13 Tips For Overcoming Your Entrepreneurial Anxiety
Entrepreneurship can seem like a highly appealing career path. After all, you get to work for yourself, on your own schedule, all while pursuing your passions. However, the endeavor can often feel more stressful than not. With deadlines, expenses and unexpected setbacks, many entrepreneurs find themselves battling anxiety rather than relishing their achievements.
Don’t let these fears outshine your entrepreneurial ambitions. Below, members of Forbes Coaches Council offer ways to overcome the stresses of self-employment and continue on the path to success. Members of Forbes Coaches Council offer tips on handling the anxieties that can come with entrepreneurship.
1. Identify The Source Of Your Anxiety
There is no stress “out there.” We impose the stress on ourselves due to fear of something that has not actually happened yet. We are projecting a problem into the future. The real issue is that when we do that we activate stress hormones and brain patterns that keep us from performing optimally. Discover what you are afraid of that is not real, then let go of that and relax. – Janet Zaretsky, Empowered Women Enterprisess, LLC dba Janet Zaretsky
2. Recharge Daily
It is difficult to perform at our best when we are feeling stressed. Find what recharges you. It could be time in nature, mindfulness, meditation, working out, or time with family or a pet. Carve out the time daily. There is strong research on the impact of low-dose mindfulness meditation for as little as 10 minutes per day. It allows us to sustain our executive brain function. – Maureen Metcalf, Innovative Leadership Institute
3. Practice Being Mindful In Real Moments
A prevalent belief among my clients is that they need to create artificial moments to increase their mindfulness. So they isolate themselves and remove all distractions. This is good for small moments, but it doesn’t give them the tools to be mindful in the real-life stressful moments. Apply and test a variety of coping mechanisms in real-life moments. In essence, practice like you play. – Kyle Brost, Spark Policy Institute & Choice Strategy Group
4. Tie Every Decision Back To Your Core Purpose
Stay focused on your bigger vision and why you love what you do. Whatever challenge comes along, tie your decision back to your core purpose and passion, and you will know that you’re still on the right path, even when it’s a bit rocky. When we allow the fear and frustration of the day-to-day to take over, we lose sight of our ultimate goal and end up even more disconnected from our vision. – Tonya Echols, Vigere
5. Stop And Breathe
It is so simple, but most people ignore this practice. When stresses are building up, it not only creates anxiety but also places us in a reactive mindset. I’ve found that by stopping in the midst of stressors to take three deep breaths, my anxiety diminishes, my focus improves and I am better equipped to lead and win. – Billy Williams, Archegos
6. Focus On What You’re Doing Rather Than What’s Left To Do
Anxiety mostly comes from within. We lose focus on the now and get lost imagining a negative future. Rather than focusing on what we are doing, we think about all that is left to get done. So have a plan for the future, but mentally stay in the moment. As a mentor taught me, simply do what you are doing. String those “doing” moments together and you will notice your anxiety has greatly decreased. – Gary Bradt, Bradt Leadership, Inc.
7. Slow Down And Set Priority Stages
Entrepreneurship is enormously stressful. The mere realization that this type of business is a marathon and not a sprint will help an entrepreneur to grasp that they have to go slow to go fast. Focusing on priorities for one day, then one week, then one month will help achieve measurable progress without getting overwhelmed. – Courtney Feider, Courtney Feider, LLC
8. Get All Your Stresses Out Of Your Head
The best way to get through entrepreneurial anxiety is to get everything out of your head. Avoidance and ignoring what is bothering us only causes more anxiety! Have regular team meetings where you look at your numbers (expenses and revenue), and have a journal where you can write out everything that is bothering you or stressing you out. – Taylor Manning, Taylor Manning Creative
9. Build A Strong Advisory Team
You cannot win in business on your own. Entrepreneurs should have key people that help them in business. They need what I call an advisory board to help them with the psychological roadblocks during setbacks and successes. Having key people who will listen, encourage, offer perspective and assist you in staying mindfully on track is imperative to mitigate entrepreneurial anxiety. – John M. O’Connor, Career Pro Inc.
10. Do Only What Only You Can Do
Too many entrepreneurs fall into the trap of thinking that they have to do everything. This sense of being overwhelmed causes a huge amount of anxiety. Early on in your startup, work out what it is that only you can do. Everything else can be delegated. Your willingness to delegate is then inversely proportional to your anxiety. – Simon Ellett, Jager Consulting
11. Identify What Is Important Versus What Is Urgent
Entrepreneurial anxiety is often brought on by the number of things that must be done for your business. Identifying what is important is imperative. If you are constantly handling urgent matters, you are just putting out fires. You need to regroup. Time-blocking your day is an easy way to ensure everything that should be done will get done, eliminating anxiety. – Dr. Sharon H. Porter, Perfect Time SHP LLC, Coaching, Consulting and Book Publishing Firm
12. Celebrate The Wins, No Matter How Small
Entrepreneurs can go down a rabbit hole of overwhelming anxiety pretty easily, but one way to keep your head above water is to identify and celebrate daily wins. When you focus on what is going right—even if it’s just that you showed up and put forth effort into growing your business that day—you begin to gain momentum and confidence. Focusing on the wins results in having more of them. – Elizabeth Pearson, Elizabeth Pearson Executive Coaching
13. Keep Coming Back To Your ‘Why’
Being an entrepreneur is not easy and can be very stressful. To keep those burdensome factors from influencing progress, one has to remember the “why.” Why did I start this? Though it sounds rudimentary, revisiting the answer to that particular question regularly will essentially provide the mental and emotional energy needed to continue until the stated goals are achieved. – Kamyar Shah, World Consulting Group