Entrepreneurs are responsible for forging their paths forward in business, but that can lead to burnout, fast.
The best way for entrepreneurs to fight against burnout is by developing emotional intelligence. Here are a few ways this commonly misunderstood soft skill will help protect your mental health and transform your day-to-day. Developing emotional intelligence will help you do the following.
Increase your awareness
The key to improving your emotional intelligence is to first improve your awareness. This might sound simple, but you’d be surprised at how many people aren’t intuned with their own emotions and experiences.
Self-awareness and social awareness are two of the five factors of emotional intelligence that we measure at TTI Success Insights. These factors are your keys to increasing your awareness in a meaningful way.
Start by simply identifying your emotions as they occur. If you notice a strong emotion, like joy, anger, or disgust, take note of what caused it. Start to look for patterns in your emotions and take the steps you need to identify the root cause. The simple act of increasing your awareness will do wonders for your other development.
Learn your body cues
While your state of mind is important, the state of your body might affect you more than you realize.
Assigning emotional meaning to physical body cues is a common mistake. For example, if you have a dip in mood around 3 pm, you might wonder if the lack of energy is because you’re bad at your business and not cut out for the startup life. That anxiety will spiral, and your brain then creates a neural pathway holding that thought, which will be easier for you to repeat in the future.
The truth is, your body might just be telling you that you are hungry, or that you didn’t get enough sleep. That drop in blood sugar or exhaustion doesn’t need to mean anything beyond “get a snack” or “turn in early for the night”. It’s your job to increase awareness and really tune in to what your body is telling you.
Schedule in breaks
Entrepreneurs are pros at powering through the day and working around the clock, but your bodies and minds need rest. Schedule time in your day away from your screen, to stretch, walk, and breathe –– away from your computer.
When working for yourself, holding yourself to a schedule is key. If you’re working remotely and solo, you don’t have watercooler chats or colleagues leaving for lunch to cue you to step away. When you increase your emotional intelligence, you can better track your emotions and moods, and find the patterns that indicate when you need to stop working.
Remember, running a business is a marathon, not a sprint. Overwork is a real risk, and by taking breaks, you are investing in your long term well being and work habits.
Lean on your network
You can’t do it all on your own. This is a hard truth to accept for many entrepreneurs. However, it’s nothing to be ashamed of! By reaching out and asking for help when you need it, you’ll create a foundation of support to combat exhaustion and shame.
Reports attest to the dark side of entrepreneurship, given that entrepreneurs are twice as likely to suffer from depression as non-entrepreneurs. By breaking the silence on your stress and connecting with others, you will help decrease your chances of becoming isolated. When you increase your emotional intelligence, your awareness of your needs and the needs of others increases. So not only will you be able to ask for help, but you will also be able to extend it.
Beat burnout and thrive
The odds might be stacked against you, but you’re an entrepreneur. You’ve already proven that you’re able to roll up your sleeves and do hard work. Invest some of that grit into yourself and your own emotional development, and you’ll be ready for the future and more successful in the present.
Rick Bowers is the President of TTI Success Insights, an industry-leading assessment provider based in Scottsdale, AZ that is dedicated to revealing human potential through assessment solutions and research. TTI SI has administered over 30 million assessments worldwide and holds a direct presence in 58 countries around the world.
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