Meeting investors, cracking buyer deals, bootstrapping-basically being nimble-footed, all of this can get to you as an entrepreneur. It can be stressful chasing the vision you have created for your startup, especially when it has not been your day. This startup is your brainchild and you would stop at nothing to see it grow big and potentially contribute to the world in some significant way, change it, bend it or find ways to preserve it for the future generations. Global humanitarian and peacemaker, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who started with a free school for a dozen children in a village in Bangalore in India, and went on to found one of the largest volunteer based organizations of the world (370 million and counting!)- The Art of Living and its sister concern-The International Association for Human Values, shares 5 phenomenally powerful tools to thrive as an entrepreneur against the onslaught of uncertainties and challenges without succumbing to stress.
According to Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, “The challenges that you face as an entrepreneur are not limited to just your work-related field, they are diverse – interpersonal, infrastructural, administrative and even emotional.” To be able to deal with all these, one needs to be multi-faceted, Gurudev says, “All these aspects in you grow when you are established in yourself and are free from stress.
Gurudev shares that some level of stress at the workplace is normal and acceptable, perhaps even essential. “It can keep you on your toes, help you face challenges, and you’re able to meet your deadlines. However, just like too much of salt can spoil the food, stress beyond normal levels can leave you feeling frustrated and powerless,” he says.
What is stress?
Gurudev defines stress as when you have too much to do, very little time and not enough energy or Prana to do it. “Now to deal with it, either reduce your workload – that’s impossible in a startup! Or increase your time – but a day has only 24 hours. The only option we’re left with is to increase our energy levels. “
1) Increase your Prana
There are 4 ways Gurudev shares, to increase the Prana:
“a) Proper food will help you. Not too much, not too little. Also, pay attention to keeping a balanced diet, freshly prepared food that is easily digestible.
b) The right amount of sleep. You need 6-8 hours of sleep. Not more, not less.
c) Breathing is a lesser known but very critical source of energy! Regular practice of breathing exercises like Pranayam are effective energy boosters. Breathing exercises help in improving perception, observation and expression, all vital for good management.
d) A few moments of meditative awareness. Meditation is conscious, deep relaxation. Just a few minutes of meditation regularly can relieve all types of stress. About 15-20 minutes of meditation, morning and evening, is good enough. Meditation also helps us get in touch with our inner space – the source of joy, peace, and love.”
2) Eat and Meditate together
“When teams have meals together or sit together and meditate, they find it so refreshing that they’re able to carry on for the rest of the day with the same energy with which they came into the office,” notes Gurudev, “It also brings people closer and creates a healthier work environment.”
3) Celebrate Diversity
“Learn to accept diversity, and honor it” says the founder of The International Association For Human Values, “Everybody has their own strengths. Instead of having defined job descriptions and assigning people to them, see how their strengths and interests can be maneuvered to the roles you have in mind.”
4) Accept the opposites
Gurudev shares, “Accept the pleasant and unpleasant moments of life. You need to accept that you will experience both of these in your life. This will help you maintain the equanimity of your mind. “
5) Perfect Imperfections
Lastly, make room for imperfection, Gurudev suggests. “Accept a little bit of others’ as well as your own imperfections. It allows you to be more patient. It’s like the space in your house where you keep your dustbin. You need it there to keep the rest of your house clean.”
The sign of success, according to Gurudev, is overwhelming joy, confidence, compassion, generosity, and a smile that none can snatch away. Whatever happens in life, if you can keep these, then you have really found success.
About Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
He is a renowned global humanitarian and spiritual leader who founded The Art of Living, the largest volunteer based organization in 1981, which is engaged in providing stress and trauma relief along with social and community empowerment through its diverse humanitarian projects. He is also the founder of International Association for Human Values.