What can I do about entrepreneurial anxiety?

Keeping business and your personal life separate seems like a great idea. Until you can’t sleep because of that pitch a few days from now or you can’t get anything done at work because hello heartbreak. It turns out that we are human beings who feel things, are triggered by things and are all somewhere on a journey of self-discovery, healing, growth or a mix thereof. Interestingly, what stumps some of us doesn’t phase others at all because we all carry a unique story, set of experiences, genetic makeup and socialisation. 

Let’s say for the sake of an example that you suffer from entrepreneurial anxiety around money and fear of not being able to support yourself financially. Just the thought of it shakes you to the core, brings up feelings of inadequacy and weakness and you are pretty much incapacitated to the point that you are unable to tie your shoe, sweaty palms and teeth grinding included. 

What do you do? 

Well, here is what doesn’t work:

  1. Pretending it’s not there. Attempting to burrow your anxiety and simply deciding to be done with it is about as useful as telling a hungry crocodile to please not chew on your leg. Your emotions are a chemical reaction that is triggered in your body (whether or not it makes sense in your logical brain doesn’t matter) and have a reason for being. The more high intensity the emotion, the bigger the red flag your system is waving. 
  2. Letting your anxiety take control. It isn’t exactly a good idea to let your anxiety take over and let go of the steering wheal of your life, believing all of the things your altered brain is telling you about how worthless you are and emailing all your clients that you were kidding when you offered your services. You don’t want to have a panic attack that requires public reputation interventions.

So what do you do instead?

The first thing to do - and this DOES sound cliché but it's important - is release any notion of guilt or anger around the fact that you feel anxious about the thing that you are anxious about.

“I shouldn’t be having these fears at this age."

“Not that problem again, I thought I’d dealt with that."

“If I were a proper business owner I wouldn’t have this problem or let it get to me."

“I can’t let my past affect how I feel today."

“I am such a piece of useless spaghetti."

Your feelings are stressful enough, so there is no need to add your own homemade judgment to the mix. For those self-reflected individuals who have done their fair share of inner work: There is no need to head into unraveling past trauma, childhood conditioning or other explanations for your feelings either.

It’s about accepting your right now. Because when you realise you can get through this moment, you will realise you can get through this next one and the one after that too. Sometimes rock bottom is the most solid foundation upon which to build something. 

The second thing to do is breathe. Your breathe is your greatest point of influence on your emotional wellbeing and energetic state. Plus altering your breath is a pretty feasible intervention you can do anywhere, regardless of the amount of time or money or worthiness you believe you have. 

And for those of you who prefer not breathing on your own, I've created a meditation. It could be called the Disruptive Magic of Breathing as a Means to Get a Grip on Your Stress and Anxiety and Turn into a Functional Entrepreneur Again. Or just Entrepreneurial Anxiety for short.

I'm sharing his meditation under the Creative Commons Attribution License, meaning you are welcome to share it with your entrepreneurial yoga teacher/ ice cream seller/ grandmother as long as you tell them where it came from.