How to thrive on a rocket ship - working in a fast-paced environment

Man standing in sweater - Phil Luong


By Phil Luong, Revenue School Associate, Canada

When you work for a fast-moving tech company like Shopify, change happens regularly. Personally, I love it when a company moves fast - it creates an allure of excitement every day, and tomorrow is never the same as yesterday. Similar to what you may have encountered, I’ve dealt with a few high-intensity environments such as in university, work internships, and my personal life. I’m here to share my top five tips for thriving. 

1. Create a window of time to acknowledge your feelings. 

It’s never healthy to avoid how one is feeling in the moment. It’s common to overthink, be self-critical, nervous, or experience imposter syndrome. Suppressing emotions eventually builds up becoming harder to handle later on. Instead, I suggest addressing them right away. 

You can write your thoughts and emotions in a notebook to help. Think of it as a transfer from mind to paper. From there, it becomes easier to avoid the act of dwelling. If you find that it’s not enough, I encourage you to reach out to someone you feel safe with or a professional to share how you’re feeling. Having someone listen to you can be comforting. 

2. Focus on what you can control and what’s in front of you. 

Thinking presently can be a daunting task. One effective way to begin this process is to organize your thoughts by writing them down, and recognize the things in front of you that you need to do that day. 

Breathing exercises always help me to think presently. With overwhelming thoughts, it’s natural for your body to feel tense. Here’s a great source for an effective breathing exercise that can help you relieve stress and help you return to focussed thinking. You can also try these grounding techniques when you are feeling overwhelmed.

3. Use your calendar to organize your time.

Use your online calendar to help you organize your time. Block off time for dedicated tasks to maximize your impact for that day. By doing this consistently, you will be able to think more clearly, focus on what you can control, and avoid worrying about the past or future which can fuel overthinking and anxiety. 

Make your tasks more digestible by laying out what needs to be done and breaking larger tasks into a series of smaller ones. Then concentrate on one task at a time. Collect small trophies before the big one. 

4. Take regular breaks to recharge.

Starting your day with the intention of working at 110 percent from start to finish consistently is the fastest way to burn yourself out. Your mind and body don’t work like that, nor should you try to convince yourself they can.  

A critical element of creating an effective, personal system is taking regular 10-minute breaks for yourself. Take a walk, sit in the sun, meditate, skip rope, or treat yourself to your favorite snack. This will help you clean your slate, see problems in a new light and find fresh solutions. 

5. Take advantage of the support available, and provide support for others if you can. 

One of the greatest things about Shopify is the work culture. Shopify understands your mental health is important, and they encourage everyone to lift up each other. There is likely someone in your life experiencing something similar to you who can empathize or be supportive so you do not have to go through challenges alone. 

Seek out other professional supports if you’re facing more serious challenges. Remember, if you aren’t able to deal with challenges on your own, it is best to reach out for help or consult a professional, for example, a therapist or psychologist.

Overall, continue to check in with yourself about your mental health, and develop a structure that not only works for you, but brings out the best version of you for tomorrow. 


Interested in working at Shopify and receiving sales training? Check out our four-month paid sales training program - Revenue School