Badassery Magazine January 2018 Issue 20 - Page 51

A sk many modern entre- preneurs what their most prevalent problem is, and a countless number of them won’t tell you that it’s cash flow, product development, time management, or even marketing - many of them will say that it’s handling all of the emotions that come with entre- preneurship. Namely, anxiety and overwhelm. Being intrepid trailblazers at heart, entrepreneurs can solve many of the issues that we face on our own, given that we’ve got some grit and put in the work. Resources and information on all of the more technical facets of running a business are out there in abundance, but managing entre- preneurial anxiety is still fairly new and barren territory for the modern world. Sure, we’ve heard about how es- sential oils, a cozy book, and some herbal tea will calm us down tem- porarily - and that might just do the trick at the moment - but I’ve just always wanted more. I need more answers, not temporarily fixes. (Holler if you hear me!) For example, where does anxiety even come from? It’s not all chemicals, right? Why am I more anxious when I’m in creative mode? How can I accept and integrate anxiety into my life? Step 1 in Unconventionally Managing Your Entrepreneurial Anxiety: Instead of trying to just ‘manage’, ‘eliminate’, or ‘slay’ your anxiety, reframe your thoughts about it altogether - accept that you can use it to your advantage Maybe anxiety’s not as bad as society always paints it to be. Don’t get me wrong - anxiety that leaves you with tendinitis, panic attack hangovers, and hospital bills from thinking that you were having a heart attack are definite- ly no laughing matter. (I actually thought that I was having a heart attack the first time that I had a panic attack, and I called my mom to tell her that I loved her one last time, just in case). Anx- iety’s extremely uncomfortable, but it definitely has some upsides. In fact, you could even befriend it. I can hear you now: “What? Anxi- ety has some upsides and maybe I should stop trying to kill it and be its friend instead?” HEAR. ME. OUT. The same peo- ple that are full of enough imagi- nation to conceive a company are the same people that can imagine up worse case scenarios. Anxiety usually just comes with the ter- ritory of being an entrepreneur because both take vision, and with the good, comes the bad. Dealing with the plethora of tasks and responsibilities that come with en- trepreneurship only fuels natural anxiety further. “There are people who are ambi- tious, competitive, big-thinking and novelty-seeking, but who also have a makeup that leads them to become easily overstimulated and anxious. They often feel like they’ve got one foot on the accel- erator and the other on the brake” says Alicia Boyes, Ph.D., author of 'The Anxiety Toolkit: Strategies for Fine-Tuning Your Mind and Moving Past Your Stuck Points'. Step 2 in Unconventionally Managing Your Entrepreneurial Anxiety: Acknowledge anxiety for what it is - energy All energy can be channele d and harnessed, and as entrepreneurs, we need all of the energy that we can get. So if you think of anxiety as the negative manifestation of imagi- nation energy and creativity as the positive manifestation of it, can you start to see how anxiety can be channeled into creativity? Step 3 in Unconventionally Managing Your Entrepreneurial Anxiety: Make a list of 3 creative projects related to your business that you’d rather your energy flow to instead of anxiety These can be regular ol’ run of the mill creative projects that you’re already working on, but go for the more exciting, daring, and auda- cious ones. An example of these are: start a webinar series, make a comic strip as part of your next promotional campaign, or try making a parody music video about an aspect of your business. (These are totally current creative projects of mine.) Step 4 in Unconventionally Managing Your Entrepreneurial Anxiety: The next time that you feel anxiety run down your spine or flutter in your heart, shift your mental ener- gy to one of those 3 business-relat- ed projects For at least the first few times you do this exercise, you’ll have to keep re-focusing your brain when it wanders off down Useless Anxi- ety Lane, but you can just steer 50