If you are the founder of a young company, you deal with uncertainty every day. And when one thing seems to stabilize, new waves of uncertainty hit you. Will my service sell? It’s selling but can I maintain growth? Where do I find backing to fund growth? Will we survive?

Even with successful starts, for most companies it takes many years to go from always-wobbly to semi-stable. It is seldom spoken about in the entrepreneur world, but the uncertainty and anxiety if not controlled, leads to loneliness, depression, and chronic health issues. But, on the bright side, if as startups we know how to manage founder uncertainty, we can emerge on the other side stronger warriors.

Here are different things that help me, from the easier things to the tougher ‘thinking- habit’ changes:

1)     Ride the hour through

It never helps to overanalyze situations and forecast outcomes. If sales are below forecast, bills pile up, or competition hit market before you, worrying about the situation does not change the scenario. It helps to take a breath, go back to the to-do list, and keep busy for a while on items that are unrelated to the problem areas. Take it an hour at a time, a day at a time. Ride the day, stay the course and things sort themselves out.

2)     Take action

It took me forced and conscious practice to go from freezing from fear to taking action in uncertainty. Step 1 is to calm down. Once calm, I’ve found it easier to think about creative and practical steps to overcome the challenge. Can short term loan companies help with quick cash? Yes, let’s try and call them. Can I make an edit to the product and make it even better than competition? Jesus, yes and let’s work over the weekend to make an even better launch version. Can I call our suppliers and offer them 5% more on the invoice if they waited a month? They love the idea!

3)     Get a cat

I’d add a dog, but they need more work and you don’t have the time. Get a cat because they are affectionate, they’re comic, playful and such great stress busters when you get back home. Plus, animals have no expectations off us. If you screw up or your company fails (that’s the worst-case scenario with all uncertain situations, right?), your cat doesn’t care.

4)     Be cheap

Yes, stop spending on others, on yourself, stop spending period. Living on bananas makes you feel more in control with the vagaries of running a business. Also, when you get rid of the clutter, it can be the most liberating and confidence boosting exercise. The cheaper you are, the more you can control taking risks. Going back to zero money if you fail won’t bother you if you can live on zero money

5)     Get off personal social media and connect the real way

It is tough to wean off personal social media. But it can be a rescue-exercise. Tracking a million updates from people that seem to have less uncertain lives can dilute focus and energy. Close friends and family can be good support when you’re getting a business off the ground. Call your support system. Email them. Go do lunch with them. It helps to keep it real the old-fashioned way

6)     Lean on true constants

Who and what are your true constants that are there no matter the uncertainties? Your parents’ and best friends’ support, your ability to work hard, your adoring kids and nieces, your dogs – some things are always certain and give you strength

7)     Find your books and music

Books and music give you the best motivation in trying times. I mark out sections in books, and poetry that I go back and read on a tough day. I also have a pick-me-up playlist. Sometimes, even your closest circle of people may not be best to talk to because it’s impossible for them to understand no matter how much they love you. But reading even a paragraph from a good book or listening to Switchfoot singing “This is your life, are you who you want to be? “can be an inspiring kick in the butt to stop feeling overwhelmed and do something

8)     Go get a drink

A drink, not get drunk. Moderate, a glass-a-day drinking is statistically proven to calm nerves, boost creative thinking, and even help slow down aging. Kick your feet up, pour out a glass, shut the doors and listen to music. Everything will be OK

9)     Ask yourself, “so what?”

This game helps me. I think of the worst case of the uncertain situation and ask myself “so what?”. What if quitting my day job was a mistake? So what, you took a bold risk and placed a bet on yourself. What if my venture fails? So what, there’ll be another one. What if the customers hate my service? So what, we will use feedback to improve. Confronting the fear with a “so what” makes you realize that you will conquer the consequences, no matter what.

10) Learn to thrive in uncertainty

Acknowledge the uncertainty and learn to move forward despite it, with it, and eventually because of it. Showing grace under fire is a tough skill, but when mastered becomes a trademark of true leadership. I strive to thrive in uncertainty. I wish you good luck with that goal too!