You’re sitting at your desk staring aimlessly at your laptop screen. The glamour of entrepreneurship attracted you to do and want more. You’ve heard the success stories of entrepreneurs that work from white sand beaches, jet set around the world and lead fast-growth companies. They revel in their success.
Yet all you’ve experienced so far is rejection and deep feelings of despair. You wonder where your next sale will come from and will it come soon enough to pay a mounting pile of bills. Anxiety is lurking everywhere.
Anxiety and despair are lying dormant in your chest. Like lava boiling up, your nerves are like a volcano ready to erupt. There’s no one to turn to because your friends and family don’t understand the uncertainty you’ve chosen.
It’s overwhelming. At any moment you could wave a white flag of surrender.
When anxiety sets in
Does any of this seem familiar? For me, it absolutely does. I have been there time and time again throughout my entrepreneurial journey. The thought of overcoming daily challenges and uncertainty, while attempting to go further in business can bring about anxiety.
I know this from experience – it’s in the back of my mind every single day. I always feel it lurking near, but you know what I do? I ignore it because there’s no use for it here. I take small steps to overcome it.
Here is what I have learned over the past year. These tips help me move past anxiety when the heaviness sets in.
1. Check your mindset
This first step might sound easy, but it’s not. There’s so much more to it. You need to reframe your thoughts. Decipher where your mindset needs the biggest shift. This requires clarity. There is something holding you back and if it were that easy to stop it, you would have put a stop to it already.
Deal with your mental clutter. “Much of our mental clutter is created by external stimuli. From the second you wake up in the morning to when you sleep at night, you are exposed to tons of external stimuli. The more contact you have with the world, the more stimuli you are exposed to.” And “it’s never obvious how much these stimuli impact us until we stop to observe our mental activity…”
Start writing down your thoughts in a journal. In order to check your mindset, you have to confront what you’ve been thinking.
2. Meditate to regain control
Meditation, time spent in quiet thought with your attention on a single point of reference, can calm your mind. Anxiety can cause your mind to run at full throttle. Your thoughts run in never-ending circles.
Meditation will calm those rapid-fire thoughts. It will also return your breathing to a normal pattern. When you breathe normally and gain mental clarity you’re equipped to make rational decisions. Decision making in the face of anxiety never ends well.
3. Ask for help
Entrepreneurship can often feel lonely. This is why you need to surround yourself with like-minded entrepreneurs that are on the same journey. Asking for help might seem like something out of a horror film, I know. But I want you to think with me for a moment.
What harm will come to you if you share your situation with a listening ear? The answer: nothing! You can gain incredible insight from entrepreneurs who have faced similar challenges. Why not ask for help before anxiety gets the best of you?
4. Remove stress ‘tech’ triggers
Yes, stress or anxiety comes in all forms — even the device in your hand. It’s tough to pull yourself away from your smartphone. And let’s not forget about those “convenient” push notifications from your favorite apps.
Yet, if you cringe at the thought of parting from it, turning it off or putting it down it’s time to re-evaluate. Parting from electronic devices for even an hour can improve your state of mind.
5. Relax and breathe
Take a moment in privacy to calm down and breathe deeply. According to Livestrong.com, “The many benefits of deep breathing include a reduction in stress and blood pressure […] Deep breathing also promotes better blood flow, releases toxins from the body and aids in healthy sleep.”
Take a few moments to breathe in for seven seconds, hold it for four seconds, and let it out in eight seconds. Do this three or four times until you’ve calmed your heart rate.
It’s time to take a deeper look into the toll that anxiety can take in business. You can get past your anxiety and move forward to attain the success you deserve.
This article has been edited.
Lisa Fourman is the founder of Mystique MGMT, where she provides social media management, email management, and blog post creation for female entrepreneurs who are overwhelmed. She found a love for her work through Mystique upon her first role as social media manager for her current employer. She became an entrepreneur upon her decision to fulfill her own dreams at work instead of someone else’s. Want to know more about anxiety in entrepreneurship? Visit lisafourman.com. Connect with @LisaFourman on Twitter.
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