10 ways successful people deal with stress differently.

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Any given day as an entrepreneur is the best or the worst. It’s often both.

The day you win a big award could be the day you’re struggling to meet payroll. The day you lose a big client could be the day you get your biggest one ever.

These days can be confusing, and they happen all too often.

What separates successful entrepreneurs from unsuccessful ones is not the challenges. We all have them.

A critical trait that separates successful entrepreneurs is the ability to take setback and after setback without any loss of motivation.

Rather than being some innate thing we’re born with, this is a skill that can be developed.

I interviewed emotionally resilient, successful entrepreneurs to get their perspective…

1. Avoid Hitting Bottom By Reflecting On Death Daily

Cameron Herold, author of “Double Double,” CEO coach, and globally renowned speaker

In January of 2000, I noticed a metallic taste in my throat. Soon after, I collapsed in an elevator and had a near-nervous breakdown. That experience taught me to take stress seriously and take business less seriously. About 95% of what we think is SO SO stressful, really isn’t. We make up that story for ourselves.

So I developed habits that continuously help me keep my life in perspective:

Pondering Death. For me, the key is to remember that when I’m dead, none of this work matters. It’s what I do to make money so I can enjoy life. Dozens of studies have found that death awareness can lead to decreased aggression, better health decisions, increased altruism, and reduced divorce rates.

Taking Time Throughout The Day To Do What’s Important. Throughout the day, I remember to take stock in how healthy my immediate family is. I breathe. I go to the gym. I went for a 5 mile run this morning. I make time in the middle of the day to chat with my wife.

2. Give Yourself Compelling Reasons Not to Quit

Doug Conant, former CEO of Fortune 500 company Campbell Soup Company and founder and CEO of Conant Leadership

In the stormy seas of decision making, I refer to my personal mission statement often. It should include a clear and thoughtfully crafted intention that guides all your actions and specific bullet points that define how you will fulfill that mission.Research shows that without a good reason to keep pushing through tough times, we quit.

I have mine prominently placed near my desk so I can refer to it in moments of adversity. I share it with those closest to me so I am accountable to them as well as to myself.

After over 35 years in the corporate arena (most recently as a Fortune 500 CEO), and as a husband and father, I can’t emphasize enough the power of a personal mission statement.

The Franklin Covey Mission State Builder is a great resource for building and refining your statement.

3. Trigger A Mindset Reset With A Little Help From YouTube

Benji Rabhan, founder ofAppointmentCore

I personally like watching 5-6 short YouTube comedy videos that get me laughing out loud. I’ve found that this is enough time to take my mind off bad news and regain my positivity.

I call these my dopamine breaks. In a related and fascinating study, aStanford research team found that funny cartoons activated a cluster of areas in the brain deeply involved in the regulation of dopamine, which positively impacts motivationand mood.

4. Plan Out Your Motivation So It’s There When You Need It

Sevetri Wilson, CEO of Solid Ground Innovations

I’m single. I don’t have any kids. Both of my parents are deceased, and I’m the CEO of a company I started. So having a source of daily inspiration that affirms my journey is critical.

I create 30-90 day inspirational themes that I rely on a daily basis. I find it’s less taxing when I know where my inspiration will come from so it becomes a fixed part of my day rather than something that’s ad hoc. Different examples of themes I’ve taken on are:

Reading daily affirmations for 10 minutes before I start my day.Reading a few pages out of motivational books. I have a 50-day motivational journey book, “Strength for Every Moment” by T. D. Jake. Each day it reveals a question.Following inspirational social media. I like Beats Reloaded,@drtiffanybrown, and @joelosteen.Participating in community projects. In January, my base church went through a time where the entire congregation fasted and prayed 3 times a day for 30 straight days.

5. Smile To Boost Your Energy. It’s Easy

Jason Duff, founder and CEO ofCOMSTOR Outdoor

In the last year, there were a lot of reasons I didn’t want to smile. I lost a key mentor in my life. I’ve been dealing with health issues with family members. Still, I think the easiest and, therefore, first thing that anyone should do when life gets challenging is to smile.

It transforms both the person smiling and people who see that smile. In fact, smiles can even predict longevity.

Smiles also serve as an indicator of how things are going in company and in my life. It’s a red flag if I notice that people in my organization aren’t smiling at each other or I’m not smiling at other people.

One of the first books I read when I first became an entrepreneur is “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff,” and its principles have stuck with me. If I can’t smile, I know that I’m probably taking life and business a little too seriously.

6. Smile At The Beginning Of Meetings

Aaron Steed, CEO of Meathead Movers

Similar to Jason, I believe in the power of smiling. Smiling is the simplest, easiest and fastest way to deal with stress. So why isn’t everyone doing it all the time? Remembering or wanting to smile is unnatural if you’re feeling stressed. That’s why I do the following three actions to make sure I’m smiling:

Have Accountability For Smiling. It may sound silly, but I’ve asked my employees to hold me accountable on smiling. I’ve told them, “If you don’t see me smiling, call me out on it!” This has worked on multiple levels. It has turned into a fun little game around the office. I smile more, and my employees smile more. A research study analyzing real-life behavior of over 1,000 males and females shows that more than half of people smile back at a smile.

Smile At The Beginning Of Meetings.I smile when I start new conversations. If I’m smiling, I project a friendly presence and demeanor, which inspires the other person to reciprocate, which then loops back to me. All of a sudden, we’re in a positive feedback cycle.

by Moyan Brenn on Flickr

7. Do Multiple 1-Minute Meditations Daily

Ryan Simonetti, co-founder ofConvene

The benefit of meditation is widely known.

What’s hard for most people is consistently doing it.

What’s helped me is doing 1-minute sessions throughout the day and on commutes rather than one long session. Research by Stanford Professor, BJ Fogg, shows that when hard activities are broken into smaller ones that are easier, people are more likely to take action.

Here’s the process I go through:

Visualize myself standing alone at the summit of a tall mountain. See the clear blue sky and feel the sun beaming down on me.Focus on feeling only the bottoms of my feet grounded to the floor.Take 5 deep breaths. 3 seconds in — 3 seconds out.

A great app to use if you’re just getting started is Headspace. Headspace helps you consistently meditate through guided programs and exercises.

8. Use The WOOP Framework To Visualize

Rohit Anabheri, founder of Circa Ventures

I do 10-minute “Guided Imagery” sessions every two hours throughout the day and have been doing so for years. I visualize using the WOOP framework, which is backed by15 years of academic research:

Wish. I imagine the future state of the business’ success. I visualize the biggest benefit of that future state.Obstacle. I identify the main obstacle to achieving my wish.Plan. I think through a key action I can take right away to overcome the obstacle.

This approach recharges me and moves me toward my vision of success. I can then share that positivity across my team. I specifically like the WOOP framework because it grounds my vision in reality and immediate action. Contrary to popular opinion, positive thinking about the future, by itself (i.e. positive fantasies), leads to poor performance and success. This finding is based on 100 studies performed by NYU psychologist, Gabriele Oettingen.

On Gabriele’s site, you can listen to a 5-minute audio that walks you through the process.

9. Visualize What You’re Grateful For Now And In The Future

Brian Scudamore, founder and CEO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, You Move Me, and Wow 1 Day Painting

I visualize two things in vivid detail:

1. Now. What I’m most grateful for, such as my family doing fun things together.

2. Future. Our company’s Painted Picture, which is a brilliantly detailed snapshot of what the business will be like in three years. It includes what the company will look, feel and act like in every aspect, from revenue down to the way the company trucks will look.

Taking the time to visualize what you’re grateful for with all of your senses has a much larger impact than simply listing what you’re grateful for.In one incredible study, it was found that simply visualizing yourself doing exercise had a measurable impact on muscle strength!

10. Take Very Deep Breaths

Kay Koplovitz, founder, USA Network and Syfy

I close the door to my office, lean back and take deep breaths for several minutes. It’s very calming, and puts things in perspective.

Breathing is our body’s built-in stress reliever. It can profoundly impact our physiology, and several studies have shown that it affects the heart, brain, digestion, and the immune system.

7 barriers everyone has to overcome to achieve greatness

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It’s truly fascinating how successful people approach problems. Where others see impenetrable barriers, they see challenges to embrace and obstacles to overcome.

Their confidence in the face of hardship is driven by the ability to let go of the negativity that holds so many otherwise sensible people back.

Martin Seligman at the University of Pennsylvania has studied this phenomenon more than anyone else has, and he’s found that success in life is driven by one critical distinction — whether you believe that your failures are produced by personal deficits beyond your control or that they are mistakes you can fix with effort.

Success isn’t the only thing determined by your mindset. Seligman has found much higher rates of depression in people who attribute their failures to personal deficits. Optimists fare better; they treat failure as learning experiences and believe they can do better in the future.

This success mindset requires emotional intelligence (EQ), and it’s no wonder that, among the million-plus people that TalentSmart has tested, 90% of top performers have high EQs.

Maintaining the success mindset isn’t easy. There are seven things, in particular, that tend to shatter it. These challenges drag people down because they appear to be barriers that cannot be overcome. Not so for successful people, as these seven challenges never hold them back.

1. Age

Age really is just a number. Successful people don’t let their age define who they are and what they are capable of. Just ask Betty White or any young, thriving entrepreneur.

I remember a professor in graduate school who told our class that we were all too young and inexperienced to do consulting work. He said we had to go work for another company for several years before we could hope to succeed as independent consultants. I was the youngest person in the class, and I sat there doing work for my consulting clients while he droned on.

Without fail, people feel compelled to tell you what you should and shouldn’t do because of your age. Don’t listen to them. Successful people certainly don’t. They follow their heart and allow their passion — not the body they’re living in — to be their guide.

They follow their heart and allow their passion — not the body they’re living in — to be their guide.

2. What Other People Think

When your sense of pleasure and satisfaction are derived from comparing yourself to others, you are no longer the master of your own destiny. While it’s impossible to turn off your reactions to what others think of you, you don’t have to hold up your accomplishments to anyone else’s, and you can always take people’s opinions with a grain of salt. That way, no matter what other people are thinking or doing, your self-worth comes from within.

Successful people know that caring about what other people think is a waste of time and energy. When successful people feel good about something that they’ve done, they don’t let anyone’s opinions take that away from them.

No matter what other people think of you at any particular moment, one thing is certain — you’re never as good or bad as they say you are.

 3. Toxic People

Successful people believe in a simple notion: you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.

Just think about it — some of the most successful companies in recent history were founded by brilliant pairs. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak of Apple lived in the same neighborhood, Bill Gates and Paul Allen of Microsoft met in prep school, and Sergey Brin and Larry Page of Google met at Stanford.

Just as great people help you to reach your full potential, toxic people drag you right down with them. Whether it’s negativity, cruelty, the victim syndrome, or just plain craziness, toxic people create stress and strife that should be avoided at all costs.

If you’re unhappy with where you are in your life, just take a look around. More often than not, the people you’ve surrounded yourself with are the root of your problems.

You’ll never reach your peak until you surround yourself with the right people.

4. Fear

Fear is nothing more than a lingering emotion that’s fueled by your imagination. Danger is real. It’s the uncomfortable rush of adrenaline you get when you almost step in front of a bus. Fear is a choice. Successful people know this better than anyone does, so they flip fear on its head. They are addicted to the euphoric feeling they get from conquering their fears.

Don’t ever hold back in life just because you feel scared. I often hear people say, “What’s the worst thing that can happen to you? Will it kill you?” Yet, death isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you…

The worst thing that can happen to you is allowing yourself to die inside while you’re still alive.

5. Negativity

Life won’t always go the way you want it to, but when it comes down to it, you have the same 24 hours in the day as everyone else does. Successful people make their time count. Instead of complaining about how things could have been or should have been, they reflect on everything they have to be grateful for. Then they find the best solution available, tackle the problem, and move on.

When the negativity comes from someone else, successful people avoid it by setting limits and distancing themselves from it. Think of it this way:

If the complainer were smoking, would you sit there all afternoon inhaling the second-hand smoke?Of course not. You’d distance yourself, and you should do the same with all negative people.

A great way to stop complainers in their tracks is to ask them how they intend to fix the problem they’re complaining about. They will either quiet down or redirect the conversation in a productive direction.

6. The Past or the Future

Like fear, the past and the future are products of your mind. No amount of guilt can change the past, and no amount of anxiety can change the future. Successful people know this, and they focus on living in the present moment. It’s impossible to reach your full potential if you’re constantly somewhere else, unable to fully embrace the reality (good or bad) of this very moment.

To live in the moment, you must do two things:

1) Accept your past. If you don’t make peace with your past, it will never leave you and it will create your future. Successful people know the only good time to look at the past is to see how far you’ve come.

2) Accept the uncertainty of the future, and don’t place unnecessary expectations upon yourself. Worry has no place in the here and now. As Mark Twain once said,

Worrying is like paying a debt you don’t owe.

7. The State of the World 

Keep your eyes on the news for any length of time and you’ll see it’s just one endless cycle of war, violent attacks, fragile economies, failing companies, and environmental disasters. It’s easy to think the world is headed downhill fast.

And who knows? Maybe it is. But successful people don’t worry about that because they don’t get caught up in things they can’t control. Instead, they focus their energy on directing the two things that are completely within their power — their attention and their effort. They focus their attention on all the things they’re grateful for, and they look for the good that’s happening in the world. They focus their effort on doing what they can every single day to improve their own lives and the world around them, because these small steps are all it takes to make the world a better place.

They focus their effort on doing what they can every single day to improve their own lives and the world around them…

Bringing It All Together

Your success is driven by your mindset. With discipline and focus, you can ensure that these seven obstacles never hold you back from reaching your full potential.

What other challenges do successful people overcome? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.