April is Stress Awareness Month, and to provide some guidance on how entrepreneurs can manage their own levels of stress, four franchise leaders share some hands-on advice on how to persevere through setbacks.
“The pandemic has impacted most of us in similar ways. Quarantined to your ‘pod’, cooking from home, Zoom meetings, finding new pets, endless streaming of movies, work dress from the waist up.
“Of course, some have had it worse than others, which then manifests in different levels of stress impacting our daily lives. I have always lived by the basic mantra passed down from my grandfather that ‘in time, this too shall pass’.
“Personally, I found a new office mate in an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy who lightens up every Zoom meeting with a bark, several squeaks of a toy, or some other naughty antic. She brings smiles to everyone, particularly when I have to interrupt international calls for potty breaks!
“I started experimenting with different local coffee roasts and worked on my garden while trying to maintain some sort of workout regimen. I even bought a surfboard after 30 years in California! For work-related conference calls, I often allow the folks an opportunity to share their day, their week, their life. Some words of loneliness here and there, but mostly folks wanting to stay connected.
“We tried a few Zoom calls with my elderly parents and my sister’s young family. We ended up spending most of the time with the grandkids laughing at the senior generation’s complete ineptitude on all things technical. They never could get the camera to work!
“Take a deep breath, learn a new recipe, try a different coffee, and get a dog. It is the simple things in life worth remembering because in time, this too shall pass.”
“The onset of the pandemic was certainly a stressful experience for the CareBuilders at Home organization, but we realized early on that it wasn’t our stress that mattered most. Our clients – mostly at-risk senior citizens – were fearful of the pandemic’s effects.
“We needed to ease their stress first and foremost. CareBuilders at Home was very sensitive to the fear and anxiety our clients were feeling and we quickly realized that we needed to redeploy staff and put caregivers into our clients’ homes. Our clients didn’t want people who were in frequent contact with others coming in and out of their homes, and rightfully so. We implemented robust testing regimens for our caregivers, easing the minds of our franchisees, caregivers, and most importantly, those we care for.
“We assembled a task force of senior management that met every single morning where we identified problems that could arise and addressed them quickly. Once we could ease the stress of our clients, the stress on ourselves would ease as well.
“We were so successful that the task force began to meet less frequently as issues became fewer and fewer. We had gotten out in front of any potential issues before they actually became issues.
“Managing stress is about being proactive. You manage what you can quickly and decisively, which will hopefully prevent more stressful events from occurring down the road.”
“Anyone who works in business or is a business owner will tell you that it is physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding. And while you have to work hard, you also have to learn how to balance that immense responsibility while tending to your mental health.
“At Childrens Lighthouse, we encourage our franchise owners and the staff at our Franchise Support Center to focus on the things they can control. Take our approach to the COVID-19 pandemic, for instance. While we could not control the virus itself, we could control the safety in our schools; the experience our students and parents received; and the expenses at each of our locations to try and stay as profitable as possible.
“Worrying is a continuous cycle, and the more stress you have, the less productive you will become. So, by focusing on what you can do as opposed to what you can’t, you help to refocus your energy and can overcome challenges that arise.
“When it comes to my personal stress management, I try to start each day off right. When I get to our office, I take the time to talk to a few people in the morning – I value and believe in the importance of social interaction, and those conversations help to put me in the right frame of mind.
“Additionally, I make sure to spend a few minutes every day playing with my children. Spending time with them always puts a smile on my face, reminds me of my priorities and helps me to de-stress.”
“When times are stressful, I try to focus on the positives rather than the challenges that may not be within our control. For example, it’s been great to see the tremendous efforts the 1-800 WATER DAMAGE team and network have made throughout the pandemic to really band together to safely serve our customers, rather than focusing on what we couldn’t do.
“I’ve found that having regular check-ins and keeping open lines of communication help our employees and our franchise owners talk through what is causing them stress and provide the opportunity for us to listen, understand, offer advice and maybe open their eyes to the positives and opportunities they may have missed. The truth is that it’s okay to be empathetic and acknowledge that times are hard.
“Another way we manage our own stress is by serving our customers. When you help guide a home or business owner through one of the darkest moments of their life and get back on their feet, that feeling of gratification is powerful and uplifting. It keeps us grounded and reminds us why we all got into the restoration business: to help people.
“Lastly, I make sure to find time for the important things like spending time with my family, taking a walk, reading a book, or watching sports.”