Written by Team ICON's Lauren Tickner
Be an entrepreneur, they said. It will be fun, they said. A month in: cue entrepreneurial anxiety.
What is Entrepreneurial Anxiety?
It’s different from your average joe’s anxiety. It’s that pending feeling of doom you get from not fixing every last thing right this second. It’s when you have five sales calls, 967 todo’s, and 48 new business ideas TODAY, and you’re not sure you’ll have enough revenue to pay your team this month.
It’s when the regret of becoming an entrepreneur instead of an employee sneaks in for a few seconds, before you remember how much you love being a business owner.
Entrepreneurial anxiety happens because this choice is a roller coaster of highs and lows — but it is one of the most rewarding, freeing things you will do in life.
You were called to create, lead and be a trailblazer for your community, not to sit in the dark hiding from your thoughts. That’s why I have tools and exercises to help you curb those daily anxieties.
Exercise 1: Find The Source
Anxiety for entrepreneurs can come from many places. Money worries. A lack of confidence or frustration with themselves. Under-planning or trying to do too much in too little time. No matter what the reason is, all anxiety is a mindset that can be overcome.
This first exercise will help you narrow down where your anxiety is coming from.
Write these questions down and answer them honestly:
- When do anxiety or feelings of being overwhelmed show up?
- When it does show up, what story do you tell yourself?
- Is this story beneficial?
- When was the first time you remember feeling this way?
By answering these four questions you should be able to identify what life event first triggered your anxious feelings, and what thoughts or events trigger you today.
Now let’s explore deeper with a few more questions:
- When these triggers pop up, how do you feel? Be specific.
- How does feeling this way help you, today and in the past?
- What powerful affirmation can you tell yourself when this trigger happens?
Write your affirmation down and put it somewhere you will see often: your bathroom mirror, your car, or on your calendar as a daily reminder.
Need an example? One that has helped our most successful clients is, “In purposeful stillness comes powerful action.” It means that when we intentionally slow down, we can accomplish more with clearer thoughts and more aligned actions. Sometimes, time to breathe and relax is all that you need.
Our clients at Impact School have been using this journaling exercise for quite some time and it is, hands down, the most powerful tool in your toolbox. How come? Simple — you cannot overcome anxiety if you do not know the root cause.
Exercise 2: Brain Dump
We’re going to do a brain dump, which is like renting a giant dump truck for your mind. Have you done one before? It’s amazingly liberating and it’s something I, my team and our clients do regularly.
Here’s how a brain dump works:
- First, write everything on your mind down on paper without thinking about it. Be as messy or organized as you like.
- Next, go back through and circle the most urgent tasks. There’s a challenge though: you can only select 3 of these. (Don’t worry, you’ll get to the others later).
- Now go back through the circled items and number them in order of importance.
These 3 tasks will be the first — and only — ones you ensure you’ll get done today. Bashing out the most urgent and often most difficult tasks will put your mind at ease and make it a whole heck of a lot easier to accomplish the rest.
Later, go back through your brain dump and sort out the uncircled tasks. Highlight anything that needs to be done that week. Each day pick the top 3 to get through first.
Exercise 3: Positivity Attracts Positivity
If you focus on things that bring you joy, more things will come into your life that add even more positivity.
Our subconscious minds are hardwired to think about what we focus on the most. If you’re always thinking about what could go wrong, you will “attract” more worrisome things into your life because you have primed your mind to be aware of the negative.
Make it your mission to see the good in every day, and as time goes on you will see more and more. Eventually your mind will be blind to negativity. Does that mean you’re eliminating negative sh*t in your life? No no, my friend — it means you’ve trained your brain to focus on all the good you have to live for, and to set aside the bad that does not directly impact your day-to-day life.
So how do you rewire your brain to focus more on the good and less on the bad? Choose to think about the positives and “tap” away the negative. Let me explain how this works:
Journal a list of 10 things you are grateful for every day. This primes your mind to start purposefully reflecting on things to be thankful for. When something negative appears in your mind, visualize that negative thought as a bubble and visualize yourself tapping that bubble away. This is the “tap” method.
This method is taught by those who have mastered control over their minds, and it works. Visualizing yourself removing negative thoughts from your space is a powerful concept. Try it.
Let go of perfectionism — nobody on God’s green Earth is perfect. Remind yourself daily that you are doing enough, you are more than enough, and you have enough. Success in all areas of life is about consistency, not perfectionism. For example, if you journal for 50 days and miss 5 days, is that a huge mistake? No. You were consistent for 45 days and that’s a win.
Do you see yourself trying the above? Let me know over on socials @LaurenTickner.
Exercise 4: Fight The Bully
Most of us have a nasty habit of often tearing ourselves down. We are our own worst enemies, our own bullies.
Time and time again I’ve heard people say they can’t promote their business on social media or otherwise because, and I quote:
“I am not pretty enough.”
“I am not worthy enough.”
“I am not smart enough.”
“I am not successful enough.”
“I am not making enough money.”
My friend, you are more than enough and that mindset is not serving you. We’re going to flip this around by journaling the positive to overcome the negative. If you are consistent, your mindset will change — can you make that promise to yourself?
Loving yourself unconditionally when society tells you you’re never enough (especially as an entrepreneur) can be hard. Slipping into a mindset focused on everything you need to fix is no way to live your life, and this powerful tool will help you break that habit.
For three weeks, journal all the things you love about you every day. Then take a step back and evaluate how this little shift in your daily routine has impacted your self-confidence as an entrepreneur.
Here are a few affirmations you can practice journaling:
- I value who I am.
- I love how unique I am.
- I have something worthy to offer.
- I love my strong personality.
- I do enough. I have enough. I am enough.
Exercise 5: Learn To Love Thy Money
It’s no surprise money is a major cause of anxiety, especially in a society that values having shiny new things and a pocketbook full of gold.
This creates a nasty cycle, does it not? How many times have you made yourself feel “less than” because your bank account is not overflowing with cash? How many times have you attached your self-worth to your income?
Or worse yet, how many times have you said, “it’s not about the money” while building your business, when deep down you know damn well that if you don’t get a revenue source flowing soon you will not have a business?
It’s time to start reframing your mindset around money.
Let’s start by breaking down your negative beliefs around moolah and rewriting them in a positive, attractive light.
Did you feel triggered by what I said above? If so, this exercise is perfect for you. Don’t click away because you feel uncomfortable — growth only sprouts when you choose to work through the sh*t you have buried deep down.
Why do you feel this way? When was the first time you remember feeling triggered around money? When do these thoughts and beliefs pop up around money for you today, and how do you hide it?
*cough* So many of you hide your negative beliefs around money by telling yourselves it’s not about money at all. Hun, it is about the moolah and you know it. You cannot have a thriving business helping people if you do not have funds. Just saying.
Have these financial beliefs helped you over the years, or held you down? Are you being honest with yourself?
Replace your negative thoughts about money with better, positive, powerful beliefs. Here are some of my favorites:
- Money is the root of all greatness.
- Money is abundant.
- Money is all around me.
- Money loves me because I know how to treat it well.
- I am great at managing my finances.
You Made It!
PHEW. We did a lot of deep work there, and you’re either feeling ready to conquer the world or a little raw and emotional. Either way, go celebrate with a glass of champagne and a hot bath. Shut your mind off for a bit. You deserve it.
I hope these exercises help you as much as they have helped me and our clients. Remember, your mind is a powerful tool that is either lifting you up or tearing you down. Are you ready to reframe your thoughts and step up to be the powerful entrepreneur you were meant to be? Are you ready to reduce your anxiety by choosing to see the good? I hope you are, and I hope to see you taking action soon.
Let us know which of these exercises you’re going to try on our socials.
Founder and CEO of Impact School