3 Tips for an Easier Ride on the Entrepreneurial Rollercoaster

A person sitting peacefully with their eyes closed in a home office
Photo by Jacob Lund

Entrepreneurship is an incredible ride aptly likened to a rollercoaster. It’s exciting with many unexpected twists and turns. Some are exhilarating and have you running off enthusiasm and confidence. Others reveal challenges that can cause your stomach to drop, your confidence to plummet, and your mind to run off the rails. The entrepreneurial ride is a mixture of both.

Being able to successfully navigate the mental/emotional rollercoaster that comes with the entrepreneurial journey is the difference between burnout and truly succeeding with your health, joy, and relationships intact. Having experienced the former and continuously learning and teaching the latter, I can unequivocally say it helps to understand the ride and have tools at the ready!

Understanding the Voice Controlling Your Ride

As entrepreneurs, we’re so busy trying to anticipate, manage, and lead everything outside of ourselves, it’s easy not to realize it’s the internal voice controlling the joystick. If you’d like to enjoy the ride more, consider making a habit of applying the three simple tools below to have more control over it. Perhaps you’ve noticed that voice in your head – the worrier, the critic, the voice of doom. Have you observed that it’s particularly loud at the most inopportune times, like when you’re on a deadline, when making an important decision or at 3 a.m. when you need to get good sleep before an important morning meeting?

Believe it or not, the mind is trying to find a solution for you. The problem is it automatically draws from its available materials, the data stored from previous experiences. The greatest influencing factor that colors which experience it draws from is which side of your nervous system is currently engaged.

If you are operating from your parasympathetic or “restoration and health” side, the thoughts and feelings are positive, the mind is calm, and the opportunity for creative solutions to surface is much greater. It’s easy to recognize when you’re here – your overall view is positive even when challenged. You can focus when you need to and are engaged and open to others. You’re feeling good, getting good rest, and likely keeping your health in the mix of your priorities.

If your nervous system is operating from the sympathetic or “fight/flight” or freeze side, it is operating from the perspective of threat. The feelings can range from anxiety to overwhelm, and the thoughts are often “worst case scenario.” Perhaps you’ve noticed that it starts with one negative thought and the next thing you know, it’s  running an exhausting monologue of “everything is horrible.” When this state is chronic, you may find it more difficult to make confident decisions, focus, or get along with people. You may neglect basic self-care and live off caffeine and comfort food. This is the home of unproductive critical mind chatter.


A person wearing glasses, sitting at a desk with their laptop in front of them rubbing their eyes to relieve stress
Photo Getty Images

3 Simple Tricks to Help Enjoy the Rollercoaster

The good news is, you can start to take control of your mental joystick and quiet the mind chatter by doing three simple things. Keep in mind that simple can be profound and the negative mind’s first response is to judge something new rather than to try it. Do not let “the voice” talk you out of doing them!

  1. Observe. Notice that you’ve got mind chatter going on. Observe the thoughts as if someone sitting across from you was saying those things. Observe the “sky is falling” tone. If someone outside of you was telling you those things, would you automatically accept them as true? Note that YOU are NOT your thoughts, You are HAVING thoughts. You can choose to let them play on or change them. Pick a replacement thought that feels better to mentally repeat instead. Example: “I’ll bet there is a good solution to this.”
  2. Be Present. Feel your surroundings, your chair, your bed, your hands on the steering wheel. Notice whether your thoughts are actually related to the present moment or are fear-based projections for something future. Separate yourself from the chatter by saying: “Right now, I’m just here __________ (sitting, driving, laying in my bed) and I am safe.”
  3. Breathe Consciously. Altering the breath alters the nervous system. Take your attention to your breath. Take a deep breath from your diaphragm (known as belly breathing). Inhale through your nose for the count of 5 then exhale for a count of 7. Repeat for a total of six 5 in/7 out breaths. Notice the difference in how you feel and the lower level of chatter.

The more you practice these techniques, the more you train your body/mind that you are in charge and steer your body back to the health and restoration side of your nervous system.


Kathleen Gramzay, LMT is the Founder of Kinessage LLC. She is a Body/Mind Resilience & Self-Care Expert, Speaker, Educator, and Developer of Kinessage® Mindful Resilience, and the Kinessage® Release Your Pain Virtual Self Care System.

Kinessage LLC supports performance, mission-driven, and wellness-conscious organizations, empowering leaders and managers to lead more productively, confidently, and collaboratively. 


Kathleen Gramzay

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