What I learned when building a company worth a billion dollars

Perception can make all the difference, as with many other things in life.

4 min read

The opinions expressed by employees are personal.

What I learned when building a company worth a billion dollars
What I learned when building a company worth a billion dollars

Stress The enemy of health , happiness and productivity . At least, that's what journalists, counselors and even doctors usually tell us. And it is difficult to argue with the evidence; If we go through the numbers, there are more and more consequences associated with stress such as heart problems, mental problems and one.

But the way we perceive, interact and shape the things that stress us can make a big difference. In other words: stress is both an entrance and an exit. It is an answer. It is the reason why a slightly stressed person cannot deal with the simplest challenge while many managers and politicians can function perfectly with the massive responsibility they have on their shoulders.

For me, accepting that stress can be really useful was as difficult as a valuable lesson, and one that continues to cook over time. I used to have the tendency to allow stress to take a toll on me through the several consecutive businesses I undertook.

Hire, run, get money and delegate, all are important and stressful aspects of running a business. But they are also totally necessary. And among us, trying to finance my second company with my credit cards made my stress levels reach the “danger” zone.

Then came my fifth business venture, KnowBe4, in which I am currently the director, and something clicked. And this had to happen, it was something of life or death while we became one of the newest unicorn companies in the computer security industry. If I had not deciphered how to deal with the 360 ​​degrees of stress of the hyper-growth we live in, we would not have succeeded. And in retrospect, I now realize that I owe that success to a change in my mentality.

Research shows that people who have and consequences of stress are better able to channel it to achieve their goals. In, the researchers told a group of young adults about the physical and mental effects of stress, and then put them to take an exam. A second group received the same test, but instead of receiving a talk about stress, they were told that they had to focus on the test regardless of what they felt. The group that was instructed to accept and channel stress performed better than the other group.

So, do we just need to be aware to overcome stressful situations? I think this is half the way. The other half is how we react to that awareness. Does stress put us on the defensive or on the offensive? Are we worried about what might happen or make us positively expect what will happen?

Whether in school, in business, in relationships or in any other context, the things that stress us are not going anywhere. But if we give in to the idea of ​​being stressed, then it creates a mental self-portrait in which we are being attacked, that is, vulnerable. If instead we choose to see stressors as individual challenges, problems to be solved, then we navigate our life experiences in a more pleasant way.

As founder and CEO, there have been many times when I felt physically or mentally overwhelmed, but thanks to this new approach I managed to overcome more obstacles than I had imagined possible. I think the same can work for almost anyone who wants it.

The proverbial glass is always half full and half empty, it depends on which half we want to focus on.

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