How does stress affect you?
Content provided by a guest contributor.
As a SME owner you need to know yourself well. Why? Well, to a large extent the success of your enterprise will depend on you, and how you view and manage your world. You therefore need to take a critical and honest look at who you are and what has made you the person you are today.
We all differ with regard to what factors cause stress in our lives. Here in brief are some of the key factors that impact on our ability to manage stress in our lives:
- Ability to cope: this factor is influenced by amongst others, our age, our type of personality, the life experiences we've had, our health, etc. Some people can bounce back from challenging situations where others may fall to pieces and see themselves as victims
- Personality type: you may be someone who is driven, ambitious, aggressive or competitive. This is typically known as the A type personality. On the other hand you may be laid back, easy going, not easily flustered and patient, a B type personality. By their nature A type personalities often perceive situations to be more stressful than a B type would and thereby create additional stress for themselves. Are you an A or a B type?
- Location of business: it has been found that people who run businesses in the cities are often more at risk, from a stress point of view, than those out in smaller towns or rural areas. What is your business environment like?
- Nature of your business: the type of work you do can be stressful; it could be physically demanding or the very long hours. The level of responsibility you carry can also be an additional stressor, and as a small business owner, there is probably alot resting on your shoulders. Do you have an easy client base or do you have sophisticated clients who can be demanding and challenging?
- Life events: have you been exposed to any situations that have had a life changing impact on you, such as the death of a spouse or child, serious accident, a life threatening illness, loss of a job? How did this affect your life afterwards? It's important to look at whether you became stronger through the experience or resorted to coping styles that may have a negative impact on your life in the long term.
- Phase of life: what are the driving factors in your life at this stage? Are you starting out with few other responsibilities or are you quite a bit older with a family you need to take care of? Do you have experience to fall back on or have you started from scratch?
- Support network: do you have a network of friends and family who can support you emotionally? Do you have a group of “advisors” who give you input on business aspects? It's important to find people you trust and who have your interests at heart, to talk to about all kinds of issues. Running your own business can be a pretty lonely job and it's invaluable to share experiences with the right people or to use others as a sounding board.
- Sense of control: do you see yourself as someone who has control over their circumstances or do you feel you're only being on the receiving end of what others do to you? People in the first category tend to be less affected by stress. Which do you fall into
These are just a few factors that impact on your ability to handle stress. Take a few minutes and highlight the two to three areas that you may need to focus on a bit more in the future. Choose one area and implement a change that will reduce your stress levels.
Article contributed by: Linda Germishuizen, Executive Career and Life Coach