The life of a woman entrepreneur revolves around three major elements: Personal Space, Work, and Home. If one of them goes haphazard, stress and negativity creeps onto her and pulls her into an abyss where she begins to lose her wings. It may sound quite a bit poetic, but it is the best (and the only) way to put it.
Imagine a woman entrepreneur making a lot of money, but losing control of the other two elements. The moment she realizes it, she would end up making bad decisions, thinking irrationally, going emotionally bizarre, and filling her head with chaotic thoughts. A woman needs clarity and touch with all three elements to feel safe and sound. For her, health children, spouses, and parents matter the investor’s feedback on her latest strategy. The strength that she embodies in herself is unmatchable. However, there are times when stress takes over her wisdom and patience, and when are those times? Here are the top 5 stressors for women entrepreneurs, and how can one get over them?
1. Disproportionate Share of Work
The society considers women as the primary caregiver to the family. Irrespective of the success at the workplace, the women are expected to look after the kids, the elderly, and the household. As a result, the women find themselves juggling between responsibilities, and eventually failing to fulfill many commitments, made and imposed onto them. The failure to conform to the expectations invites stress in the life of a woman. On the contrary, men are merely expected to fulfill their work-related commitments. Even in the pandemic times, when the women anticipated their counterparts to share the household duties with them, not many women have had the opportunity to have their aspirations fulfilled.
One of the solutions that have worked for many people is to hire help in the form of cleaner, driver, babysitter, or daycare service. Doing so helps the working women in finding time for jobs that need immediate attention. Also, it is imperative to get your partner to share some of the house responsibilities and an offloading bit of the workload pressure. Women should relieve themselves from feeling completely responsible as primary caregivers, as men are equally responsible and need to shoulder it.
2. Limited Financing Opportunities
As per data collected by PitchBook, women business owners receive as much as 36 times less investment than their male-owned counterparts. It results in inequality in the investment scenario, and the women are forced to bootstrap their start-ups or build on meager investments that they receive. The limited opportunities eventually invite unwanted financial stress. The women who are already juggling between work at home and work, go through a series of financial setbacks and unstoppable cash outflow. Another factor that contributes to financial stress is that of low financial literacy among women. Studies have shown that a large part of the women workforce is unable to manage their finances.
Women can improve their situation by improving their understanding of their finances. It would help the female bosses cut down the costs, invest in the right products, and come up with a sustainable business plan. The next thing to do is to focus on improving the sales pitch to the investors. Practicing the sales pitch would help the women founders in winning some amount of investment. Nevertheless, the VC firms and investors’ mindset is slowly changing, and hence, right now is a great time to start mastering the sales pitch delivery.
3. The Never-Ending Race to Perfection
As observed by Dr. Alice Domar, a Boston psychologist, women cannot afford to be not perfect.
Even if 11 out of 12 things are going well, they zero in on the one that isn’t, and they get miserable about it.Dr Alice Domar, A Boston Psychologist
As per another study, being a multi-tasker, women worry about more things than men. And end up feeling miserable about themselves if they aren’t able to handle everything. On average, men fear about three tasks per day, while this figure for women stands at 12 tasks a day. While some women can suffer from OCD, and that explains the obsession for perfection, but most women want things to be perfect because that makes them less anxious. As per her, this is a ‘bad thing’ and requires attention.
Women need to understand that while some tasks require their 100% attention and obsession for perfection, not everything does. Some things can be left unbalanced at the end of the day and can be catered later. For example, a surgeon has to be perfect at the surgery, but she does not have to be excellent at cooking meat or makeup. Dr. Domar says practicing breathing exercises can reduce anxiety. Meditation is another activity that can help women overcome their obsession with perfection in every field.
4. Having Less Time for Oneself
Since women are expected to play multiple roles, they often ignore one element that is important for personal space. The condition can deteriorate even more if the women are supporting a sick child or an elderly at home. There have been cases where caregivers have admitted that the patient’s constant worry, the medicine schedule, and uncertainty of the future have made them endlessly anxious. The carers have also admitted to being stressed and demotivated due to a lack of time for themselves. However, caring for ailing elder members of the family is not the only thing that forces women to cut the ‘me’ time from their schedule. But, also helping the children with their homework, late-night meetings, cooking, and cleaning to minimize the time women have for themselves and add to their stressors.
The best way to surmount with such a situation is to prioritize time for oneself by cutting down on the tasks that can wait. Meditation and physical exercise like cycling and yoga early in the morning can also provide the needed self-care and time to focus on one’s energy before helping the world for the rest of the day. Also, getting external help for house chores and manage kids and elderly needs for a while, when she is busy at work, can reduce the stress levels.
5. Trying to be Someone Else
In an attempt to please people at work and in society, many women wear a personality that is not their true nature. Being someone or something that is not the true nature of a person is a stressor that many people miss to attend. When a woman tries to be someone that she isn’t, she ends up spending a lot of energy dealing with a lot of anxiety. The anxiety majorly arises from having to live a made-up character, hiding the wishes, and not speaking on the things that genuinely concern her.
Being true to oneself is the only solution here. A woman already has a hundred different hats to wear, adding a couple of other hats merely to please a bunch of people is not something that she should be doing. De-stressing starts at home when people decide to be what they are. However, in the process, ensure that the feelings and happiness of the family members and friends are not killed. Although this can be tricky, this is what a working woman needs.
Where to Begin?
De-stressing should always be a priority of a working woman. The best way to de-stress is first to find out the reason for the stress and then either eliminate it or minimize it depending upon its nature. A lot of things that result in stress are under the direct control of the sufferer. However, there can be totally uncontrollable situations. Handling such cases can be challenging. Nevertheless, calmness and patience in character is a virtue that can help working women in finding the balance between work, home, and self.