Exercise, family time, meditation and even doodling helps these overachievers clear their heads and calm their nerves. Published by Forbes, this item is notable in that there are no female CEO’s contributing.
If you’re a female CEO with special routines to reduce stress and ameliorate the tensions of work, we’d love to hear from you. Email your wisdom to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can prepare a response piece all about how women CEO’s manage their life stresses. Should be interesting.
Jeff O’Shea, CEO of IntelliTouch Communications : Trying to grow and manage a company with declining resources and increasing demands can make for a pretty spicy bouillabaisse. I try to tackle the stress demons by maintaining my focus and keeping a clear head. At least four or five days a week I start my day out with a bike ride. It clears out the cobwebs and allows me the relaxing solitude to focus on finding solutions to the challenging issues that face our company. Beyond that, I find that good music and lots of laughter can act like Teflon and keep the stress from sticking around.
Luis Derechin, CEO of JackBe: Business situations that add stress to my life are mostly circumstances that are out of my control and that I or my team can’t do anything to remedy. As an early-stage CEO, I try to be adaptable and to think that almost anything can be remedied. However, macroeconomic situations and giant shifts in purchasing patterns require far more innovative thought, so they create more stress. I relieve stress by exercising. I go for long runs in the morning, to meditate and to try to work out the issues. Last year I got fit enough to be able to run a couple of marathons.
Chris Twyman, CEO of Zapoint: Planning in a fluid market is extremely difficult. At Zapoint we always have a plan B. For the last two quarters, we have had to have plans C and D too. We have to have that level of anticipation so we can react quickly, but it puts extreme pressure and stress on our team. Monthly reporting has become weekly, and weekly meetings now happen every other day. This enables us to manage resources in the most efficient way, but it does add gray hairs. Working out can offer temporary stress relief, but I usually find that quality time with my family works best.
Robert (Robin) Loudermilk Jr., CEO of Aaron’s, Inc.: To be honest, I don’t have much stress. My father started this business. There are stresses to working in a family business–not necessarily conflict, but it’s hard. Dad is still active in the company at 82, and I’ve worked here for 25 years now. I’ve been CEO for six months. To get away, anytime I’m not working I’m outside somewhere. I have three kids. We go fishing or hunting, or I watch them play soccer. Family comes first. I encourage my managers to do the same.
John Benson, CEO of eFinancialCareers.com: Remaining disciplined by managing both time and productivity well is the backbone to good stress management. Time management allows me the opportunity to exercise regularly and to switch off the office so I can get color and perspective in my life. That means putting the BlackBerry literally out of reach, spending time with my family, enjoying the outdoors and trying something new. An afternoon of sailing with my family is wonderfully restorative. Adding texture to life isn’t indulgence. It’s necessary if you’re to be creative, centered and fully productive.
J.P. Miller, CEO of Louis Allen Worldwide: As the CEO of a management consulting firm, I have to deal with my own stress, my employees’ stress and my clients’ stress. Opening my heart to my business partner or a close friend and telling them what is wonderful about them helps. It gives me reassurance and perspective, and puts me in a positive frame of mind. Then I think about the worst that can happen. Doing that motivates me to take action. Taking action reduces stress and allows clearer thinking, which opens my heart even more. Keep such a cycle going and it will get you through these tough times.
Robert J. Freedman, CEO of ORC Worldwide: I find that stress arises when I have overlapping time priorities. Also, when my involvement is required for insight, fresh thinking and clarity, and when I have to make myself wholly available for the problems and audience at hand. I’ve stumbled onto a new two-minute creative ritual. With my morning coffee, I draw a whimsical, musing sketch on the paper napkin. That meditative moment helps clear my head for the day to come. Humor and fun give a sense of renewal and calm, and they humanize relationships. After all, work is best savored as a game.
Ryan Wuerch, CEO of Motricity: As a CEO, I find stress to be inevitable whether the economy is up or down. Ideally the best way to manage stress in a down economy is to avoid it altogether by executing on your business objectives and maintaining your company’s success. Personally, I combat stress in many ways, including running 60 miles a week training for a marathon and spending time with my family. But let’s face it, to take the edge off of the day there’s nothing like sitting down with friends for a good bowl of chips, salsa, queso and guacamole.