How I Manage My Anxiety While Running a Business
First of all, I want you to know that you are 100% completely normal for having anxiety while running a business. You’re also still 100% completely capable of acquiring your big dreams despite this struggle. I know this because I’m right there with you battling my own mental burdens all day every day.
Next, let’s get something straight. As defined by Google, anxiety is: a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.
Businesses are founded upon uncertainty. No one actually knows how things are going to pan out or what the journey will look like so it’s usual, perhaps even expected, that anxiety is going to show up along the way.
(In a UCSF study, 49% of the entrepreneurs surveyed reported having a mental-health condition. That means if you’re in a room with 2 other entrepreneurs, odds are really high that one of them deals with a mental struggle – even if they don’t talk about it. You’re not alone, okay?)
Today, I’m going to share with you one major shift I had to make mentally in order to start managing my anxiety while managing my business.
Ready for it?
Trust your anxiety.
Yes, while I know I am the queen of making typos, that was not one.
Trust your anxiety. It’s like family. You can’t choose that it’s related to you. You have to have a relationship with it. The more you try to push out your anxiety, the harder it will fight to weasel its way back in.
Anxiety is almost always a symptom, not the source. In order to figure out how to combat it, you have to give it enough respect to understand it.
Trusting your anxiety does not mean implementing it.
I trust my mom. I acknowledge her concerns, but I only take about 50% (tops) of the life advice she gives me and put it into action or let it influence my decisions.
I have some friends that I trust with my secrets and I trust them enough to let them borrow my shoes, but I wouldn’t take their life advice if they paid me to.
I have a friend that if I said so-and-so looked at me with a weird look, she’d probably walk over to them and ask what their problem is with some kind of snarking comment. The nonessential response often causes more drama than resolution and she might be a little over the top, but I know she is only trying to stand up for me.
Anxiety is like this friend. It means well and the overreactions are out of care for you. Anxiety wants to stand up to anything stupid you might decide to do in an overbearing parent kind of way.
Are you more likely to work through issues with a lifelong friend who you aren’t seeing eye to eye with right now or the asshole that bumped into you this morning causing you to spill your coffee?
Anxiety isn’t trying to be a dick. It comes from a place of love and protection. Anxiety wants you to be safe. Anxiety wants you to still be alive tomorrow and it tries to do everything in its power to ensure that happens. Without it, you would certainly be screwed.[Tweet “”Anxiety isn’t trying to be a dick.” – @allyn_lewis”]
But it still sucks to deal with.
I think the reason so many of us deal with anxiety as business owners is because anxiety originates in your fight or flight system.
It’s there to protect you when you’re in danger and obviously this career path we’ve chosen is a risky one. We’re up against dangers every day, but it’s a completely different type of danger than what your fight or flight system was set up for (you’re not running away from a bear, you know?). Evolution doesn’t know the difference.
That’s why it’s important to know anxiety is just a warning – a real and potentially even useful warning. What it is not is a prediction or a guarantee of what will happen.
It’s just a warning, it’s not a guarantee.
We are already the exceptions. 9 out of 10 people never live their dreams. You’re already in that small 10% that’s getting there. So, when your anxiety gives you a warning, listen and acknowledge that it has a valid point, but have faith that you have that same power to still be the exception in almost every scenario your anxiety plays in front of you.
Here’s why this really matters.
Viewing my anxiety as a friend or acquaintance I need to build a relationship with allows me to draw a line between what’s me and what’s my anxiety. For me, that separation is an essential component of being able to determine what’s real and what delusions anxiety is creating for me. The more we can step back and observe our anxiety from an outsider’s perspective, the more we can maintain control over what we let into our own mental space. Try it and let me know below if you find this strategy helpful!
This is where the gems are.
Learning to manage your anxiety just gives you more anxiety, doesn’t it? It seems like a monster to confront and you need a solution right now, not a solution that takes time to build.
The thing about anxiety is that it doesn’t really let us rationalize those fears that creep in when we’re making decisions. However, through years of personal experience and battles with anxiety, I’ve been able to develop some helpful tools and methods that I’d like to share with you in this training.
This is my invitation to you to sit down with me for just 45 minutes and take a gigantic step toward facing your anxiety head on and beginning to gain the upper hand!
In this $10 Training you’ll learn:
- Quick strategies that you can use on the fly when anxiety is getting in your way
- How to create distance between yourself and your anxiety
- My method for categorizing your anxiety to make it more manageable
*I’m not a medical professional and the content within these classes and this content is not medical advice, but rather a personal account of how I’ve gotten a handle on my own anxiety. If anxiety (or any mental health concern) is getting in the way of your quality of life, I could not recommend more that you seek medical help, which changed and saved my life.
Anxiety got in the way of my productivity and progress for such a long time, so I think it’s something essential we need to talk about as entrepreneurs! I’m excited to create conversations about this with you. <3