There is so much anxious with the unknown and the exciting world of entrepreneurship is all about the unknown. As a business builder, entrepreneurship is constantly about thinking in the future. What problems could arise? What is the market trend? Where is the industry going next? What will consumers need?
There is a quote that really resonates with this sentiment around anxiety
“If you are depressed you are living in the past.Lao Tzu
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present.”
In the corporate culture there is a more linear path on where your career will go. You’re some variation of an associate, a manager, a senior manager, a director, all within your given industry. As an entrepreneur there’s an unknown path that can lead to more learnings than triumphs, or it can lead to everything you’ve ever wanted.
As an entrepreneur, being in the right mental head space is a necessity. It is common to question your choices and priorities as a business, so ultimately the thoughts of worry are taking away from the actual doing and action it takes to build your dreams.
Below are tips on how you can keep your worries and anxious thoughts in check:
Analyzing and thinking up plans can be all encompassing in your head. While it may not necessarily seem intuitive, being able to continue to execute and make progress on your goals is imperative to keeping anxious thoughts at bay. Having a “do more, analyze less” approach to life and especially business is key to building momentum. Start before you are ready.
Show yourself compassion
Our “best” looks different every day. That is an important point to acknowledge. Some days you might accomplish your milestones and goals at a rapid pace and other days you may feel unmotivated or stuck in your thoughts more than you’d like to admit. It is all ok. Rather than beating yourself up internally about how you aren’t performing at your idealized version of “best”, tomorrow is another day and putting a day into perspective can help reset your energy. Let go of the idea that you need to push yourself to max capacity at all times. Be kind to yourself and know that you are doing the best you can at that moment. Lean into self-compassion and become friends with yourself again.
Move every day
You can calm down the anxious response your body goes through by moving. Redirecting nervous and anxious energy into jogging, skipping rope, something aerobic can not only help you manage anxiety but it can also support your physical health. It can also release positive neurotransmitters that can boost your mood and make you feel less likely to manifest those feelings of anxiety in the first place.
Mindful activities that promote relaxation
Mindfulness can look differently for everyone. While yoga and meditation are key methods to being present, you can also find mindfulness in activities that promote calm in other ways. Feelings of anxiety and stress are often caused by a kind of hyperfocus on the problems, fears, and concerns that bother us. We get trapped in our own head with them and, as a result, they swell and grow, and become overwhelming. Getting involved with an engaging and relaxing hobby like gardening or going on a walk which allows us to take some time away and distance ourselves from our anxiety. Not only can it help us get away from those overwhelming emotions, but it might even allow us to see our challenges a little more objectively, once given the space away from them, which can make them easier to solve.
Breathing exercises to regulate your energy
Anxiety triggers a physical response in the body. It causes us to tense up, and it gets our fight-or-flight response flared up. However, this physical response can be reversed or halted. One way to do that is with breathing exercises. One such exercise is known as the 478 technique, which sees us inhale through our nose while counting to 4, holding our breath until we count 7, and exhaling at the count of 8. A lot of people also find meditation to be especially helpful, with mindfulness meditation becoming particularly popular as of late, especially as a response to stress and anxiety.
Create organization and schedule your time to stay focused
If there isn’t a list or a schedule of priorities, your brain can feel like it’s on over drive. At the start of each week or at the beginning of each day, create a time-blocked schedule that allows you to do deep focus work at the most optimal times in your day before moving onto other tasks. Treat your schedule as an entrepreneur as a regular work day in the office. This will also help you procrastinate less and we all know procrastination can lead to stress and feelings of anxiety.
One of the most important ways to organize your time is to realize what you can and can’t do with it. There are times when you have to concede that you can’t do it all alone and you need support. Outsourcing some of your most important tasks can feel difficult, but it can actually help you to let go of some of your anxiety, rather than adding to it. For example, if you are in healthcare, hire a medical virtual assistant for your practice to streamline efficiencies and you can ensure various tasks are done well and you won’t have to worry about them. Experienced virtual assistants in any industry are capable of taking on a variety of essential tasks for you, allowing you to use your time more wisely.
Be in like-minded community
There’s so much strength and comfort that comes when someone says “Same here!”. You feel a little less alone in your endeavors and anxious thoughts. At the end of the day our feelings and emotions are all universal and there is a community that can form around the unique experiences in entrepreneurship. Create regular occurrences and check-ins with others to see how everyone is doing. It will provide a needed outlet for expression.
Seek professional support
There’s a lot that we can do to help us fight the feelings of anxiety at the moment, and to make ourselves better at getting away from those symptoms. However, it can be a deeper problem than that, and often identifying that problem is not easy to do alone. Mental health treatment is almost always worth looking into if you feel like you are having trouble managing your thoughts and emotions. Not only can you learn more specific techniques that can help you manage anxiety, but you can get down to the root causes of it through therapy, and resolving some of those inner conflicts, if there are any, can help you have much less of a problem to manage in the first place. Better Help is a popularized telehealth opportunity for you to speak to a professional.
Many of these tips were created with being an entrepreneur in mind; however, these can all be implemented into anyone’s lifestyle as anxiety affects everyone to one degree or another. The most important tip above all else is to allow yourself room to normalize your feelings and to hold grace and compassion during times of need.