One of the big things I have noticed in the online world is the lack of talk around anxiety. There’s a big focus on looking fear in the face and moving forward despite the fear, getting into the uncomfortable and unknown, but what happens when there’s more to the story? What happens when you are riddled with anxiety and feel paralyzed?
For many of us who are entrepreneurs and always looking to up level in business we are faced with fear a lot. It’s scary to put yourself out there and commit to doing the work even when you don’t know the outcome. There are a lot of what ifs, there’s a lot of questioning if you’re good enough to do it, you’ll feel like a fraud, you’ll want to quit, you’ll be scared of what people will think, this is all a completely normal part of the journey!
But, what happens when you feel crippled by all the unknowns and anxiety takes over? How do you differentiate between the feeling of being scared and knowing when it’s a larger issue of anxiety? Anxiety is a totally normal part of life, but when it’s holding you back and interfering with every day activities, that’s when it becomes a problem.
Anxiety is defined as: “A mental health disorder characterized by feelings of worry, anxiety, or fear that are strong enough to interfere with one’s daily activities.” (WebMD)
So, for all my girls out there that experience anxiety, know that you are not alone. You may look at those successful business women around you and wonder why they are able to move through their fears and unease relatively easily, while you feel paralyzed and stuck.
You may feel down on yourself and feel like a failure because you can’t seem to do what everyone else is doing. Just know, YOU ARE AMAZING! And you can get through this.
When I was younger I suffered from severe anxiety and I still get bouts of it from time to time, but I have been able to manage it much better over the last 7+ years.
I remember when I was in high school I never felt good enough. Academics weren’t a big focus in my family and I was never pushed to do my best in school, so I tended to slack off a lot. I would ditch class, skip assignments, and never give it 100%. Then when it came time to do projects and presentations I would get such severe anxiety that instead of doing the presentation I would completely skip it and get an F on the assignment.
As an adult, anxiety has held me back from putting myself out there with new people, from networking, from embracing myself, from getting work in on time, from being consistent with social media, from truly embracing my coaching business, and a host of other things.
The difference is that I can now recognize it and I don’t let it hold me back from situations that make me uncomfortable.
Here’s what has helped me and what may help you:
- Recognize that fear based thinking is just that. Those thoughts you have about the worst possible outcome are lies and you have the power to decide whether you take them as fact or not. We have the power to tell our own story.
- Decide to take your power back from your anxiety. Come up with an empowering affirmation or mantra that you use every day.
- Do something that makes you uncomfortable. Once you start putting yourself out there more and you realize you can overcome uncomfortable situations you will be able to handle it better the next time. So, if you’re nervous about going live on FB try doing it once for just a few min and work up from there. The first time I went live it literally took me like 10 min to press the start button! I was so nervous! I let anxiety hold me back for so long from taking action.
- Work on your personal development. For me, one of the biggest changes in my anxiety came from doing personal development. The more I worked on my self-worth and self-esteem the better I felt about putting myself out there.
- Cultivate your confidence! What I mean by this is do activities and exercises that create inner confidence. For me this has been reading personal development, exercising, and taking ownership of the amazing person I am! And do things that make you feel confident on the outside too! I love to get my nails done, do my hair and makeup, wear a cute outfit, make my space look nice, etc. Anything that raises your vibe and makes you feel good! When we feel good we do good and we put ourselves out there more because we know we’re worth it!
- Know that your anxiety is just there to keep you safe. The brain cannot distinguish a real threat (a tiger trying to attack you) from a perceived threat (people thinking bad things about you) so your brain treats it all the same. If you know that you’re not in real danger then you can lovingly thank yourself for trying to keep you safe and keep moving forward.
- Exercise! Exercising helps so much with anxiety. Not only do you get a rush of feel good endorphins, but a workout helps you to physically exert pent up energy and pushes you to your limits physically and mentally. Exercise also brings mental clarity and that is a damn good thing!
The most important thing is to find what works for you. Try some of the tips I have listed, seek advice from a counselor, therapist, or coach, and just know that you are not alone!
Please reach out if you’d like more advice or help. email@example.com