Good Stress Vs. Bad Stress

I overheard someone at the gym today.  She remarked to her friend, “You know, it’s good stress, so it’s okay”.

Upon hearing this, I was instantly transported back to my shower.  The year was 2010.  We had newborn twins, and I a full-time job with and an evening MBA program.

In the shower I was attempting to shake off the day’s stresses when I came to a similar realization.  My life was hectic, challenging, and semi-crushing, but full of good stress.

  • Getting my learn on
  • Happy, healthy baby twins, and 3 year old on top of that
  • Making enough money to pay the bills and save a little

As a startup, realizing the difference between good and bad stress helps make sense of the world.  It’s pretty easy to spot the difference between the two.

Bad Stress

  • Losing key employees
  • Losing customers
  • Losing your market

Good Stress

  • Getting a working product in a customer’s hands after 2 years of building it
  • Getting that first big customer launched
  • Getting the infrastructure built (or re-built) to handle scale

Even on great days at a startup, or any company, there’s still stress, but hopefully it’s the good kind.

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