Thoughts race through your head.
“What if it doesn’t work out?”
“What if I lose all that money?”
“What if I have to look for a job?”
As an entrepreneur, the fear of failure is all too real.
There’s a lot on the line, and if things don’t work out, who knows what will happen. I know exactly what it’s like. Just the thought of what could happen is enough to paralyse you. But it doesn’t have to.
3 Steps to Overcoming Anxiety As an Entrepreneur
Having been self-employed for going on three years now, I’ve learned a few things about battling with anxiety. Unfortunately, you’ll always face anxiety to some degree, but there are 3 steps you can take to lessen its voice to a faint whisper.
1. Realise what anxiety actually is.
Anxiety is basically our response to certain thoughts that stem from our survival instincts.
You know, flight or flight, lizard brain type stuff.
Our brain gets tons of inputs throughout the day which cause thoughts to come into our head. If a thought scares us, we react with anxious feelings.
That means you have a degree of control over your anxiety.
Think of thoughts as clouds floating in your head.
When you see grey, stormy clouds, you can react by worrying that it will rain, or you can watch the clouds go by. Realising that you have some control allows you to reduce your anxiety with the next two steps.
2. Learn to control the conversations in your head.
How many times have you had a seemingly insignificant anxious thought come to your mind that quickly escalated into a state of near panic? It has happened to me more times than I can count. Unfortunately, anxiety is a slippery slope. The main reason this happens is because we go down a rabbit hole of “if this, then this” scenarios in our heads.
Here’s an example:
Situation: cash flow is dangerously low in my business.
Anxious thought 1: I need to find a way to get more cash coming in.
Anxious thought 2: If I don’t, I won’t be able to pay my employees.
Anxious thought 3: I’ll be responsible for them not being able to put food on the table for their families.
Anxious thought 4: I’m about to go out of business. How am I going to put food on the table for my family?
Anxious thought 5: No one will hire me after I go out of business. I’m a complete failure.
And it goes on and on…
The key to avoiding this anxiety avalanche is gaining control of the conversation in your head. When you have that first anxious thought, respond by saying, “…but it will be fine.”
Because in reality, it WILL be fine. Anxiety will keep lying to you as long as you let it. If you spot and respond to the lies, you can quickly rebound from what would’ve previously been a panic attack or day of depression.
3. Realise you’ll be fine regardless of what happens with your business.
Let’s suppose that the worst-case scenario in the previous example happened, and you did go out of business
Would you end up being homeless―unable to find a job or provide for your family?
Of course not.
You’re smart. You’d find a job, or maybe even start another business. Regardless of what happens or how much money you make, your well-being will still be intact.
You’ll still have:
Anxiety will tell you that your entire life and well-being are in danger, but it’s a lie. Respond to these lies with confidence―knowing that you’ll be okay no matter what happens.
You Can Start Overcoming Anxiety Now
It’s true―being an entrepreneur is incredibly stressful. You seemingly never know whether your business will sink or swim. With these 3 steps, you can start overcoming anxiety’s impact on your life so you can put all of your energy into growing your business.
Hunter Branch is a self-taught digital marketer who runs Rank Tree, an SEO and Content Marketing agency that works with New York Times bestselling authors, startups, and small businesses. He writes in-depth guides on his blog to help you learn new skills and make yourself more valuable — like this one on setting rock-solid personal development goals.
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