best thing I ever did to manage stress was to start exercising. It has become an inseparable part of my life, and provides me with balance and a side portion of good health!

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