Nov 5th, 2018 ⋅ 4 min read

Stress and the sense of responsibility

It is a very well known fact that stress can be a positive and a negative thing. It can push you to move forward faster, but it can also hamper your progress. BUT what is a stress actually?

I heard this amazing definition:

It is a normal reaction to abnormal circumstances.


Sometimes people compare stress to a flood. You see the water coming, and you can either move or not, but the water is still coming… Still, the worst part about a flood is not the presence of water, but rather what is left after the water goes away… When you are the only one left standing in the mud, and everything reeks disgustingly like mold.

How do you feel after the flood passed? What do you do? Do you just jump in another flood, or do you think about how you can prevent the next one?

Everybody will tell you to recharge every day, whenever you find the time. But I know that your natural response goes something like: "There is no time for me to do that when the flood is coming!". I am aware of that, and I understand. That’s why I would like to remind you to recharge after the floods at least.

It is also important to recognize the source of the stress. In the research I conducted, founders could place the sources of the stress into a few categories:

•    Separation from their family
•    Experiencing technical issues
•    Difficulties with financial management
•    Management in general
•    Competitiveness of other participants within the accelerator or incubator program
•    Meeting new clients
•    Pitching in front of a big audience

Would you like to add something? Was something left out?

After the flood

When the flood goes away, take the time to breathe. Cleaning the mess the flood left could be a good way to clear your thoughts, but sometimes it's not the best idea if the mess is way too big for you to handle. Then it's best to leave it for a while.

Follow these steps:
1. Reorder your thoughts
2. Move on

It doesn’t matter how you do it, but it will result in emotional recharging. Let me give you an example. If I need to recharge, I always first go through a quiet phase. I have to organize my thoughts and settle down. In those times I need to be alone and I don’t want any company. I like to take a walk, listen to music, read a book… Yet, I know I will never watch movies or TV shows. They don’t calm me down enough for me to process everything that has happened.

On the other hand, my boyfriend loves doing that because while he is watching a movie - a part of his brain is processing the situation. Only after I am done with reordering my thoughts I move on to have some fun with my family and friends. Spending some me-time or/and the decision to accept what has happened while continuing forward is a part of the process of recharging.


Me-time, also called the self-care process is essential for happiness. Have you ever thought about what is your drive in life? How do you keep going?

If you don’t know what your process is, or how you recharge, just take the time to focus on yourself. Settle down. Some do it while hitting the gym, some while cooking and cleaning, some… It's up to you to find your unique way. If you still don’t know your way by heart – think about what you did the last time that helped you?

The sense of responsibility

What can prevent you from lowering your stress-levels is the sense of responsibility that you might feel. Sense of responsibility is usually considered to be a good characteristic for one to have, but if it becomes a burden - it's time to rethink things.

Even though 90% of startups fails, founders are always facing some type of responsibility.

The thoughts of them being responsible for their individual financial existence, their families financial existence, their startup, their cofounder(s), the family/ies of their cofounder(s), and if there are any employee(s), then for them and their families as well.

That is a lot of people to take care of and as the development progresses, the pressure increases.

Now that I was pushing this thing for so long, I already spent so much money... What will happen to my startup, me, my family, my co-founders and my employees?

That is a hard thing to carry around and when the sense of responsibility becomes too heavy to carry - it is usually because you started to identify yourself with your business. One of the first signs is that you adapt your language when communicating. For example, you would say "We don't have customers." instead of "The product doesn't have customers." It is very important not to loose your identity even though you will have to say longer statements. Knowing where the line is is very important.

Do you think I can bring value to your company, organization or you?
I would be happy to talk with you!


My name is Marta. I aim to help employees, founders and CEOs by bringing their attention to the importance of well being, a good work-life balance and physical, mental health improvement.

I worked as an associate at the THINK Accelerate in Helsingborg, Sweden. My role was to support startups during the three-month program with their stress management and team management. The program ended with an #HBGTECH where I participated as an organizer.

I also held talks at Lund University, at THINK Open space and at #HBGTECH.

I volunteered at Techstars London DemoDay 2017 and 2018 where I helped with the organization of the Demo Day.

Do you think I can bring value to your company, organization or you?
I would be happy to talk with you!

Contact me!